Little Big North: A New Recording Studio Retreat in Catskill | Branded Content | Hudson Valley Events Round-Ups | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Anyone familiar with the ins and outs of the music biz knows the impact that a recording studio can make on the creation of an album. Stax in Memphis, Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Gold Star and Sound City in LA, Hitsville USA in Detroit, and Bearsville Studios in Woodstock are all studios whose producers, equipment, and one-of-a-kind atmospheres left an indelible mark on the music of the artists who recorded inside their walls.

With the opening of Little Big North in Catskill, musician and songwriter Jim Malone has drawn inspiration from the greats to create a recording studio and retreat that is reflective of the contemplative and inspiring legacy of the Catskills.

click to enlarge Little Big North: A New Recording Studio Retreat in Catskill
Little Big North is situated on 12 wooded acres just outside the village of Catskill.

Situated on 12 wooded acres on the Kaaterskill Creek just outside the village of Catskill, Little Big North includes a fully equipped recording studio, an intimate performance venue, a four-bedroom log home, hiking trails, and other amenities throughout the property designed to foster creativity and allow artists to relax and reconnect with nature while creating and recording. Guests can stroll up to the barn and record all morning after a restful night in the cabin, break for lunch and go for a kayak on the creek, and record till the sun goes down, then cook out on the deck under a star-filled sky.

A Full-Circle Moment

click to enlarge Little Big North: A New Recording Studio Retreat in Catskill
Jim Malone producing Left Exit's 1991 album "Do It Anyway" at Shorefire Recording Studio with engineer Michael Hammel.

For Malone, Little Big North was the natural next step in his 30-year career in the music industry.

In the 90s, he was the leader of two bands—Richmond, Virginia's Left Exit and New York City-based Standpipe. He worked in television as the original voice director and ADR engineer for the first four seasons of Pokémon, and has adapted and produced many other Anime titles. While living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 90s, he also founded Rosebud Creek Records and Little Big Horn Studios (the namesake for Little Big North).

In 2007, while building a log cabin on his Catskill property, Malone began pursuing a love of woodworking that culminated in his founding of CounterEvolution. The Kingston-based sustainable furniture company designed and produced finely crafted pieces exclusively from reclaimed bowling lanes, and supplied Shake Shake with all its tables.

While Malone never left music creation—he wrote, recorded and produced 3 CDs while running his furniture business—conceiving and constructing Little Big North has been a full-circle journey back to music and audio production. “During the pandemic I had this project of building a studio on this property waiting in the wings,” says Malone. The barn, once used as storage for CounterEv, has been transformed into a studio and venue featuring an abundance of reclaimed wood—old growth heart pine beams from a country club in Deal, NJ, California redwood rescued from water tanks in Hopewell, VA, and of course, reclaimed bowling lanes from all over the country.

“I finally had the opportunity to completely throw myself into it,” says Malone. “In a way, this whole thing is bringing together all of my passions.”

Retreat, Relax, Record

Little Big North: A New Recording Studio Retreat in Catskill
The Kaaterskill Creek borders Little Big North's 12-acre property, and offers quick access for canoeing, kayaking, and swimming.

With everything from three-day to two-week-long packages that include studio time and stays at the log cabin, as well as hourly recording rates, there’s an option at Little Big North for anyone from singer-songwriters to podcasters looking to get some much-needed creative and recording time in. (Malone is also currently looking for locally based session musicians, audio engineers, social media experts, and other handy people to barter their skills for free recording time.)

In addition to studio time, the Little Big North team also offers producing, mixing and editing, post-production, and mastering services. “One of the exciting things about coming back to music production right now is that the technology is off the charts,” he says. “We have a good blend of classic and vintage gear, and are taking advantage of what makes sense with the advances in technology.”

There’s also a cafe-style performance venue with a 250-square-foot stage and capacity for up to 60 people. “It’s a great setup for a band to come for a couple weeks, record an album, then invite friends and family to come celebrate the completion with a performance,” says Malone. “You could also crowd-source funding for an album and offer a live-streamed concert performance at the end.”

click to enlarge Little Big North: A New Recording Studio Retreat in Catskill
The log cabin at Little Big North sleeps up to 10 guests.

"Little Big North has been designed to offer a unique experience to a wide range of artists and audio professionals," Malone continues. "I’m excited to see how it unfolds."

On Sunday, June 25 from 2 to 6pm, Little Big North will be hosting an open house for interested artists to experience the studio. The studio is also currently offering 20% off all package rates, and until May 20, submissions are open for its Record for Free Contest, where one band will win a three-night retreat. To enter the contest, visit Littlebignorth.com.

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