Shawn McDonald — The Analog Sessions


   Shawn McDonald — The Analog Sessions (2013)
♦   “It doesn’t get more raw than this, it doesn’t get any original than this. Void of autotunes, over production and over tweaking.”
Birth name: Shawn Michael McDonald
Born: September 4, 1977
Origin: Eugene, Oregon, United States
Location: Seattle, Washington
Album release: March 26, 2013
Record Label: Sparrow Records / EMI CMG
Duration:     52:39
01. Eyes Forward     3:39
02. What Are You Waiting For     3:31
03. Gravity     4:06
04. Closer     3:47    
05. Through It All     3:31
06. Rise     6:51
07. Captivated     4:03
08. Beautiful     5:58
09. The Space Between Us     4:10
10. Take My Hand     3:10
11. All I Need     3:37
12. What Are You Waiting For (Radio Version) [Bonus Track]  3:26
13. Through It All (Radio Version) [Bonus Track]  3:25
Jess Chambers  A&R
Jan Cook  Art Direction
Jim DeMain  Mastering
Eden Frangipane  Photography
Ben Glover  Composer
Nathan Hiltner  Guitar
Travis Laws  Drums
Chris Mara  Engineer
David McCollum  Management
Shawn McDonald  Composer, Guitar
Seth Mosley  Composer
Bryan Myers  Booking
JP Scott  Bass
Jerricho Scroggins  Assistant
Christopher Stevens  Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Mixing, Producer, Programming
Sarah Sung  Package Design
Greg Thompson  Assistant
Christopher York  A&R
Editorial Reviews
≈  With the release of THE ANALOG SESSIONS on March 26, Shawn McDonald continues to solidify himself as one of Christian music’s most respected and soulful troubadours. A true artist in every sense of the word, McDonald entered the music scene in 2004 with SIMPLY NOTHING and has since released three additional studio recordings RISEN(2006), ROOTS (2008) and last year’s critically acclaimed CLOSER. ♦   For THE ANALOG SESSIONS, McDonald selected 9 cuts off previous albums (in addition to two brand new songs) to receive the Analog treatment recorded with full band live in the studio direct to tape on fully restored analog tape machines and consoles with tons of vintage gear. The result is an album full of fan favorites that have been re–imagined and recorded with a warm and organic sound that only comes with this type of thoughtful production.
≈  Die hard fans will be thrilled to see songs going all the way back to McDonald’s first album included among them ‘Take My Hand’ and ‘Gravity’ plus some of his biggest radio hits to date including ‘Closer’ and ‘Captivated.’ As an added bonus for fans there are also ‘radio versions’ of new songs ‘What Are You Waiting For’ and ‘Through It All’ included on the full length album that get the full pop treatment rounding out the 13 track collection.
By Michael Ernest; posted: March 19, 2013 in Arts & Culture
≈  As he approaches the ten-year mark of his music career, singer, songwriter and storyteller Shawn McDonald releases “The Analog Sessions” on Sparrow Records, a collection of nine hits and two brand new tunes.
≈  The album is called “The Analog Sessions” because all the songs were recorded on tape, not on digital equipment as is the norm today.
≈  It was Chris Stevens, McDonald’s longtime producer, who suggested going to an old-school recording studio to capture the songs live to tape.
≈  “I didn’t even know if those places still existed, but we found [Nashville's] Welcome To 1979 Studio, which used to be a record pressing company back in the day,” McDonald said.
≈  “There were no computers, just tape machines, vintage amps and old keyboards.” He even used a microphone that Frank Sinatra used for years.
≈  “Analog is warmer and sounds better naturally,” said McDonald of the retro-minded decision.
≈  “But tape is a tricky thing, and if you mess up, you have to rewind it and punch in the corrections, so you just have to hope you get it. The reality is we just recorded live without stopping, trying to get all the way through without messing up. There’s no stacking, overdubbing vocals or any of that studio stuff you might find on my regular records.”
≈  The Analogy Sessions kicks off with Eye Forward a groovy and beautiful rendition with just the appropriate tempo for the tracks to come. It was one of my favorite songs on McDonald’s album, Closer.  It introduces the rareness and eccentricity of The Analog Sessions.
≈  What Are You Waiting For is a neo–pop song that is void of studio gimmicks. The drums, guitar and instruments are surreal. Shawn sings the song with so much ease and no backup vocals. It is one out of the two brand new songs performed for the album.
≈  Gravity is one of the very first Shawn McDonald songs I heard. It was co-written by Christopher Stevens and first released in 2004. This rendition of Gravity is unquestionably brilliant, the timeless lyrics and Shawn’s acoustic rendition are spectacular. The strings are profound and astonishing. They are a real compliment to Shawn’s voice.
≈  Shawn displays his vocal prowess on Closer. The instruments on the song are as uncomplicated as it gets, yet the track is still outstanding. Don’t miss this one.
≈  I had shivers listening to Through It All. It’s a song that poses a rhetorical question to God — how He manages to love us through it all, through our sins, our insecurities etc. It’s the second new track on the album and it doesn’t disappoint  Shawn gets downright soulful. Even the radio edit of this song, which is the last track of the album and the first single of the project, is radio friendly making it one of the climaxes of The Analog Sessions.
≈  Captivated and the elegant, piano–laced heart–warming Beautiful are old tunes that get new life on The Analog Sessions. Shawn gives superb performances of these songs.
≈  The Space Between and Take My Hand end the album in a lively manner. I can actually picture the live band jamming to these songs in a supremely cool, Motown manner.
≈  It doesn’t get more raw than this, it doesn’t get any original than this. The Analog Sessions is indeed an album that defies the norm of the Contemporary Christian music. The sound on this old–school, analog recording is quite different from anything else McDonald has recorded thus far, not to mention one of the most determined.

Shawn McDonald — The Analog Sessions (2013)