The Masters

Jacquire King

Jacquire King

Jacquire King is an American record producer, engineer, and mixer. King has worked with artists including Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, James Bay, Modest Mouse, You Me At Six, Buddy Guy, Norah Jones, Of Monsters and Men, Josh Ritter, Cold War Kids, Punch Brothers, City and Colour, Moon Taxi, Robert Ellis, Amber Rubarth, and Dawes. His work has received more than 30 Grammy Award nominations to date.

King had his initial training in recording engineering at Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio. His first studio employment was in the Washington, D.C. area, followed by studio work in San Francisco. He now inhabits Studio G at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN as a personal studio for his productions and mixing. King utilizes traditional analog techniques and equipment such as tracking to 2″ analog tape combined with modern technologies like computer-based recording via Pro Tools and software plug-in digital signal processing that emulate classic outboard Universal Audio and Neve signal processing gear. In 2007 Jacquire disassembled and modified his 40 channel Quad Eight Coronado console, converting it into two identical 16 channel/32 input consoles. In 2014 he hosted his first Mix With The Master’s seminar at Studios La Fabrique in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France.


Tia Sillers

Tia Sillers

Tia’s landmark song “I Hope You Dance,” initially recorded by Lee Ann Womack, struck an emotional chord with listeners and received national exposure on Oprah and through articles in Newsweek and the New York Times. It was even performed at the Nobel Prize awards ceremony and eventually went on to win every conceivable award including the Grammy, CMA, ACM, NSAI, ASCAP, and BMI Song of the Year. The song also enjoyed success in Europe and South America in a version recorded by popular international artist Ronan Keating, and a version by Gladys Knight was featured in the Tyler Perry film The Family That Preys. However, Tia is far from a one-hit wonder having penned hit songs for numerous other artists, including the #1 smashes “That’d Be Alright,” recorded by Alan Jackson, and “There’s Your Trouble,” recorded by The Dixie Chicks.

Crossing genres, Tia has achieved success with a variety of artists including established rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd, with whom she has written multiple hits, including the top five songs “Last Goodbye”, “Was” and the #1 smash “Blue On Black”, which not only held the top spot on the rock charts for seventeen weeks but was also the 1998 Billboard Rock Song of the Year. Tia was nominated for ten Canadian CMA awards in 2009 for her work with Canadian artists Johnny Reid, Crystal Shawanda, and Victoria Banks. Other artists who have recorded Tia’s songs include Martina McBride, Randy Travis, Trace Adkins, Trisha Yearwood, Diamond Rio, Wynonna, Patty Loveless, and Sister Hazel.


Brent Maher

Brent Maher, with six Grammy Award winning records to his credit, has become one of Nashville’s most successful and critically acclaimed producers and hit songwriters

Brent Maher, with six Grammy Award-winning records to his credit, has become one of Nashville’s most successful and critically acclaimed producers and hit songwriters. Maher’s accomplishments include over 20 number one singles, numerous top ten singles and a wide array of platinum and multi-platinum selling albums. His credits read like a “Who’s Who” of recording artists including The Judds, Shelby Lynne, Gladys Knight, Nickel Creek, Wynonna, Kenny Rogers, Jo Dee Messina, Kathy Mattea, Ray Charles, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, Ike & Tina Turner and many more. Recently, Maher engineered the Grammy award-winning single “Lost Highway” from the album “The Last of the Breed” with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Ray Price. In 2017, Brent received the AES (Audio Engineering Society) lifetime achievement award.


Mike Reid

Mike Reid is an American music artist and composer. After receiving his BA in music from Pennsylvania State University, Reid performed as a pianist for the Utah Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Reid moved to Nashville and quickly became known as an in-demand songwriter for the likes of Ronnie Milsap, Wynonna Judd, Alabama and numerous other artists. Reid won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song with “Stranger in My House,” which was recorded by Ronnie Milsap. Reid has written twelve number one hits. He also co-wrote, with Allen Shamblin, Bonnie Raitt’s standard “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Reid signed to Columbia Records as a recording artist. His debut album “Turning for Home” produced a No.1 country hit in its lead-off single “Walk on Faith.” Reid also composed the music for the Civil War musical “A House Divided.” After that, he wrote six more musicals, including Quilts, Different Fields, Eye of the Blackbird, Tales of Appalachia, In This House, and The Ballad of Little Jo, a 1997 winner of the Academy of Arts and Letters’ Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater. Reid has won the prestigious award of ASCAP “Writer of the Year” and was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Karen Staley

