The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Brooks Young. Courtesy photo.

Live From The Coop

When: Saturday, March 6, 7 p.m.
Where: The Recording Co-Op, 210 Cherry Valley Road, Gilford
Tickets: $15 – see

Artist collective
Gilford studio aims for more than music

By Michael Witthaus

Brooks Young and his band mates spent the last day of January recording a new single, “Why Can’t We.”  The buoyant pop-acoustic number has Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac elements but a bracing, modern feel. It’s definitely not a blues song. 

“This is a little different from other ones we’ve done before,” said the smiling singer/guitarist between takes. 
He meant the song’s sound, but the process of making the record also represented a big change for the band. This was primarily due to producer and studio owner and fellow musician Ryan Ordway. 
“Over the years I’ve recorded at many studios in New England, mostly in New Hampshire,” said Young. “I’ve never had a producer work with me so closely.” 
Ordway was acting as a de facto fifth band member throughout the session, but Young’s statement was also true in the business sense.
Ordway has a resume including multiple bands and songs on television shows. But his favorite credit is probably the week he spent at Nashville’s Bluebird Studio learning technique from Beatles engineer Ken Scott. In 2010, Ordway and Franz Haase, a singer/songwriter who also ran a music store, opened Resort Recordings in Wolfeboro. Four years later they relocated to rural Gilford.
Bands love it for the rustic vibe and the soundboard. The vintage AMR DDA24 was brought from a Buffalo, New York, studio used by everyone from the Goo Goo Dolls to Willie Nelson. It has flawless indie cred — Ani DiFranco made four albums on it. The real draw, however, is the studio’s mission: to partner with its clients.
Not long after the move, a new name was adopted — The Recording Co-Op — along with a bold vision. 
“We’re going to be an artist-funded label,” Ordway said. “We want to build a community of musicians. … It starts with us.”
In exchange for 100 hours of studio time and a 1-percent stake in the company, performers pay a $3,500 fee. There are 40 slots, and almost half are filled. 
“We’re pleasantly surprised, or more to the point, excited to see it take shape,” said Ordway. “We went out on a limb.”
Future plans include a “semi-reality show” suitable for Netflix or another on-demand outlet. 
“It’s sort of like Darryl’s House,” Ordway said, adding that early episodes are on YouTube. 
Additionally, Live From The Coop house concerts will happen the first Saturday of every month. 
Donation-supported, the first event in February featured Roots of Creation; on March 6 the bluegrass Crunchy Western Boys will appear. Manchester troubadour Tristan Omand is booked for May. Seating for each show is limited to 40 fans, and tickets are $15.
They also hope to build artist housing, and Ordway sounds serious about a treehouse that sleeps six people. 
“Next will be cabins in the wood that are 100 percent off the grid,” said Ordway. “Zero carbon footprint, powered by solar and geothermal, we’ll hopefully build them next year.”
It all works because of the music. Young expects to release “Why Can’t We” in early March, and he’s full of praise for the studio that he now part owns. 
“Each and every time I entered … it was a welcoming feeling,” he said. “The idea and business structure of the studio I feel is a perfect fit for all musicians.”
Ordway is also excited about completing the work. 
“The vocal parts and other pieces are going great, and Brooks is in a good spot as an artist,” he said. “This song … has a nice warm kind of sound. That’s what I like. Don’t stick the vocalist right on the top — let them settle into the band. He’s got more of that going on.” 
As seen in the February 26, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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