Spatial Effects Releases Gospel Album Recorded In Area Churches

Friday, October 12, 2012
Spatial Effects
Spatial Effects

For several years the members of the regional band known as Spatial Effects had been kicking around the idea of recording a bluegrass gospel album, but juggling the schedules of five people with families, full time jobs, and the time demands of a recording project are not easily accomplished. On the last day of September, the all gospel album entitled Just a Closer Walk was released following a recording adventure that spanned more than six months. 

The recording project consists of a mix of traditional hymns, gospel songs, and originals written by band members. The tracks feature band members Earl Brackin, David Crawford, Gary Thompson, Tom Brown, and Betsy Blankenship, as well as several guest performers.

“The idea for the project emerged from a casual conversation between a couple of band members, Earl Brackin and Tom Brown who were talking about all the quaint old churches in the area,” says David Crawford who sings and plays guitar with the group. In the summer of 2011, Earl and Tom drove around Whitfield and Catoosa County identifying old country churches that might be good candidates for recording.  

“There’s a wonderful rich heritage represented by the numerous small country churches that dot the countryside in Northwest Georgia,” says Brackin, adding “ I thought that it would be a real blessing to record old hymns and gospel songs in churches where they have been sung for many many years.”

After the decision was made to pursue the idea of recording in old churches, band member Tom Brown discussed the potential challenges with David Aft who agreed to fill the role of recording engineer for the album. “We really appreciate David getting on board with us on this project,” says Tom, adding “There were so many unknowns with each location, especially with regard to acoustics, and he (David) did a great job of making us sound our best in each location.” 

The project also includes several special guests. Contributing his dobro work to two tracks, is the award winning Ferrell Stowe, currently a nominee for the SPBGMA‘s Dobro Performer of the Year. The recording of Church In The Wildwood features Pam Gadd, a singer and multi-instrumentalist whose musical career includes touring with the New Coon Creek Girls, Wild Rose, and singing duets with Porter Wagoner on the Grand Old Opry. Nancy Cardwell the executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Association adds her vocal harmony and upright bass to Grandma Please Save A Seat For Me and lively hammer dulcimer to Church In The Wildwood. Providing a fourth harmony on several tracks is the bass voice of John Pitts of Ringgold.

The 12 tracks of Just a Closer Walk were recorded live, capturing the acoustic flavor of each individual church. Recordings were made at Smith Chapel UMC built in 1913, McGaughey Chapel UMC (1882), Mineral Springs UMC (1924), First Presbyterian Church of Cohutta (1915), and Christ Community Church built according to plans based on Christ Episcopal Church in Ruby Tennessee which was constructed in 1887. 

The album was produced by Buckeye Ridge LLC with graphic design by Jill Wyse of Wise Decisions in Chattanooga. A video about the recording project was filmed by Brent James with BeeMixxx Productions. It can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zKNPR0nvsw

Histories and photographs of the churches where the tracks were recorded can be found at the band’s website - www.spatialeffectsbluegrass.com






Photo – L to R 
Gary Thompson, Tom Brown, Betsy Blankenship, Earl Brackin, and David Crawford


Tickets For Disney On Ice On Sale Sept. 5

Disney On Ice presents Treasure Trove is "a magical medley of Disney tales in one jam-packed ice show that commemorates the legacy of Disney animated films." This skating performance visits Chattanooga from Thursday, Nov. 6, to Sunday, Nov. 9, for six performances at UTC McKenzie Arena.  Tickets go on sale Friday, Sept. 5. Review for Disney On Ice: Get tangled up in Disney’s ... (click for more)

Screening Of Rocketship X-M Is Sept. 18

There will be two screening of Rocketship X-M on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Heritage House Arts and Civic Center, 1428 Jenkins Road.  Rocketship X-M (1950) is directed by Kurt Neumann and stars Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery, Jr., Hugh O'Brian and Morris Ankrum. An astronaut crew of four men and one woman on their way to the moon, are unexpectedly ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)