For nearly 12 years, in an unassuming little shack just north of Fayetteville, local engineer and producer Chris Moore has been capturing the sounds of the Arkansas music scene one track at a time.
His East Hall Recording studio has become a destination for artists from all over the region to come and document their music utilizing a combination of their own instruments and Moore’s eclectic collection of vintage guitars, amps, drums, and keyboards. The musicians also come for Moore’s seasoned ear as a producer, and his distinction as one of the few remaining studios in the digital age that still have the ability to record to tape.
Over that time, he says, he has recorded more than 400 different artists, several of them more than once, and amassed an enormous collection of local music that he’s helped capture and create over the years.
This week, he decided to share several albums worth of that music for free with the public.
Moore released a five-album compilation featuring the work of 86 area bands, most of which are from northwest Arkansas.
The recordings date back to a 2004 Thanks For Nothing album that was one of the first sessions at East Hall when it opened 12 years ago, and span more than a decade’s worth of recordings important to the local scene through the present day.
Moore said the compilation represents what he feels are some of the best songs recorded at his studio over that time.
“Really, all of them are songs that I still enjoy listening to,” he said. “They also bring back some great memories of some incredible sessions over the years.”
Of those, Moore mentioned a session featuring local garage rockers Taifas where they recorded an entire 12-song album using a total of 14 live takes in the studio. The entire record was finished in a matter of hours.
“That one definitely holds the record for the fastest recording,” he said. “I could spend all day telling the stories of the most memorable sessions of the years, though. All of them represent some pretty great memories for me.”
Moore also noted that nearly all the songs on the compilation were recorded based on a live, in-studio performance with minimal overdubs
“That just makes me even more impressed with the musicianship in the area,” he said.
The compilation includes a single track from artists ranging in genres from rock to country, reggae to bluegrass, metal to jazz. In all, it serves as a good representative of what the overall local music scene has sounded like for the past decade.
Moore, however, said he’s not finished showcasing the talents in the Fayetteville music scene.
“I’ve already started on Vol. 6,” he said. “In fact, as long as we’re recording music here, I’m going to try to keep making these compilations.”
Listen to all five volumes below, or download them yourself for free at East Hall’s Bandcamp page.