BillyRadd Music

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Steppin' Up

Singer/Songwriter Neil Laurence

Jeff Skolnik, the owner-operator of Dryden Street Studios in Fairview, North Carolina, is a cut above the rest.  The former US Navy Engineer lifer welcomed us at the door to his beautiful studio by saying, "I thought I heard a car pull up."  

There are probably two good reasons for this statement.  First, after many years as an audio engineer, Jeff's hearing is no doubt superb.  He demonstrated his aural acuity to us many times in the 6 hours he worked with us as Neil Laurence and I began to lay down tracks for one of Neil's many compositions called "Life is Sweet".

Second, Jeff's studio, a handcrafted audio paradise that more resembles a comfortable contemporary home than hi-tech sound recording studio, is nestled on a hill in the woods in a beautiful, very quiet neighborhood in western North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains.

Jeff's recording talents were only exceeded by his warm hospitality and positive humor.  As a working bass player himself, Jeff was impressed by the low "woody " tones emitted by Mela Kani, my diminutive Kala U bass, while Neil and I were blown away by Jeff's impressive collection of one-of-a-kind bass guitars which he shared with us like a proud papa.

The three of us spent hours laying down multiple tracks of bass, ukulele, and double-tracking Neil's vocals, including whistling, and harmonica.

What a great experience it was for Neil and myself to find this gem of a collaborator, Jeff the Recording Master.

As Neil and I were driving back to Asheville after our session, I asked Neil, "Where did you get hooked up with Jeff?"

"The same place that I found you - Jeff responded to my Craig's List ad," Neil said.

Well, that's pretty random, I thought.  

But, hey, sometimes things line up in the Cosmos just right.  And, like my Dad used to say, "Don't fight it".


  1. You must be in Nirvana Bill! I'm so excited to hear what you've been working on. Just reading your blog brings back great memories of sitting in a basement studio and working on some licks with the boys. You're a far cry from Ephraim, eh? Keep it up!

  2. Hey, Bob. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I am enjoying Asheville as a place that values art in general with an active music scene. I figure that if I just keep practicing music, challenging myself, and exposing myself to new friends here like Neil and Jeff I'll get somewhere with the "muse".
    Thanks for your encouragement, Bro.