Karen Staley’s songs have been played on the radio over 12 million times & counting. Those songs have collectively sold more than 20 million albums, singles, and downloads. Born in Weirton, WV & raised in nearby rural Hookstown, PA in the Tri-State area of WV, PA & OH, Karen is a 30 plus year veteran of the Nashville music industry and has been involved in virtually every facet of the business from songwriting and performing to touring, recording and producing. As a recording artist, Karen had 2, critically acclaimed, major label albums:  Wildest Dreams on MCA and Fearless on Warner Bros, as well as several indie gospel and soul albums.

Karen is one of the original mainstays at the Bluebird Café, the now iconic listening room popularized by the hit show Nashville. She is also one of the founders of the “In The Round” format for shows. Her songs have not only been recorded by modern stars like Faith Hill, Reba, Trick Pony, Terri Clark & Tracy Byrd but also icons & legends like George Jones, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, and Brenda Lee. As a guitarist and background singer, Karen has toured with Faith Hill, Reba, Patty Loveless, Terri Clark, and Russ Taft and is she is also studio session singer and demo producer.

Many of Karen’s songs have been nominated for Dove, Grammy, & International Bluegrass Awards.   Karen also won the Academy of Country Music’s Song of The Year award with Tracy Byrd’s, now wedding classic, Keeper of the Stars which was also featured on CMT’s 100 Greatest Country Love Songs of All Time TV special. For the past decade, Karen has been very active in the art of corporate/group team building through songwriting. She engages the client in co-writing, performing & recording a song about their business, school or organization, all within an hour! Karen’s unique blend of qualities including people skills, empathy, humor, ease and adaptability to any circumstance is what makes her events so successful. Her immense talent for songwriting, on the spot, while keeping the participants engaged, entertained and having fun is the reason organizations look to her time and again to create new memories, solidifying the message that teamwork, indeed, makes the dream work!

The reason Karen was drawn to music in the first place was to reach people in some meaningful way. She continues to quite naturally strive for that intimate connection no matter the setting she presents in. Karen says she feels humbled and blessed to share her talents with so many diverse groups of people from all over the world and looks forward to every new opportunity to share the gift of music and human connection every time.


Tim Lauer

Upon his graduation in 1990, Lauer used his Belmont education and connections to secure jobs playing piano and percussion, songwriting, arranging and producing. He was a bandleader for Trisha Yearwood and has toured with Kathy Mattea and Wynonna Judd.

Lauer has played on more than 200 records with a variety of artists including Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant and the Gospel Music Association’s 2010 Artist of the Year, Francesca Battistelli. His songs have appeared on “The Simple Life,” “One Tree Hill” and “Drop Dead Diva,” and he received an Emmy nomination for the song “Can You Love Me with the Lights On” featured on “Guiding Light.” He is currently the Music Producer of CMT’s Hit TV show “Nashville.”


Mark D. Sanders

Sanders has accumulated a multitude of awards from respected publications including Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, Billboard Magazine, Music Row Magazine and American Songwriter Magazine. In addition to these awards, Sanders has also received numerous industry honors including four Country Music Association Triple Play Awards (three No. 1’s in a twelve month period), ASCAP’s 1997 Song of the Year, “No News” and Writer of the Year awards, the 2000 CMA Song of the Year for “I Hope You Dance” and the 2001 Grammy for Country Song of the Year, also for “I Hope You Dance.”

California native Mark Daniel Sanders was a literature major, a basketball player and a surfer who, at the age of twenty- nine, came to Nashville to try for the title of Songwriter. After ten years of “paying his dues,” his career skyrocketed in the early 1990s.

