CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As Michael Pushkin and his fellow band members of 600 lbs of Sin contemplated a second album, the biggest issue wasn't having adequate material for a recording, but having adequate money to put it all together.
"We've been working up new material for a while and Sierra (Ferrell) had a big writing spurt," Pushkin said. The band had even been testing out the material on gigs.
"So we know it really well," Pushkin added.
About a year ago in February, the band intended to travel to upstate New York to record the album, but those plans fell through. Money was a big issue.
"When you go into the studio, it's expensive. You're always watching the clock because you're paying by the hour. Even in a local studio, it's not cheap to get a good product," Pushkin said.
A solution was inspired by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards' autobiography, "Life."
"He talks a lot about recording in the book," Pushkin said. "There was a period where they did a lot of recording at his house and that kind of gave me an idea.
"So I made some phone calls to friends who know what they are doing and put together as much recording equipment as I could. We strung mike cables throughout my house and set up a control room in the living room. We set up the drums in the hallway.
"And for a couple of weeks, we turned my house into a makeshift studio and worked around the clock."
The result, "Money House Blessing," is hot off the press and being officially released this weekend.
Pushkin thoroughly enjoyed the process.
"It was more relaxed, because, first of all, it was at my house. I didn't have to spend even a fraction of the amount I would have at a studio," he said. "We're pretty happy with what we've got and for the first time ever, I'm at least going to break even on the first batch that we got from the printer."
Friends and sound pros Larry Dorsey and Orion McHugh helped polish the results and accomplish the overdubs, and the result is clean and crisp. Nice bonus: you can understand the lyrics.
The band's sound remains at its heart an eclectic blend - there's folk and reggae, blues and bluegrass, a bit of honky tonk and even southern rock. Pushkin said he and founding member Josh Thomas count The Grateful Dead among their strongest influence.
The band's current name, in fact, comes from a line in Grateful Dead song, "Dire Wolf."
Pushkin, a Charleston native and 1988 graduate of George Washington High School, picked up a guitar when he was 14. He headed off to West Virginia University, where he said, "I pretended to go to college while I played in a funk band."
He says he never got a degree but still learned a lot.
Since then, Pushkin has played in numerous bands, both in Morgantown and Charleston. He fills in the gaps of his income by driving a cab, something he's done for years.