R.E.M., Panic producer pairs with Greenville musicians

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Matt Fassas

Athens, Ga-based producer/engineer John Keane has worked with a host of legendary bands, including the Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic, R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo, and 10,000 Maniacs. Two Upstate musicians, singer/bassist Mark Dye and singer/guitarist Matt Fassas, recently completed sessions with him recently for their own projects.

Dye met Keane while playing for the popular Greenville jam-band The Work. That band recorded their only studio album with him in 2005. When Dye began to write songs for a new album — this time as a solo artist — Keane was only person he wanted to work with.

“I went into the studio and laid down some tracks with Johnny Mosier from Blueground Undergrass and Brad Morgan from the Drive-By Truckers,” Dye says. “Then I did five tracks with Matt Fassas and (drummer) Jason Owens.

As for Fassas, he was so impressed with Keane’s work that he scheduled sessions with bassist Sam Kruer and drummer Troy Jones to record 10-12 songs for his own album.

Fassas is looking at an August-September release. Dye, meanwhile, hopes to have his LP out by year’s end. Neither records have titles as of yet.

“There’s no down time with John,” Dye says with a laugh. “Once you’re in that studio, it’s on and it’s non-stop. He just keeps it rolling and keeps it smooth.”

“Sam, Troy and I all studied music together in college,” Fassas says. “And we’re used to working under intense circumstances, where you have to do everything exactly right. But working with [Keane] was as tough as any of that ever was. He’s just super-meticulous. You’ll play the same lick or verse for the 10th or 15th time and it starts to grind on you, but eventually, you get it right and it all sounds great.

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