Since his beginnings on Music Row, Sanders has accumulated a multitude of awards from respected publications including Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, Billboard Magazine, Music Row Magazine and American Songwriter Magazine. In addition to these awards, Sanders has also received numerous industry honors including: four Country Music Association Triple Play Awards (three No. 1’s in a twelve month period), ASCAP’s 1997 Song of the Year, “No News” and Writer of the Year awards, the 2000 CMA Song of the Year for “I Hope You Dance” and the 2001 Grammy for Country Song of the Year, also for “I Hope You Dance.”

Since joining Larga Vista, Sanders has been enjoying success with numerous cuts by major label artists including Josh Turner (“Loretta Lynn’s Lincoln”), Joe Nichols (“That’s What Love Will Get You”), Jeff Bates (“Hands On Man”), Shawn Camp (“Waitin’ For The Day To Break,” “Hotwired” and “Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble To Me”), Kathy Mattea (“Hurt Some”) and Lori McKenna (“Leaving This Life” and “Drinkin’ Problem.”)


Paul Andrews

Paul Andrews, as a recording engineer and owner of Bridge Recording Studios

Paul Andrews is a recording engineer and owner of Bridge Recording Studios. He has worked with industry leaders such as Al Schmitt, Bruce Swedien, Brent Maher, Brad Divines and Jack Trifiro. Andrews has recorded Kris Kristofferson, Boyz II Men, Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers, Bill Evans, Pete Huttlinger, the CSU Symphony Orchestra and Big Band, Hila Plitmann, Amrit Kaur, Christian Sanders, and Mandy Harvey.

Growing up, he attended Denver University on scholarship in classical guitar studying under Ricardo Iznaola. He then joined the staff at A&M Records where he worked with Sheryl Crow, Aerosmith, and Danzig among others.

Today, Andrews continues to record many different styles of music including everything from Opera and Classical to Punk. He travels nationally conducting workshops and seminars for DPA Microphones; educating students and professionals on microphone technologies and best practices.


Allen Shamblin

Allen Shamblin is a country music songwriter who was born in Tennessee, and was brought up in Huffman, Texas. In 1990, Randy Travis took a song Shamblin wrote, about his greatgrandfather, to number one on the country charts. After “He Walked on Water”, he followed it up with four more number one songs including: “We Were in Love,” “In This Life” and “Walk on Faith.” He often co- writes with other songwriters.

Allen Shamblin is a country music songwriter who was born in Tennessee and was brought up in Huffman, Texas. In 1990, Randy Travis took a song Shamblin wrote, about his great-grandfather, to number one on the country charts. After “He Walked on Water,” he followed it up with four more number one songs including: “We Were in Love,” “In This Life” and “Walk on Faith.” He often co-writes with other songwriters. He co-wrote with Steve Seskin for number one hits with “Life is a Dance” and “Don’t Laugh at Me.” “Don’t Laugh at Me” was a hit for Mark Wills and was later recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary. His song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” was co-written with Mike Reid and was a hit for Bonnie Raitt. He also wrote “The House that Built Me, co-written with Tom Douglas, won a Grammy as sung by Miranda Lambert. In 2009, Shamblin was inducted into The Texas Heritage Songwriters Association Hall of Fame on March 1, 2009, at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. In 2011 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Chuck Ainlay

Chuck Ainlay, Multiple Grammy, CMA & ACM Award winning Producer/Engineer, Chuck has recorded and/or mixed well over three hundred albums, including work with legendary & current hit country music artists such as; George Strait, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris and The Dixie Chicks

Chuck Ainlay, Multiple Grammy, CMA & ACM Award winning Producer/Engineer, Chuck has recorded and/or mixed well over three hundred albums, including work with legendary & current hit country music artists such as; George Strait, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris and The Dixie Chicks. Chuck has placed his distinctive production and engineering stamp on projects with mainstream pop artists such as Dire Straits and nearly the entire solo career of Mark Knopfler as well as Peter Frampton, Lionel Richie, James Taylor, Jewel, Bob Seger, Chuck Leavell and Sheryl Crow which has earned him widespread international acclaim. His work in 5.1 mixing has resulted in ground-breaking projects such as the 25th-anniversary remix of Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive and the Grammy award-winning 20th-anniversary remix of the Dire Straits album Brothers In Arms.

