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


Free Concert Sponsored By The Chattanooga Songwriters Association

Anthony Quails hosts Chris Slaten, Troy Underwood and James Bradshaw on Nov. 11 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Heritage House Arts and Civic Center, 1428 Jenkins Road. "The free concert will feature acoustic music performed by some of Chattanooga's most talented singer-songwriters, and all within the comfy confines of E. Brainerd's beautiful Heritage House mansion," organizers stated. ... (click for more)

CMT Tour: Kip Moore With Sam Hunt And Charlie Worsham At The Tivoli

CMT Artist Kip Moore with friends brought a standing room only crowd to Chattanooga OnStage at the Tivoli Theatre.  The venue  continues to bring to the Chattanooga “Live” Music Scene the right performances to fill the historic house.   On Thursday  night was no exception with CMT Country contender Moore, whose rising heat and fire gives more smoke than ... (click for more)

Architect/Contractor Selected By Erlanger For New Children's/Women's Hospital

HKS has been selected as the architect and McCarthy as the construction manager for a new Children’s and Women’s Hospital at the Erlanger campus on East Third Street. The Atlanta team competed against another Atlanta group for the major construction project. Erlanger officials announced Monday that $11.5 million is being set aside in a debt restructuring for the new $30 ... (click for more)

Westfield Charged In Burning, Torture Of Kitten At Cleveland

An arrest has been made in the case of a kitten who was burned and tortured in Cleveland, Tn. At 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Gary A. Westfield, 31, of Cleveland, was placed in custody on a warrant obtained by Lt. Robert Harbison and Detective Matt Jenkins of the Criminal Investigations Division. Westfield was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a Class E felony. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)