Recording Keys for Scott Kelly and the Lady Mercy

Today is the official album release show for the band I’ve been playing with, Scott Kelly and the Lady Mercy. Scott is a great songwriter and guitar player and has been working hard on this album since early last year (or longer), so it feels great to finally have these recordings out in the wild. Since I’m such a nerd for the gear and process, I thought I’d share a little behind the scenes info about the recordings and keyboard setup.


Most of the base tracks were recorded at Deadbird Studios here in Louisville, KY ( Prior to recording, we had played a few shows and done a ton of practice to work out the arrangements. The base tracks for most of the songs were done as a full band with drums, bass, guitar, keys and scratch vocals live without a click. Over a handful of sessions, we did a few takes of each song (to pro tools, not tape) until we were happy with a take. Then guitar, additional keys and vocals were overdubbed or replaced to fill out the arrangement.

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The main key setup was a Hammond L100 organ (Scott’s organ, but basically identical to my L100) run through a singler speaker leslie that was puller from another hammond spinet organ. This speaker had a long ramp up/down time and gave a unique sound to more traditional leslies. I had to custom make a speed controller for it out of an old guitar pedal. I also had a Korg Minilogue for leads on “Broken Heart” and a Yamaha reface EP that was just used on scratch tracks and didn’t make it into the final recordings.


The piano heavy songs “The Way It Goes” and “Out of Line” were tracked with full band and an upright piano in the studio. The drum bleed was pretty significant in these tracks, so we were really comitting to the base tracks here.

Additional keys on the album include my Fender Rhodes electric piano run through a Fender Bassman the studio had (on the bride of “Then There Was You”) as well as some organ parts I recorded at home using my Hammond L100 and a leslie simulator (“Baby Let’s Go”). The only keys on the album that weren’t me was the organ to “Redbird”, which I believe is the awesome Mike Hood, recorded at Earthtone Analog Recording.

Overall, I had a blast making this record and I’m really happy how it turned out!