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Mix Regional: Southeast

Southeast Studio News


“There’s something in the water,” says producer/engineer/label owner Glenn Rosenstein about the Muscle Shoals area. Rosenstein—whose long career has included scores of big-name artists, from Alison Krauss to Ziggy Marley—has resided in Nashville since 1988, where he currently owns a well-equpped personal use studio. Recently, he found himself in Muscle Shoals, Ala., working on a Wes Sheffield album with his friend and mentor Jimmy Johnson, and he says he could feel that “something is percolating here. There is a ton of new music that’s charting, that’s active, that’s not just about what happened with Aretha or Wilson Pickett 40 years ago. This is new music, though it may be informed by what happened in the past.”

Rosenstein, who also co-owns two labels under the Sony Entertainment imprint, was inspired enough to buy a house in nearby Florence, Ala., where he has installed an additional personal studio (his Nashville room, Skylight Studio, remains his home base). The new studio has been online for just a few months, but the equipment list is extensive because much of Rosenstein’s Nashville gear can be transported from one location to the other.

“I use quite a few re-creations of old gear,” Rosenstein says. “I have a bunch of equipment from Retro Instruments, Acme, Trident and Tree Audio; I now own six of their Branch channel strips. It’s mainly a hybrid approach. We have some analog gear, and we do some work in Pro Tools. I’m experimenting with PreSonus’ StudioLive 32 as a digital workstation controller.”

Rosenstein monitors via Adam S3X-H loudspeakers; he also employs KRK’s V8 Series 4 speakers and a pair of JBL 4311Bs that he’s had since he caught the audio bug as a teenager. “I stuff in the old-school where I can, but we’re not trying to create a museum,” says Rosenstein. And in fact, he works on a thoroughly modern model, using extensive video, and proven algorithms and data analytics to position the artists on his 600 Volt/Sony music label.

“What’s exciting is, I’ve heard of about eight other studios that have come online or will soon in this area around Muscle Shoals,” Rosenstein says. “While it’s not going to be another Nashville, it does remind me of Nashville 30 years ago.”


Brian Tarquin insists that he got rid of some of the gear from his New York studio before moving to Merritt Island, Fla., near Orlando, in 2014, but there doesn’t seem to be any empty rack-space in Jungle Room’s new home. He did make a few changes, though. While his previous studio was arranged around two Trident Tri-mix boards, the latest incarnation of Jungle Room was designed with a refurbished, new-to-him Trident 24 at the center.

Otherwise, with its extensive outboard gear and mics, and Tarquin’s impressive guitar collection, Jungle Room appears much the same as it did up north. The main differences for Tarquin have more to do with quality of life.

“I still compose a lot for Telepictures, which is owned by Warner Bros.,” he says. “I work on Extra, TMZ, crime-investigation shows. And I work for production libraries—in particular, the Germany library company Sonoton. But these days, obviously, you can live anywhere, and we wanted to get better schools for the kids, better lifestyle.”

Tarquin has also found time for a couple of complex music projects for Cleopatra Records. Orlando in Heaven, which went to Number 6 on the Jam Band chart, is a tribute to victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Tarquin wrote or co-wrote all of the songs, and guest artists include Chris Poland of Megadeth, Hal Lindes of Dire Straits, Tony Franklin from the Jimmy Page band, and the late jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, who made his last recordings for the album. Partial proceeds have been donated to Catholic Charities.

More recently, Tarquin made the veterans tribute album Band of Brothers (Number 21 on the Metal Contraband chart), featuring vocalists Phil Naro (Talas) and Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), as well as Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N› Roses), Trey Gunn (King Crimson), Jeff Watson (Night Ranger) and others. The project benefits Fisher House, which provides housing to the family members of hospitalized veterans.

Tarquin has a custom-built 30-foot mobile studio trailer that he used to capture performances by running a break out box to record live drums, bass and sax parts. “We recorded everything to analog and digital,” he says. “We just put the musicians in my backyard.”