He has served several terms as a Governor on the Nashville Chapter NARAS board, Chaired the Nashville P&E Wing and CoChaired the NARAS P&E Wing National Steering committee.


Billy Montana

Billy Montana is an American singer-songwriter. Montana’s songs have been recorded by Garth Brooks, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Sister Hazel and Kenny Rogers, among others. Montana’s song “Bring On the Rain” recorded by Jo Dee Messina topped Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks in March 2002 and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Billy Montana has achieved four #1 country records: Lee Brice’s “Hard To Love”(2012), Garth Brooks’ “More Than A Memory”(2007), Sara Evans’ “Suds In The Bucket” (2004) and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bring On The Rain” (2002). “Bring On The Rain” was nominated for awards by both the Recording Academy (Grammy) and the Country Music Association and reached Number 6 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It appeared on the Country and A/C Charts for a combined total of 66 weeks! “Suds In The Bucket” was the most played country song by a female artist of 2004 and “More Than A Memory” is the fastest rising single in the history of country music, debuting at #1 on both the Billboard and R & R charts.  Montana’s song “What If I Was Willing” was featured on several of the 2013-14 episodes of the popular television series “Nashville.”  Montana has the current Jon Pardi single, “Night Shift” which has broken into the top 20 and continues to climb up the country charts.
First inspired to pick up a guitar as a teenager in rural upstate New York by his musician father, Montana soon formed a country/rock band with his brother.  After graduating with a degree in agriculture from Cornell University, Montana decided to try music full time and traded his dream of becoming a farmer for a record deal on Warner Brothers. His 1996 Magnatone Records release “No Yesterday” received great critical acclaim from USA Today, Music Row magazine, and Billboard magazine.
Many prominent artists have recorded Montana’s songs including Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Lee Brice, Jon Pardi, David Nail, Pat Green, Jo Dee Messina, Sara Evans, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Eli Young Band, Kellie Pickler, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Sister Hazel, Steve Holy, Kenny Rogers and Lee Ann Womack.


Jonathan Yudkin

Jonathan Yudkin is a recording studio musician, film composer and ACM award-winning instrumentalist specializing in all stringed instruments, violin, cello, mandolins, guitars,etc.. After studying and working in Philadelphia and New York Yudkin relocated to Nashville in 1981 to continue a 20-year adventure of road work and studio recording with Leon Russell, Dickey Betts, Ed Bruce, John Hartford, Robert Earl Keen and Kathy Mattea. He left the road in 1997 to concentrate primarily on studio recording and has since provided hundreds of award-winning tracks for Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi, Rascal Flatts, Jewel, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Shania Twain, Megadeth, Keith Urban, Big and Rich, Reba, Jars of Clay, Neil Diamond, Steven Tyler, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, P!nk and Cher, to name a few. He is also working in the Latin music world with the brilliant writer and singer Ricardo Arjona.

Yudkin is also known as a one-man orchestral recording service,arranging and performing all of the instruments, for major Country and Pop acts, feature-length film and TV scores and commercials. As a composer his latest film scores include the Hallmark Christmas film ‘Christmas At Graceland’ starring Kellie Pickler,as well as the films Born Wild, Dug Up and Common Threads. He is a 35-year member of AFM 257, serving on the Executive Board, is a graduate of the Leadership Music class of 2009, is a mentor for Belmont University Graduate students and has been honored as ACM Fiddle Player of the Year and Music Row magazine’s Top 10 All-Stars awards.


Nir Zidkyahu

Nir Zidkyahu (born in Rishon LeZion, Israel), also known as Nir Z, is a studio-session drummer, and the brother of Blackfield’s drummer Tomer Z.

Nir Zidkyahu (born November 1967, in [Jerusalem], Israel), also known as Nir Z, is a studio-session drummer, and the brother of Blackfield‘s drummer Tomer Z. He played the drums for eight songs on Genesis‘ 1997 album, Calling All Stations, and subsequently joined the band for their 1998 tour.

