"Summertime Fun Time"

June 20, 2023

As June has arrived, gardens are in full swing and the kids are all home for summer break, vacations are underway and life is vibrant with the scenic green of the different trees in full force, flowers blooming, bees buzzing and birds singing, it is easy to overlook goals and let life pass by without doing long thought of activities. One such example is taking time to record music in preservation for future generations to hear and study. 

Why would anyone want to preserve their creative activities? I am reminded by a couple of Torchlight customers of the value of doing so. Two nice ladies dropped by and inquired about the process and costs involved in making a recording project. We sat down and I explained the process. They each have different goals and needs from the recording. One of them wants free copies for family and friends and a sound track of her original music to sing in churches and funerals. She plays piano, but wants to hire a top notch professional to provide accompaniment for her. This way she can focus on singing and not have to worry about the musical quality. The other lady just wants to play her piano and sing to leave an heirloom for her children. 

In both cases, they’re right. I sat down with them and walked them through the entire process from start to finish, as well as an estimated budget for the projects. Both have scheduled time with us this summer to get their projects done. 

We are excited to help them accomplish their goals because that is what we do here at Torchlight Studio. We make dreams become reality. We turn hobbies into income and make it our passion to serve the customers needs and wishes. Whether the goal is to make a lasting memory for family and friends, or to record music to be played on radio and sold, we’re ready to go. We are anxious to help. Give us a call!

My First Studio Experience

It’s been a long journey to get this far, but sometimes lots of the steps blur and I forget sequences and how things came about. I guess that’s one of the gifts of aging. I’m really glad to be doing 

these blogs because it gives me a chance to reflect on the things I’ve done and places I’ve been. Big and small, they all are pieces of the puzzle of my life that has brought me here to Torchlight Studio and the great folks at ARC. 

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I have a brother. My brother Ron is my parents first born and my only sibling. Growing up, he was a hero to me because he was already an accomplished musician by the time I could even walk. I didn’t start as early playing as he did because he was intimidating to me. I think some of it was intentional. Big brothers do that, you know? But eventually, I started playing too and have been singing since I could talk. Mom thought I’d never hush, and I haven’t yet. 

My brother was pursuing his own musical dreams and had recorded several times. He was always chasing the brass ring and had an iron will about him. I think that came from our dad. My brother was paying attention to me when I didn’t think he remembered I was even alive. He has always been a keen observer of talent. He looks for it in unlikely places. He is entrepreneurial and tends to see diamonds in the rough. When I see a pile of cow manure, my brother bags it up and sells it as organic fertilizer. Get the picture? I was definitely a diamond in

the rough. Raw and undeveloped, that was me. But Ron saw something there. I just liked to sing. 

He was leading a regionally successful country band. They played every honky tonk, county fair, school auditorium and anything in between in the tri-state area. I later joined the band too, but that was later. He was recording a single for radio and promotional purposes. His band was good and he’d hired some additional folks to supplement the recording session. We call them ringers. At any rate, he called mom and dad’s house one day and asked to speak to me. That was not unusual. We frequently talked and this was nothing new. Sometimes we’d talk about music, but not always. Just brother stuff. But this time, he asked me if I’d sing harmony on his new single! I was thrilled and of course I said I would love to. But after I had a while to think about it, I got nervous! What if I was terrible? What if I got lost driving up there? I was just 18 and green as grass. I hadn’t been anywhere. But I bit the bullet and planned to go there and “Help” my brother. 

The session was taking place at the Recording Workshop in Massieville, OH. The gentleman running the place was named Jim DeMain. I had never driven that far before and there were no cell phones. Dad gave me a AAA Atlas and instructions and off I went! The session was an evening affair, as all of those involved worked day jobs, which is frequently the case for musicians.I remember just feeling a little out of place, but I knew a couple of the musicians who were there and they settled my nerves a bit. I sat in the control room and watched and listened in fascination of the entire process. I never realized that records were put together

from pieces! As the evening wore on, I began to understand the process better. I was far from being an expert, but I was now exposed to the process and I was hooked! When my time came to sing, and I had to do so with headphones on and that was a huge change from just singing. I will never forget it. 

We here at Torchlight Studio plan to offer gratifying experiences and a lifetime memory that will be recalled fondly in days to come, just like the one that I had as a young eighteen year old guy, years ago.

The Roots of Eastern Kentucky Bluegrass

I am thrilled to talk about the things we are doing here at the studio! We have only scratched the surface of what we can do here, but we have already done full-blown sessions of Praise and Worship music, Mountain Gospel and Bluegrass. We are currently working on an entire project of Americana music with all original material. We are prepared to meet all recording needs! Two number one Bluegrass songs have come through here. We’re off to a great start, and the sky’s the limit. 

Recording is nothing new for Louisa, KY. Back in the 1980s and into the 1990s, a studio of considerable measure was operated here. Otis L. Dillon was the owner and operator of River Tracks Studio. Ralph Stanley, Larry Sparks, Lost and Found, John Hartford, and Alison Krauss graced the facility with their talents under Otis’s capable hands. He was a mentor to so many musicians but never really got the recognition he should have earned. Best of all about him, He was a God-fearing man and made no difference in people. All were given respect and full attention, whether famous or just shade trees or back porch pickers. This is one policy that we aspire to replicate here at Torchlight Studio!

Otis passed away a few years ago, but his legacy lives on in the many recordings he worked on and the countless lives he touched. He is missed. 

If you are a budding musician or a seasoned professional, we can help you capture your musical art for the ages. Our music is our legacy. Preserve yours! Let us help you do it. We’ll be with you every step of the way. 

If you’re a singer-songwriter looking to make good demos, we have you covered. If you want to record a complete project with a full band, we know the best players in the business, and we can make the connection for you. It’s part of what we do. We work for you.

Hello and Welcome to Torchlight Studios

As this is my first attempt at writing a blog post, I think I should introduce myself. My name is Don Rigsby. I am a musician with decades of experience and lots of stories to tell. My plans for my part of this blog are to espouse the good things happening at Torchlight Studio and also share stories from my life on the road and my childhood growing up in Eastern Kentucky.

I have been blessed to live in the shelter of these green hills most of my life, but to travel abroad for my employment and be exposed to many different cultures. But my heart has always been and remains in Elliott County, Kentucky. There are many places with more to offer as far as shopping, dining, entertainment, employment, and the things that lots of folks believe makes for happiness, but they don’t offer the tranquility and peace I find there.

I was born in Ashland, KY, in 1968. My Mother and Dad were hard-working, Christian people who gave everything they had to the family. My brother is nine years my senior. My dad was born and raised in Martha, KY, near Coal Creek. Lowell Rigsby was the eldest son of Ivory and Flora Ferguson Rigsby. He grew up hunting and fishing and working on the farm during the Depression. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Wichita Falls, TX, at Shepherd Field. He served as the personal driver for General Edward White. During this time, while on leave, he met my mother, Etta Mae Peters Rigsby. She was attending college at Morehead Teachers College (now Morehead State University). She had seen my dad ride past her house on a horse when she was a girl and never forgot it. She worked as a telephone operator in Morehead while attending college and used the opportunity to talk to dad as much as she could. They were in love, and she didn’t want to wait on him any longer, so they married, and she moved to Texas, where my brother Ron was born.

After the service, they moved back east and settled in Indiana. My brother attended school there for the first several years. Dad worked the steel mills in East Chicago, and they all lived in Cedar Lake, Indiana. But the call of the mountains was ever-present in Dad’s heart, and he longed to return to Kentucky, so they moved back. That’s when I came along!

I’ll finish the rest of my story later …