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It's Tuesday September 30, 2014

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Miss September 2014 - Mooky
Silent Studio Hound
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T
hink recording studio and guitars, drums, microphones and mixing boards come to mind. But a dog? Meet Mooky, Chris and Kim Daniels’ 11 year old Boxer Mastiff mix.

When he’s not running The Silos restaurant, Chris is a musician with a home studio. He says Mooky is as important as any musical tool he works with. “She has a steadying influence in the studio. She puts people at ease. She’s part of the fabric.” She also knows when to keep her snout shut.

For her quiet background support – as in not providing uncalled for supporting vocals during recording sessions – TownDock.net names Mooky Miss September.

mooky chris daniels guitar
Mooky and Chris Daniels in their home studio
mooky chris daniels guitar
Guitar dreams: Mooky’s doggie bed. Above it hangs a 1965 Gibson SG electric guitar.

Mornings, Mooky wakes up under a 1965 electric guitar. It hangs on the wall over her doggie bed. She gets up. Chris puts on the coffee and, cup in hand, dog and man step in to the back yard. Mooky might chase a squirrel. Or Chris might cast a lure in to the pond out back.

Then Chris goes to work.

Chris owns the Silos Restaurant in Oriental. All day, he and his staff will cook burgers, pour tea and deal with vendors. Mooky waits patiently at home.

mooky chris daniels silos stage
Some days, Mooky accompanies Chris to work. Here, she’s helping Chris paint the stage for Silospalooza, one of the musical events he puts on at the Silos.

It’s when Chris comes home that Mooky comes to life. That’s when the music starts.

Chris will go in to his home studio. Pick up a guitar. He’ll flop down on the floor and to decompress, start strumming. Mooky will nestle in beside him and, as Chris picks out a tune, Mooky will slumber. Or roll on to her back for a belly rub. Or rear up, put her forelegs on his shoulders and give him a hug.

mooky chris daniels guitar
Awwww, come on. One more song, dad!

Chris says, “I talk to her. She knows how I feel. She knows if it’s been one of those days.” One of “those” days – when the beer ran out and the vendor ran late. “She’ll put her head in my lap and that’s all it takes to calm me.”

mooky chris daniels guitar
Chris picks a tune while Mooky naps. She prefers the softer sound of an acoustic guitar but if an electric guitar is accompanied by a pat…
mooky chris daniels gibson guitar tattoo
…she’s just as happy. Here, Chris plays her the same guitar that’s tattooed on his arm, a Gibson Les Paul. He received the instrument when he was 16 (a few years ago).

This way of putting people at ease, of helping them replace a hard day with good music, is a gift. It’s a skill that’s helped solo recording acts.

Chris says, “Mooky has a calming effect. Some solo artists, when they come in to record, they’re anxious. They know they have to do their best and the spotlight’s on them and everything they say and do will be heard. She lightens it up for them.” Mooky has a knack for settling these folks. Sidling in for a head scratch. Sending them a relaxed look that helps them let go and put forth their best tunes. Making them feel at ease so they can set their music free.

Mooky won’t, however, howl on tape.

mooky chris daniels dog nap guitar
Mooky demonstrates her Mute feature. Or is it Snooze? She’s equally unfazed by high noises, even the highest note Chris plays on his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar – the 22nd fret high D.

Chris – with Mooky at his side – has recorded hundreds of hours of live music in his studio. In addition to his own band Saltwater Gold, he’s recorded Levelland, Bent Metal and the Soul Shakers. Studio noises that would make many dogs bark or howl – snare drums, ear piercing feedback or extra high notes – don’t elicit a whimper from the solidly built brown dog. “She only talks when she wants something,” says Chris. That “something” would be a doggie treat.

She has, on occasion, crashed an intricate mic set up.

While recording the Soul Shakers, Chris put together an arrangement involving a kick drum, two microphones and a Persian rug. The carpet covered the mics to capture the drum sound in a particular way. Just when all was set up, Mooky walked in to the room. Chris says, “she came over, lay right down on the carpet and whole thing just fell apart!”

mooky chris daniels  studio sprawl
Mooky displaying her occasional bent for positional unawareness. Here, straddling a microphone stand and power cord, both at the same time.

There is no audio recording of Mooky’s destroying the Soul Shakers’ mic set up.
Chris put the pieces back together and the recording session went on.

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