In 2009, Brian McTear and Bill Robertson founded Weathervane Music, a Philadelphia-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The bulk of Weathervane's work from 2009 through 2019 came in the form of Shaking Through, a beautifully produced, inspiring documentary recording series that explored the motivation, processes, and techniques behind music production.
Weathervane also produces Recording Workshops and Studio Concerts, both in Philadelphia and elsewhere, as we continue focusing our attention on what's next.
Shaking Through was a donation-funded recording docuseries created by Brian McTear and produced by the Philadelphia nonprofit Weathervane Music from 2009 through 2019.
The series explored the importance of creative expression and its impact on society through the perspective of people who dedicate their lives to making music.
Shaking Through was remarkable for many reason, not the least of which were the people who worked so hard on it.
As a series, it was the first of its kind. No webseries before it produced such high-quality new original music with such stunning cinematic video and thoughtful documentary storytelling.
In all there were 72 episodes of Shaking Through. All are still available on Weathervane’s YouTube channel.
Shaking Through is still the only documentary video series we know of to offer viewers an opportunity to download and mix the music.
Remix Access subscribers can still download the raw audio tracks and stems from Shaking Through to practice their mixing skills, make their own creative remixes, and share what they do back with the community for feedback and support.
Sharon Van Etten "Love More"
In 2010 Sharon Van Etten released "epic," an acclaimed mini-album recorded by Weathervane founder Brian McTear and his partner Amy Morrissey at their studio, Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia.
The album actually started with Brian's production of "Love More" (the actual album track) recorded as part of Weathervane's earliest Shaking Through episode on December 8, 2009.
A decade later, the anniversary reissue of this momentous album included new covers of the songs by Big Red Machine, IDLES, Lucinda Williams, Shamir, Courtney Barnett, St Panther, and Fiona Apple.
The final episode of Shaking Through featured one of Philadelphia’s most talented recording and touring musicians, Eliza Hardy Jones. She was a co-founder of the band Buried Beds, before releasing a remarkable solo record - a great creative success, even though it barely garnered any industry attention.
Eliza needed to reconnect with what she loved about music in the first place. So for this episode, we looked back 100 years into her family story. We went “ghost hunting” with Eliza, and discovered some incredible people, gazing up at us, from just below the surface of one amazing song.
The penultimate Shaking Through episode featured Hong Kong no-wave band David Boring, first seen internationally in Anthony Bourdain’s Hong Kong episode (released two days before his death). David Boring came 9000 miles to record with Brian and tell their story.
"There's enough songs and bands talking about how beautiful the world is, how falling in love is amazing...We want to be very honest about certain darker aspects of what living in the modern world means, to make it...not attractive but...approachable."
- Janice Lau, David Boring
A one-off collaboration with Here We Go Magic’s Luke Temple, "Mother" was recorded just before Big Thief's breakout. It’s one of the most viewed Shaking Through episodes of the series, even if the band members themselves knew very little about Weathervane’s history coming into it.
“No Curse” was recorded for Shaking Through 4 weeks after Waxahatchee recorded “Out in the Storm” at Miner Street with producer John Agnello in December 2016.
A strangely anxious session, the production for this episode took place the very day that Donald Trump was inaugurated as president in 2017, which undoubtedly would become the start of a contentious period in the US and around the world.
Hop Along’s original recording of the song Sister Cities was produced by Brian McTear for this episode of Shaking Through. It was recorded just as the band’s career started to gain momentum, and as future producer Joe Reinhart had just joined the band. Hop Along would go on to have significant success, signing with Saddle Creek in the months to follow
A handful of years later, songwriter and front person, Frances Quinlan would come back to curate and co-produce a future episode of Shaking Through with Philadelphia’s
Steven’s Shaking Through recording of “Bounty” was curated by the influencial record label owner, Chris Swanson (Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans). The song included performances by a cast of musicians who’d go onto have remarkable musical success.
That list of players included Dave Hartly and Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs), Chris Powell (Man Man), Felicia Douglas (Ava Luna and Dirty Projectors), not to mention future Grammy winning Miner Street and Shaking Through engineer Jonathan Low (Taylor Swift, The National).
Cayetana was one of Weathervane’s proudest finds, right here in our own backyard. They recorded “Miss Thing” for Shaking Through very early in their existence as a band, and doing it on screen with a full video crew wasn’t easy (... but you’d never know it).
Cayetana went on to become true Philadelphia darlings, appreciated almost universally for Augusta Koch's unique voice, and their sincerity and realness as group. They would tour the US and release several albums before disbanding in 2019. Augusta maintains several solo projects to this day.
Curated and produced by Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco), Helado Negro’s “Mitad Del Mundo” was recorded using perhaps the most extensive analog and vintage synth collection that any of us could imagine. The song is one of the most unique creations of the entire 11 year series.
Roberto Lang’s career as a musician and multimedia installation artist continues to flourish and grow to this day.
One of the things that really drove people to watch Shaking Through and appreciate Weathervane's mission was that well-known supporters regularly turned up as curators to help us find artists to feature. They were also happy to show up and support as guest performers and advocates on-set too.
If anything was ever said about Shaking Through, whether among the press, donors, musicians or industry people, it was that the video production and storytelling in the series were top-notch. From 2010 - 14, Director Peter English set the bar ambitiously high, but from 2015 - 20, Gabe Greenberg would rise to meet it. Weathervane Music would never have become what it is
Jon Low & Amy Morrissey
In his twenties he built Miner Street Recordings, the studio where he works to this day. There he produced key sample hooks used in Kendrick Lamar’s breakout single, “The Recipe” as part of the Shaking Through episode with Mr. Twin Sister. He mixed records by Joan Osborne and future Grammy-winners The War on Drugs; he produced seminal music by Sharon Van Etten (both for Shaking Through, and otherwise) and with partner Amy Morrissey, Kurt Vile's first notable single "Freeway". And perhaps his greatest point of pride, for nearly a decade Brian mentored the now multiple-Grammy-winning recording engineer, Miner Street's and Shaking Through's very own Jonathan Low (The National, Taylor Swift).
Since the beginning, Weathervane has hosted intimate studio concerts at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia, featuring past and future Shaking Through artists and other local musicians.
These shows bring Weathervane supporters together in the place where Shaking Through took place to highlight artists we think have an important message to share through their music.
Weathervane's work is supported by membership dues, contributions from major donors, sponsorships from vendors in the community, and grants from arts, culture, and educational foundations.
Our partners provide us with the tools and resources that make our work possible, and they make thousands of dollars of in-kind donations to the Weathervane Music community every year. Thank you for all that you do!