Nashville, TN (July 12, 2022)—Music Row veteran producer and engineer Bil VornDick, whose clients included Alison Krauss, Doc Watson and Charlie McCoy, died on July 5 at age 72, less than a week after being diagnosed with cancer.
Renowned for his recording studio skills, particularly in folk, bluegrass, Americana and acoustic-music circles, VornDick worked on albums that earned more than 40 Grammy nominations and nine wins. He was also cherished for his personality and was invariably kind, wise, welcoming, gentle and generous.
Raised in northern Virginia, VornDick was the first-chair soloist for four years on trumpet in high school and was voted “most creative” and “most talented” by his senior class. While still a student and playing guitar in rock bands in Virginia, he sold some songs to Cedarwood Publishing on Music Row. Chet Atkins urged him to move to Nashville and helped him enroll in Belmont University. Prior to relocating, he worked at the Washington Star Newspaper in DC, where he met his wife, Patricia, in the engraving department in the early 1970s.
In 1979, he became an early graduate of Belmont’s music-business program. Country superstar Marty Robbins heard him working on demos for Loretta Lynn’s publishing company and hired him as his studio’s chief engineer. VornDick subsequently became the chief engineer at Stargem Studio, the founder of The Music Shop and the owner of Music Row Audio and Mountainside Music Group Productions.
VornDick was an active participant in the Nashville music community. He campaigned to save RCA Studio A from demolition, promoted popularity charts for roots music, championed health insurance for music people and was an advocate for intellectual property rights for audio engineers. He also did advisory and/or instructional work for the Audio Engineering Society (he served two terms as the chairman of the Nashville chapter), MTSU, Belmont, Folk Alliance International, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, MerleFest, Telluride, South Plains College, Kerrville Folk Festival, Vol State and more.
A celebration of VornDick’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in his name to either NERF (Nashville Engineer Relief Fund) or MusiCares.