The House of Melody Band Goes Deep to Raise Funds for Children’s Music Lessons
MEMPHIS — House of Melody, a Memphis, Tennessee – based Southern rock band, announces the release of their new “Free Bird” single, mixed and mastered by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Emily Lazar. Proceeds from the sales will help children in need pay for their music lessons.
The House of Melody band, composed of core members Steven “Kish” Moody, John Floyd, and James “Lynn” Burke, originated around the House of Melody School of Education, which Kish owns and operates in a rural suburb of Little Rock, AR. The guitar-heavy Southern rock band was naturally drawn to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd whose music speaks to the soul. In 2012, House of Melody recorded their first album “Turn It Up,” which featured carefully crafted Skynyrd tracks such as “The Needle and the Spoon,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” Saturday Night Special,” and “Simple Man.” While promoting the album, the band was frequently asked to play the 1974 anthem “Free Bird.” They resolved to play it only if the requesting audience member was willing to pay $200 upfront for music lessons for kids who couldn’t afford them. The idea took off, eventually culminating in the recording of the “Free Bird” single for the charitable cause of music education.
Burke, a 777 Captain for FedEx Express, also owns Blues City Music LLC, a high-end boutique musical instrument retail shop in Memphis, Tn. Over the course of two years, he coordinated the project around the day jobs of his “weekend warrior” bandmates. The project started at Kish’s studio in Arkansas and continued back in Memphis at American Recording Studios, with some slide guitar tracks laid down at the legendary FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, and backup vocals recorded at Avon Recording Studio in Hong Kong, China. Vintage gear was used on the recording, including an original 1961 Gibson Les Paul with PAF’s, 1964 Fender Bassman, 1969 Marshall Plexi, a 1971 Marshall Super Lead, as well as a 1966 original Hammond B3 organ with a 122 Leslie, along with a 30-year-old Steinway 6’ concert grand piano.
“I had heard other versions of ‘Free Bird’, but they were tributes and didn’t have true Southern rock guitars. What we’ve done is not a tribute. It’s House of Melody’s version of it,” Burke explained. “We wanted to reintroduce the greatest Southern rock song ever, and we wanted it to be an immersive experience.”
To achieve this experience, Burke approached Emily Lazar, whose clientele includes the likes of Foo Fighters, Dolly Parton, Sia, Paul McCartney, and The Rolling Stones. For her work on Beck’s album Colors, she earned a GRAMMY® for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, the first female mastering engineer to win in the category.
For Lazar, the opportunity to work on an epic song like “Free Bird” was both exciting and overwhelming.
“I spend a lot of time trying to pay homage to what has already been achieved, while finding the additional nuances and depth to bring to the mastering process,” she said. “There is nothing like working on a song that you’ve grown up loving and getting the challenge and the honor to try to make it even better.”
To achieve the final track, Lazar mixed 74 stem files, working section by section on the dynamics. She insisted on mixing and mastering for Dolby Atmos, which Burke calls the “audio version of Picasso or Rembrandt.” She also mixed the track for a vinyl remastering of the “Turn It Up” album, with 500 copies available through United Record Pressing in Nashville.
Still, for House of Melody, it’s not about the accolades, but the philanthropy of providing children an opportunity to discover music for themselves. “It’s about the kids, and that’s what this new recording of ‘Free Bird’ is about,” Burke summarized.
Learn more about the House of Melody band and purchase the Limited Edition “Free Bird” LP here.
The song is also available for purchase or streaming on all major music listening platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify.
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