In 2001, he drummed on John Mayer‘s breakthrough album, Room for Squares. Since then, he has played drums and percussion for various artists including Jason MrazJoss Stone, and Alana Davis. In 2006, he recorded with Flaw on their Endangered Species record and with Chris Cornell on his second solo album, Carry On, released 2007. Zidkyahu played on several songs of the comeback album, Skyscraper, for former Journey singer Steve Augeri‘s original band Tall Stories, released January 23, 2009. In 2009, Zidkyahu went on tour drumming for Billy Squier. Now living in Nashville TN Nir’s become one of the top session drummers in music city.

Zidkyahu was hired by Toontrack to record the drums samples for their virtual drummer programs Superior Drummer 2.0,[1] New York Studios Vol.2 SDX,[2] and New York Studios Vol.3 SDX.[3]


Eddie Bayers

Bayers is an American session drummer who has played on 300 plus gold and platinum albums including Tanya Tucker, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs and George Strait. He has also worked with The Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Lane Brody, Julio Iglesias, Alan Jackson, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Uncle Kracker, Bob Seger, Sting, Steve Winwood, and Trisha Yearwood.

Bayers is an American session drummer who has played on 300 plus gold and platinum albums including Tanya Tucker, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs and George Strait. He has also worked with The Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Lane Brody, Julio Iglesias, Alan Jackson, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Uncle Kracker, Bob Seger, Sting, Steve Winwood, and Trisha Yearwood. He co-produced Rosanne Cash’s album Interiors, A Glen Campbell Christmas, and the soundtrack for A Thing Called Love. Bayers received the ‘Academy of Country Music Drummer of the Year Award’ 14 times, ‘Nashville Music Awards Drummer of the Year’ three times, and one of the ten greatest session drummers of all time by Drum! Magazine. He has also been nominated for the ‘CMA Musician of the Year’ ten times. In addition to his work as a musician, Bayers has contributed to the recording industry as a 12-year member of the Board of Governors for NARAS.


Vance Powell

Vance Powell is a four time Grammy Award winning record producer, engineer and mixer. His credits include Chris Stapleton, Jack White, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, Wolfmother, Seasick Steve, Black Prairie, The Revivalists, Tinariwen, JEFF the Brotherhood, Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes, and Martina McBride, among many others.

Vance Powell is a six-time Grammy award-winning producer, engineer, and mixer, whose impressive list of credits includes Chris Stapleton, Jack White, Melissa Etheridge, Arctic Monkeys, The Raconteurs, Wolfmother, Clutch, Old 97s, The White Stripes, Jeff The Brotherhood, and The Revivalists to name a few.  

The Grammys amiss are – Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 1 (Best Country Album) – mixer/engineer – CeCe Winans’ Let Them Fall In Love (‘Best Gospel Album’) – mixer/engineer.


Jason Lehning

Lehning’s earliest work was as an assistant engineer in several Nashville studios. He was allowed access to studios on downtime to invite artists to record. His early demos with artist David Mead resulted in a record deal for the singer and Lehning’s first significant label job as a producer. Since then, Lehning has been active as a producer, musician, composer, mixer, and engineer, contributing to over 350 albums. The diverse range of artists with whom he has worked includes George Jones, Erasure, Mat Kearney, Guster, Bill Frisell, and Alison Krauss. Lehning has won two Grammy awards as an engineer and was nominated for the Best Engineer Grammy in 2008.


Ilya Toshinskiy

At age 14, Toshinskiy first visited Nashville in 1992 during an event sponsored by the Tennessee Banjo Institute. A year later, the band traveled to Oak Ridge, Tenn., on a cultural exchange program. They returned to the U.S. in 1994 to perform at the International Bluegrass Music Association convention. With the fall of communism in Russia, the band members realized they would have to move to the U.S. if they expected to achieve widespread success. Ilya is now an in-demand session player in the Nashville studio scene.

