It’s got the perfect name for grassroots recording: Dirt Floor. The connotation is exactly what owner/operator Eric Lichter wants it to be: gritty, earthy and grounded. It’s a vintage recording studio for analog purists.
Located in countrified Chester, Connecticut, Dirt Floor Recording Studio is cut from the same cloth as Levon Helm’s legendary Woodstock, New York, recording studio, The Barn. Both subscribe to the 1970s ethos of making records. From a technical standpoint, this means favoring analog magnetic tape recording systems over digital or computer-based. Analog is known for its warm, intimate audio qualities – a stark contrast to the brighter, more brittle sound of digital. Think classic records by Neil Young and Gram Parsons (pretty much any pre-1980 album). It’s hard to recall this sound through iPhone ear buds and docks. The gear one really needs for the true aural experience of analog recordings are a decent set of speakers and a good A/V tuner/receiver. Maybe a turntable and some vintage vinyl.
But it’s not all about hardware. For traditionalists like Lichter, making records as the old gods did is a calling.
“My only ambition was to make records the way I felt they should be made and work within the genres that I knew well (folk, roots, Americana, rock & roll, and singer-songwriter),” he says. “After years of struggling to find the perfect studio and working with producers and engineers who never quite got it right, I decided to build this studio for musicians like me. Dirt Floor is not supposed to be everything for everyone, but if you’re looking to make your own ‘After The Gold Rush’ or ‘Music From Big Pink,’ you’re in the right place.”
Even though it’s a bit of a sales pitch, Lichter explains his concept nicely in this Dirt Floor video.
That Dirt Floor Recording has made its home in Chester is a bonus for any shoreline player wanting to access down home star maker machinery. Lichter himself is a multi-instrumentalist who plays everything from drums to pedal steel, and oversees all projects fastidiously. It’s this attention to detail, this artistic empathy, that has built the studio’s reputation as a haven for rootsy singer-songwriters. Lichter and his partners—co-producer, James Maple, and assistant engineer, Spencer Bowden—call Dirt Floor, “an escape from all the sterile environments that dominate the modern recording landscape.”