Basement studio in tune

Wooden Fish Studio is a local recording studio run by a man who understands how an artist can struggle to get their music to the masses.

As a successful performing and recording artist, Bob Hanson is now focusing on helping others achieve their musical goals.

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Hanson has produced six CDs and mostly toured in the United States.

"I was playing in the clubs for a lot of years and then I started doing gospel music," Hanson said. "They don't have a lot of Christian radio stations in Canada but they do in the States so that's where I ended up."

His first album was released in 1987 and his career included appearances on television shows including 100 Huntley Street, his big hit was his single Child on the Run in the late 80s. Hanson believes the highlight of his career was in 1992 when his album 'Nuff Said came out and was distributed worldwide. His CDs got airplay but not on a level that he would consider a great success, he said.

"It's the kind of industry that if you don't have the right people around you, the phone stops ringin'," he said.

Looking for a better quality of life Hanson, wife Janine, a teacher, and their two sons Joshua, now 27, and Michael, 23, moved to Prince George from Vancouver 11 years ago.

"It's really a hand-to-mouth existence down there and it's really hard to make ends meet," Hanson said, shaking his head. "So many musicians, so many studios."

The family spent two months traveling around the province in their burgundy Buick looking for the ideal small town to call home. They'd never gone further north than Williams Lake and were at the point where they thought they'd just try Prince George and found it was a great combination of affordability and friendliness.

In his new hometown Hanson was able to purchase a house with a basement seven years ago.

"And that's where the vision of the studio was," he said. "Me and my sons went at it with hammers and a crowbar to make it happen."

Hanson's two sons are the band Redwhyn, who have recorded their first album at the studio, with the second in the works.

Knowing the music industry is a tough one, Hanson built the recording studio primarily to help his boys.

Having your own recording studio can have its perks.

Living in a Different World is Hanson's latest album, which he produced in his own studio. It's the first album he's released since 2002.

He created the album under the fictional character name of Oldham Ward to honour his mother's memory. Irene Ward Hanson, who was always Hanson's biggest supporter, would say she was from Shaw near Oldham and described herself as an ordinary Manchester girl and songs on the album reflect that.

Hanson never stopped writing songs and said he's got hundreds of them and knows what it's like to have the music but nowhere to put it.

"There's very little mercy in this business," Hanson said. "I want to be able to sit down with an artist, right from scratch, and help build their songs, record their songs - I'm a producer so I produce other artists' work as well as my own - and be able to take that and give them a professional demo. I've got a lot of experience to share with people. It's really sad to see an artist with a gift who can't do anything with it because of finances. The music, the art, is far more important to me than the money."

Check out Wooden Fish Studio on Facebook.

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