LITTLE MISS HIGGINS - BISON RANCH RECORDING SESSIONS
For her newest release, Bison Ranch Recording Sessions, Little Miss Higgins teamed up with a very talented quintet of musicians from Manitoba. She calls them the Winnipeg Five—Jimmie James McKee on trumpet, Eric Lemoine on banjo and pedal steel, Blake Thomson on guitar, Patrick Alexandre Leclerc on upright bass, Evan Friesen on drums and all five of them sing harmonies. As they play music in a similar vein as Higgins, it was a fitting alliance both onstage and in the studio...well, not quite a typical recording studio. With new songs waiting on the sidelines, the six of them decided to record in a barn, a barn on a bison ranch in rural Manitoba.
The barn was built in 1951. It serviced farm life for many years, until it was moved in 2004 to the Renaissance Bison Ranch, during which it was restored and the loft (no longer a hay loft, but where the music would be made) was turned into what might be considered a recreational space with a Ping-Pong table, shuffleboard and a wood stove.
Before they could begin, they had to build sound baffles, load gear up the wooden steps, and stack a cord of wood to keep the wood stove going (though they imagined it would be spring and the temperature would begin to rise when they went to the barn to record, it was the coldest April on record in the Canadian prairies. There was still snow on the ground, still snow on the tin roof that slide off a few times causing the band to have to stop and restart.)
The album was engineered by Steve Loree and co-produced by Higgins and Winnipeg Five bass player, Patrick Alexandre Leclerc. Everything was captured live off the floor—fire crackles and crow cawing included. The experience of recording live brought out the authenticity of the music, the talent of the musicians and the connection of the group. This was an important part of the process for Higgins and Leclerc. What you hear is how it happened.
The album was mixed by Blake Thomson and mastered by Jamie Sitar, both in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Also, just as she has done on all her past four albums, Higgins did the artwork and design for the cover of Bison Ranch Recording Sessions. No bison were harmed during the recording, though just below the floor where Higgins stood during recording was a pile of bison skulls listening to every moment of music that was made in the barn.
BISON RANCH RECORDING SESSIONS TRACKLIST
1. Heavy Train
2. Your House Tonight
3. Keep a Song In Your Soul
4. Chateau Poulet
5. Barns You Used To Dance In
6. Early Morning Thief
7. Restless Heart
8. Dead Cow Hill
9. I Was At An Auction
10. Moonlit Picnic
11. Blue Moon Behind Me