Author Archive

Author: Will_R
• Monday, February 01st, 2010

Mamadou Diabate’s solo kora CD “Douga Mansa” JUST WON A GRAMMY FOR Best Traditional World Music Album! This album was recorded locally by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland.

Malian kora musician, Mamadou Diabate is a member of the Mandinka West African jeli (musician caste) family. His musical lineage goes back seven centuries to the time of Sunjata Keita, the conqueror of the Malian empire.

Now based in the United States, Mamadou performs around North America and Europe. Interested in bringing the kora to new audiences, he has played with jazz and other contemporary artists, however he remains rooted in the traditions of the Manding kora and his griot heritage. He is one of a handful remaining kora players that are keeping alive the kora tradition.

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Author: Will_R
• Monday, December 01st, 2008

I did 2 HorseFlies gigs recently and wow. Just wow. Thursday 11/20 they played at The Corning Museum of Glass, and Saturday 11/22 at the wonderful Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim, PA.

The Corning gig was a hi tech extravaganza with a full light and video show. I got to mix the band on a new Yamaha digital console. But better than all that The HorseFlies played a great set.

But that was apparently just a set up for the stunning performance they did on Saturday night at the Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim, PA. The Elk Creek Cafe is a very cool cafe and micro-brewery kinda in the middle of nowhere, 25 miles from State College. The drive there was nice, the food delicious, and we stayed in a nice bed and breakfast. All really nice. BUT, the Flies freakin rocked! The room was sold out with folks young and old moving and churning to the HorseFlies grooves, and the band rallied, burning through fiddle/banjo grooves driven by Jeff’s relentless uke, Taki’s percolating world rhythms, Ricks pumping accordion and smoothly supported by Jay’s awesome bass lines.


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Author: Will_R
• Monday, December 01st, 2008

On Friday 11/21 I has the supreme pleasure of seeing my dear friend Martin Simpson play at the Unitarian church here in Ithaca. I will tell you straight up that if you were not there, you blew it. He was stunning.

I first met Martin in the early 90s when he was living here in Ithaca. He came to Wilburland to record a CD called When I Was On Horseback, which included the talents of cellist Hank Roberts, violinist Eric Aceto and bassist Doug Robinson. One of the best recording I’ve done. I also did another more blues oriented CD with him called Smoke and Mirrors.

The show was classic Martin Simpson. He played a perfect combination of instrumental fingerstyle, slide and vocal tunes, intermixed with wonderful stories. Martin was a stunning player when I met him and he has gotten even better. An amazing evening was had by all.

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Author: Will_R
• Thursday, October 02nd, 2008
Yesterday at Wilburland I had the supreme pleasure of spending the day with Ron Andrico and Donna Stewart of the duo Mignarda. They are wonderful folks and fine musicians, and we recorded a song with lute and voice. For those of you who don’t know what a lute is, it is a guitarish looking stringed instrument with a deep round back and a sharply angled headstock. It is often associated with music from the early renaissance to late baroque periods. These folks have got an amazing thing going on. Ron plays with great dynamics and finesse and Donna’s voice sounds, well, perfect!
We recorded the lute and voice together in one room hoping to record not only a natural sound but also to capture the natural dynamics of 2 people playing together, the connection that happens with two people in the same space. The challenge of course was to get the right balance of blend and separation between the two. I had Ron and Donna sit facing each other about 15 feet apart so they could see each other, but also so that the mics were facing away from the undesired sound, ie lute mics facing the lute and 180 degrees away from the voice. Of course in a reverberant space like Wilburland, which I made even more live by rolling up the rugs, there is both lute and voice reverberating in the room and a bit of this leaked into each mic helping to blend the 2 sounds on the recording. I initially had a tad more of Donna’s voice in the lute mics than I wanted so I created a non reflecting wall behind Ron to stop her voice from bouncing off the wall behind and into the lute mic. Perfect!

For the lute I chose 2 old Neumann KM86 mics in a stereo configuration about 5 feet away from the instrument, and I miked Donna with a Klaus Heyne modified Neumann U87 about 18″ away and slightly above her. All the mics went through Pendulum Audio MDP-1 tube mic preamps which I chose for their balance of articulation and richness. All this went into a ProTools HD rig running at 96k. The resultant recording was just what we hoped for. I can’t wait for you to hear it!

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Author: Will_R
• Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Hi all,

Mike asked me to contribute to his blog here so here we go!

First off, in case y’all don’t know me, I’m Will Russell and I own a cool studio called Electric Wilburland. I’ve had Wilburland for almost 20 years now and the list of clients I’ve had reads like a who’s who of Ithaca Music. Some of the folks who you might have heard of here in these acoustic circles are:

The HorseFlies

Donna The Buffalo

The Hix

Mac Benford and The Woodshed Allstars

Martin Simpson

Hank Roberts

The Burns Sisters

Jennie Stearns


Kitchen Chair

Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand


oh jeez, why am I even trying to name them all? Go here to see a somewhat complete list:

Recently I recorded the basic tracks for “Until The Ocean” for The HorseFlies, recorded and mixed “Able Baker Charlie and Dog” for Joe Crookston.  I’m currently working with Pamela Goddard on her second CD which has also included Glass Of Water and Kitchen Chair! I also recorded and mixed the most recent Sim Redmond Band CD “Room In These Skies”

I’ve been recording a lot of acoustic music over the years and my studio is in a wonderful old church by the covered bridge in Newfield. If you want a really great recording you should call 607-564-1832 or email I can work with all kinds of budgets and you will love the result!

That’s all for now. I’ll be back from time to time with recording session notes and stuff so stay tuned!

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