Robert George recently hosted local singer/songwriter Taylor Martin in George’s Sound Temple Studios; Martin is working on a new album called Song Dogs, produced by artist Amanda Anne Platt.

“Amanda and Taylor brought in some tremendous studio players from Nashville and Atlanta, as well as our hometown of Asheville,” George says. Martin’s band included Richie Jones on drums, Matt Dufon on bass and background vocals, Lyndsay Pruett on fiddle, Matt Smith on electric guitar and pedal steel, Woody Wood on electric and acoustic guitar, and Josh Shilling on keyboards.

“There’s a huge range of genres that influence Taylor’s tracks, and it was a fun challenge to capture tones using mics, techniques and preamps that pay homage to country, blues, R&B, ’70s rock and Americana,” says George. “Finding a vocal mic to complement Taylor’s uniquely raspy voice was easy, though. We did a quick shootout and the ADK Z-251, with vintage Telefunken 12AX7, was perfect.”

Basic rhythm tracks were captured live in Sound Temple’s live room, three iso booths and two additional sound-locks. Designed by Wes Lachot, Sound Temple features an SSL Matrix console and a range of equipment from Neumann, Telefunken, Royer, AEA, API, A-Designs, Great River and more.



At the Music Shed, Jack Miele engineered, mixed, co-produced and played guitar on Benny Turner’s My Brother’s Blues album, which re-imagines songs written by Turner’s brother Freddie King. Aloe Blacc was in, as well, with Miele mixing and mastering a single, a cover of “What a Wonderful World” that was tracked live at Preservation Hall. Miele also produced and mastered a self-titled rock album by The Shadow and the Thrill, featuring Tony Cardenas and Brentt Arcement. The album was mixed by Sylvia Massey and mastered by Vlado Meller.


Epic Records rap artist Future was a regular at 11th Street Studios while completing work on his albums Future and Hndrxx. Engineers Seth Firkins and Eric Manco and assistant Mike Roett handled recording duties, working with a host of producers, including Southside, Metro Boomin, DY, Richie Souf, TM88, Zaytoven and Cassius Jay. Atlanta R&B act 112 worked in Studio B with producer Blac Elvis, songwriter Felly The Voice and engineer Anthony Smith. The team recorded six songs, including the singles “Strawberry” and “Dangerous Games” for the eOne-released comeback album Q Mike Slim Daron. Other recent studio guests include Lil Durk in Studio A with Phillip “Dockz” Cromwell, and Rich Homie Quan in Studio A with engineer Firas Quick.


Just a few recent projects from Brad Blackwood’s busy mastering studio: Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real’s new self-titled album, featuring guest appearances by Lady Gaga and Willie Nelson; Supersonic Blues Machine’s album Californisoul—this blues-rock project was formed by Lance Lopez, Fabrizio Grossi and Kenny Aronoff and includes guest performances from Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather, Robben Ford and others; and Teenage Wrist’s new album produced and mixed by Carlos de la Garza for Epitaph. Blackwood also has new music in the works by Escape the Fate, Myles Kennedy and Umphrey’s McGee.


At Blue Room South head engineer Keith Dawson recorded and mixed tracks for YFN Lucci. Dawson is also working on a variety of projects for indie artists and writers such as Steven Glover, who has been in writing new music for the hit show Atlanta. Other artists who have worked in Blue Room recently include Pierre Bourne, TI and Lauren Hashian.


Producer Jean Rodriguez worked on vocals for Ha*Ash’s upcoming album, including the single “100 años” featuring Prince Royce. Also at Heiga, arranger and producer Tony Succar tracked a new single with a brass section including Dante Vargas, Gerar Rodriguez, Jorge Dobal, Ramon Benitez, David Palma, Javier Casa, Adrian Morales-Demori and Pascual Matera.


Two music highlights from Noisematch Studios’ year were the smash song “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, produced by Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo, and J Balvin and Chyno Miranda’s upcoming single. The studio is also working on a new educational platform called MusicMastermind.TV, which teaches viewers about the inner workings of a recording studio.