Initially, from Obninsk, Russia, Bering Strait gained national media attention after moving to the U.S. to perform country and bluegrass-influenced songs. Formed while studying classical music at the State College of Music and Stage Arts near Moscow, the band consists of Ilya Toshinskiy (lead guitar, banjo, background vocals); Sasha Ostrovsky (steel guitar, Dobro); Alexander Arzamastsev (drums); Sergei Olhovsky (bass); Natasha Borzilova (lead vocals, acoustic guitar); and Lydia Sainikova (keyboards, background vocals). At age 14, Toshinskiy first visited Nashville in 1992 during an event sponsored by the Tennessee Banjo Institute. A year later, the band traveled to Oak Ridge, Tenn., on a cultural exchange program. They returned to the U.S. in 1994 to perform at the International Bluegrass Music Association convention. With the fall of communism in Russia, the band members realized they would have to move to the U.S. if they expected to achieve widespread success. Ilya is now an in-demand session player in the Nashville studio scene.


Darrell Brown

With over 77 million units sold worldwide as an award-winning songwriter and producer, Brown creative versatility shows throughout his work with Keith Urban, LeAnn Rimes, Neil Young, Willie Dixon, Faith Hill, Mavis Staples, Little Big Town, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Jeff Beck, Alison Krauss, The Crystal Method, Rob Thomas, Ariana Grande, David Gray, Josh Turner, Radney Foster and Bon Jovi among so many others.

Some of Brown’s songwriter highlights include Keith Urban’s hit “Raining On Sunday” and Urban’s #1 crossover Grammy-winning hit, “You’ll Think Of Me”, Josh Turner’s number multi-week #1 single “Why Don’t We Just Dance”, LeAnn Rimes multi-genre crossover hit,“Nothing Better To Do”, the multiple #1 club songs including  “Love is Love is Love”, “What I Can Not Change” and  “Long Live Love”, Jim Brickman #1 single “Simple Things”

Brown contributed songs and music to the films of Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky”, Coen Brothers “Gambit”, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, “Cruel Intentions” Pretty Woman, among others. Brown is also responsible for the creation and production of specific rock, pop and country music that has been written and designed for the internationally renowned hit EA video game franchise The Sims, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4. Brown also underscores and produce music for other video games for EA and EA sports including FIFA and Madden Football.


Gretchen Peters

A singer and songwriter whose work is both literate and easily relatable, Gretchen Peters has enjoyed a successful career as a recording artist. Peters is a go-to songwriter for many of the biggest names in country and pop. In 1991, Peters‘ “The Chill of an Early Fall” was recorded by George Strait and became her first hit as a tunesmith, while Martina McBride‘s 1993 recording of “Independence Day” was not only a major success but was voted Song of the Year by the Country Music Association. Since then, she’s penned hits for Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Bonnie Raitt, and Neil Diamond, among many others, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014. Peters‘ first album, The Secret of Life, was released in 1996, the first in a series of LPs that demonstrated she is one of the finest interpreters of her songs, with 2007’s Burnt Toast & Offerings and 2015’s Blackbirdsfinding particular favor with critics. Gretchen Peters was born in Bronxville, New York on November 14, 1957.  At 19, she recorded a demo tape that earned her first prize in a regional songwriting competition, and after years of playing in Colorado, she relocated to Nashville, Tennessee in 1988, hoping to break into country music. Peters received a solo writing credit for “Let That Pony Run,” which became a Top 10 Country hit for Pam Tillis in 1993. She has many awards found here.

Peters latest award for studio recording was in 2018 for the album Dancing with the Beast, a set of songs informed by the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election and Peters‘ thoughts about women’s place in American society.


John Jorgenson

Southern California native John Jorgenson, a three-time winner of the Academy of Country Music award for Guitarist of the Year, was destined to be a part of the music business from an early age. Classically trained as a child, his father conducted for Benny GoodmanJohn, who idolized Goodman, played with his hero while his father was leading the way. Later, he went on to work for eight years as a member of the jazz and bluegrass group at Disneyland. While employed at the “happiest place on earth,” John contributed his skills on a number of instruments, including mandolin, saxophone, guitar, and clarinet. At another point in his career, he was the featured bassoonist for the L.A. Camerata. Still, it was Jorgenson‘s expertise as a guitarist that brought him fame and respect as he recorded with the groundbreaking Byrds as well as Rose MaddoxRoy OrbisonBob DylanJohn PrineBonnie RaittDan Fogelberg, and even Michael Nesmith. Grammy-winning artist and composer, and founder of the Desert Rose Band, The Hellecasters and Elton John’s guitarist for 6 years.


