My Favorite Recordings #1
As for Bil VornDick's prowess in the studio with artists, almost all of his stuff is pure audiophile bliss. He also is the guy behind "Flight of the Cosmic Hippo" by Bela Fleck. So yeah. All of the greatest pickers, the ones that play behind all the big stars, they are also on major and minor artist level labels, he does them all. He has won Grammys with Ralph Stanley, Bela, Allison as you mentioned, and people like Mark O'Conner, Stuart Duncan, T-Bone Burnett, Michelle Shocked.... well heck, the link is HERE
He has been a dear friend for decades and Gabrielle and I stay at his place in Nashville every time we go by there. Wouldn't miss it for the world. Love the man more than the music. That says a LOT.
In fact, Bil and I produced an album by "Downfall Rising" a hard rock band from Lufkin, Texas once in Houston... back in 2013. My last foray into the music business. They were excellent and would have signed within another year, but they crossed some lines that they shouldn't have, and their lead singer, the wonderfully talanted Rachel Peloquin moved on, and because of that they eventually lost all traction. I put everything into it, as their manager starting with getting them to Bil. Then we put the money and power behind them with a well-known producer, and finally we got the buzz started in the industry, ever so properly and slowly. That's where they got impatient and screwed it all up. It only takes one band member to screw things up if you do them badly enough.
It's unfortunate too... I took a roundabout way and got them with with Bill Hamm the original top producer out of Austin, Texas responsible for ZZ Top, Clint Black, Mark Chestnutt, and quite a few others. At first he said, absolutely not~!!! Then we finally got him to listen to them. He actually loved them, and especially her... She was indeed truly world class. What would have occurred next was that she would have made it all the way and who knows what would have happened to them. They had this great cohesive powerful sound, so it may have worked. After doing all that, the next part was to hand them over.
The rest would not have been up to me... I was just the go-between that put all the pieces together. And it takes a LOT of very crucial pieces, all put together like a complicated puzzle - to pull something this complicated off... especially by 2012/13. We absolutely had world class everywhere... so it could have worked. And it almost did...
Rule Number One, Two and Three in the music business: You cannot get the big head until you actually sign. You are not a star until the ink has dried. And.... never screw your booking agent around... especially when he worked for ZZ Top for 25 years, and is best friends with Bill Hamm and ZZ Top~!!!
Unfortunately they ended up doing all three! Not her, the band. And they lost the million dollar backing of Bill Hamm. Bill eventually retired... again, after that. The truth is, he was already retired but when we approached him he immediately saw that rare "IT" factor... that thing that is so rare that it will pull any big time producer out of retirement - just one more time. But when IT turns into THAT... its over. I found out how quickly it is to lose a LOT of friggin' money too. That situation has cost managers millions over the years. Heck, even Johnny Cash's manager lost millions and died penniless... and that kind of thing is why the business no longer puts up with "THAT" stuff. You must be, should be, humble around those who have the power.
As usual, an ex-professional road musician will have many stories like this to tell.... this was only one of them. Most are not for telling in a public forum. Especially a Raven Audio forum. But sometimes you will get one or two or 10 out of me... I hope that's part of what makes this forum special.
I'm just one member of this incredible team now... and THAT is what you are now listening to. Not just me... but US! Thank God for such a great blessing that the right people came together at such a perfect time. And THAT is how I feel about everything now.