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The 1st Masterlink Session in 2020 with Mike Farris and Sam Tanner

Yesterday we had our first Masterlink Session for 2020 and we started with a ‘bang’! 

For this session we invited vocalists Mike Farris, Phoebe Katis and Sam Tanner. Unfortunately Phoebe had to drop out the night before (we’ll sort out another opportunity for sure) which meant we had a little bit more time to record with the other two artists as planned. 

And as it turned out – we needed a little extra time as Mike Farris is currently on tour in the UK (go and see him!) and had a late night gig the day before. Obviously singing is not like most instruments which can be picked up at any time of the day and work to its full potential with a bit of a warm up:-) So we started an hour later to be as accommodating as possible.

Mike Farris didn’t win a Grammy for nothing and he is the ‘real deal’. We thoroughly enjoyed recording ‘River Jordan’ and Movin’ Me’ with him last summer – a high-point in the history of our Masterlink Sessions – so we were exciting to have him back. We also thought it was very exciting to completely change our game plan and record a different tune to the one we were actually set to do. 

Mike Farris (photo by Rob Blackham)

Mike grabbed his guitar and played ‘Swingin’ to us – a Tom Petty Song. Great tune and I’m personally mesmerized by his singing and overall musicianship – he is ‘something else’ for sure. 

After a few run-troughs we were happy with our 2nd take – go Mike Farris and band – what fun to play this tune – 3 guitars, two keys, two backing vocals drums and percussion and of course, bass:-) James did a brilliant job by doing a list minute set-up on the acoustic piano as well as Sam who spontaneously agreed to play it – we love these moments!

Mike Farris, Mike Outram, Stefan Redtenbacher (photo by Rob Blackham)

Mike Farris also taught us the equivalent Tennessee expression to the British ‘brilliant’, ‘fantastic’ and in particular ‘wicked’: ‘cold-blooded’. This will surely resurface in many Masterlink Sessions to come! We can’t wait to present this one to you!

Special thank you to Julie, Mike Farris’ vibes who relieved my of my clapperboard duties – well done and much appreciated. One job less for me to do:-)

After a quick lunch-break (thanks to our Patreons) we moved on to feature the wonderful kind and funky vocalist and keyboard player Sam Tannner. Sam opted to play Wurlitzer on his track Back to us’ (he also brought his friend Tony who is the lyricist on this tune). Sam’s tune is super-funky to start out with – not even mentioning his splendid vocal performance – so the challenge was to put our own stamp on it. Luckily Sam was totally flexible and cool to try a few things out and after referencing some Quincy Jones guitar vibes, Tony Remy and Mike Outram came up with a undeniable two guitar funk part which inspired us all and drove us all the way through the tune. Another track which we can’t wait to present to you!

Mike Farris talking to BVs Helena May and Sam Tanner (photo by Rob Blackham)

What a great start to the Masterlink Sessions 2020, thank you to the entire team and all that dropped by to say ‘hi’ (Rob, Anne, Tom, Wendy, Julie – you know who you are).

The team was Mike Farris on vocals and guitar Mike Outram and Tony Remy on guitars, Richard Brook on drums, Fergus Gerrand on percussion, Liam Dunachie on Hammond organ, Sam Tanner on piano and backing vocals, Helena May on backing vocals, James Welch on sound (and backing vocals!), Leo Mansell on the camera and myself (Stefan Redtenbacher) on bass and the usual bass, cat-herding, band-leading and feeding duties. 

Thank you as always for your support – it is much appreciated and needed.

Stay well until next time and carpe funkem,

Stefan, James and Leo (The Masterlink Sessions team)

PS: Please help us to get more Patreons – as our operation is growing and we are getting larger bands in – any additional food is welcome and musicians seem to consume foods in a similar vain to Locusts – there was certainly not a crumb left after yesterday…

What’s so funny? (photo by Rob Blackham)