Joe Robinson

Joe Robinson is considered uniquely gifted as a virtuoso guitarist and singer/songwriter. He walks a tightrope between the instrumental music that has put him in the spotlight and a unique fusion of vocally based rock, blues, jazz, and R&B that is entirely his own.  Born in the backwoods of Temagog, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia, his six-string ability and compositional insight have already earned him a worldwide following.

Robinson started playing guitar at age nine, abandoning the piano lessons he’d been taking for the past three years. He quickly outpaced his guitar instructor and began educating himself via the Internet. At just 13 years old, he won the Australian National Songwriting Competition. Within a couple of years, he was touring regularly and sharing stages with artists such as Tommy and Phil Emmanuel, both of whom served as mentors. He released his first album of original material, Birdseed, in 2005 at age 15. When a 16-year-old Robinson burned through a Chet-inflected medley of “Day Tripper” and “Lady Madonna” at the opening round of the 2008 Australia’s Got Talent television series competition, the entire house—including the judges— gave him a standing ovation. He went on to win $250k with his take on Tommy Emmanuel’s arrangement of “Classical Gas.” Tommy Emmanuel then invited him to Nashville, where among other things he hooked up with Brad Paisley’s producer Frank Rogers, who helmed his 2009 release, Time Jumpin’. That same year, Robinson was awarded the title of “Senior Grand Champion Performer of the World” at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood. He has also performed at Bonnaroo and was voted “Best New Talent” in the Guitar Player Readers’ Poll. 


Patrick A. McMakin Sr.


In his 40 years years in the music industry, McMakin has worked successfully as a recording engineer, record producer, songwriter, GM of Sony Tree Studios, and GM Tree Productions (Sony/ATV’s music production/ artist development company).  He has worked with a wide variety of artists including Ricky Skaggs, Aaron Tippin, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Brooks and Dunn, Lonestar, Brenda Lee, NSync, Steve Martin, Nashville Opera, and most recently, Willie Nelson and countless other artists, producers and songwriters. McMakin has produced and engineered in a wide variety of musical genres including country, rock, pop, jazz, opera and classical music. He was employed at Sony/ATV for over 25 years. In March of 2008 McMakin assumed the leadership of Belmont University’s Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studios where he currently serves as Director of Operations. The studios are considered among the very best in Nashville and compete globally. Partial Discography online here.


Graduated Cum Laude 1978 Belmont University ,BBA Music Business
Recorded and mixed 20 number one country singles before age 30
Successfully managed Sony Tree Studios for 25 years
Signed seven artists to major record labels while GM of Tree Productions including Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn), LeeAnn Womack, and David Kersh
Produced two successful albums on David Kersh for Curb Records, yielding 4 top 5 singles
Produced country artist Aaron Tippin’s debut LP on Disney’s Nashville label Lyric Street.
Redesigned Soundshop Studios (Nashville) where countless hits were recorded in the 1990’s
Responsible for building $1 million Sony Tree Studios in 1993
Coproduced Canadian Country Music Association 1993 album of the year (Patricia Conroy’s “Bad Day For Trains” Warner Canada)
Graduated Leadership Music 1993
Produced 5 Billboard Magazine top 5 country singles 1996-1998
Chaired the Nashville Entertainment Association’s “Music City Music” Country showcase event in 1997. First event of it’s kind to take place in Nashville’s lower Broadway district. Numerous acts were signed to labels.
Founding Chair (5 year Term) of Belmont University’s Music Business Advisory Board.
Was awarded the first Belmont University Mike Curb Award of Excellence
Member of NARAS P&E Wing initiative that developed Delivery Recommendations for master recordings.

Recorded Willie Nelson’s Tribute to Ray Price featuring a 20 piece string section live with a 10 piece rhythm section.
Featured in “Music Row: Americas Most Famous Neighborhood”  for Nashville Public Television