Blue Night Records Staff
Steven’s passion for music began with Grandpa, who loved Joe Maphis, Jim Reeves, Chet Atkins and, of course, Lawrence Welk (that “Champagne Lady,” wow!). He got his first guitar for Christmas at age 14 (from Grandpa), and has never looked back.
His early interests included Burl Ives, the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Limelighters, and even Rick Nelson. Then one fateful night on a date with Linda Spinelli (hello Linda, if you’re out there somewhere) at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, he heard The Greenbriar Boys. It only took about two John Herald G-runs and the hook was set.
A short time later (somewhere in the 1960s — who remembers those years precisely?) Steven met Ron LeGrand, banjo player with “The Fly-By-Night Fleabags.” Ron sold him his first Martin D-28, and the two of them “commenced to pickin.” They soon formed “Wild Oats,” which played regularly at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, and other large venues — even opening the televised Country Music Awards in the mid-70s. Their acclaimed (well, er, “noticed” anyway) long play album (that’s right, an LP) “Country + Bluegrass = Wild Oats” on Alshire Records (the famous “101 Strings” label) may still be found in dusty record bins nationwide. Along the way he met legendary fiddler Byron Berline, who took him on the road for some state fair gigs with banjoist Herb Pedersen (Desert Rose Band) and bassist Roger Bush (Kentucky Colonels).
Fast forward to the 1980s. Steven was lead singer and guitarist in “Pickaway,” a busy Milwaukee bluegrass band. One of his most popular vocals in those years was “Blue Night,” a soaring lament made popular by “His Billness,” the “Father of Bluegrass,” Bill Monroe.
On the non-musical side, Steven earned a few degrees, including a Ph.D. in Industrial Relations from U.C.L.A. He was a university professor for 40 years, specializing in conflict management and negotiation skills. He has served as a labor arbitrator since 1977, and has been a member of the National Academy of Arbitrators since 1984.
Most importantly, Steven is married to the lovely Barbara, is the proud father of Amy Brown, and is the adoptive parent of Peek-A-Boo, Jackson, and Cooper, the best cats in the world.
Randy has mastered nearly every Blue Night Records’ release. Formerly at Final Stage in Nashville, Randy joined Airshow Mastering in 2010. He puts the final, lush touches on the raw mixes we send him. A good deal of what we hope makes our releases sound rich, pure and sonorous is directly attributable to Randy and the magic he cooks up in the dank, dark depths of the mastering lab. Learn more about Randy at www.airshowmastering.com.
Ben ran the board for Swing 220, the Don Stiernberg (with Jeff Jenkins and Rusty Holloway) project we recorded at AMG Media, Inc. in Knoxville, TN. Ben’s easy-going style and rapid-fire efficiency helped make this project run seamlessly. His nearly 15 years experience in the recording industry didn’t hurt either. Check out www.rspstudios.com for more information about Ben.
Billy owns and operates Big Red Studio in Portland, Oregon, where we recorded “Perfect Storm” by Dan Crary and Thunderation. As Dan’s liner note said, Billy’s “close involvement and original ideas greatly enriched“ that recording. Billy produced 60 CDs in his Portland living room before building Big Red Studio. Since opening Big Red in 2000, he has co-produced & recorded numerous projects, including the charting “Drum Hat Buddha” by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, “Blu de Genova” by Beppe Gambetta, and “The Renaissance of the Steel String Guitar” by Dan Crary. He loves laughter in the studio and brings passion, and world-wide musical experience to every project. Check out bigredstudio.com if you’re looking to record some acoustic music with the guidance of a proven professional.
Steve has worked with us from the very beginning. He recorded and helped us mix About Time, Unseasonably Cool, Angel Eyes, By George, Further Adventures, and Home Cookin’. When we record in Chicago, Steve is our man. He is the sole proprietor of Woodside Avenue Studios in Evanston, Illinois. Steve is also a gifted musician, composer and lyricist, and he contributed many creative ideas to musical arrangements used in all of the above recording projects. To learn more about Steve and the studio magic he creates, check out www.woodsideavenue.com.
John did the engineering work on Steve Spurgin’s Past Perfect, which we recorded at AMG-Media In Knoxville, TN. He also did the lion’s share of the mixing for that project. Moreover, he did it all with lightning speed and joyful spirit. John has engineered projects for Neil Young (Heart of Gold), Hank Williams, Jr., Ronnie Milsap, Megadeath, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis, among many others. John also recorded the basic tracks for Steve’s recent “Folk Remedies” release. Learn more about John at www.johnsaylor.net.
Eric is an internationally known musician, producer and owner of New Wine Recording Studio in the High Desert of Southern California, where he offers multi-track recording, mixing, CD mastering, producing, and digital editing. He has participated in recording such acoustic luminaries as Ron Block, Stuart Duncan, Rob Ickes, Alison Krauss, and now Jim Hurst, Missy Raines and Steve Spurgin. Eric is our studio guru in Southern California, and he helped us out greatly with “Folk Remedies.” (BNR-224). Learn more about Eric at www.ericuglum.com
VICKIE SPURGIN was sent to us from somewhere up above. We needed a graphic designer in a hurry and she came through for us. Vickie did all of the design/layout work for Steve Spurgin’s Past Perfect, as well as for Perfect Storm by Dan Crary and Thunderation. She’s creative, she’s fast, and she’s cool as a cucumber in the throes of manufacturing deadlines. Vickie also has unsurpassed depth and breadth of knowledge about design, printing, publishing, and most importantly, she can explain related complex concepts and processes in ways clear enough for the rest of us to understand. To learn more about what she can do for your organization, e-mail Vickie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Services Director
Bill Whitacre, an experienced and respected entertainment attorney, represents Blue Night Records and our principal artists. His additional clients include film and television producers, musicians, and other entertainment industry companies and individuals. Bill created the business and equity structures for the independent film “The Blair Witch Project” and his screen credits as a producer include films starring Ernest Borgnine, Danny Glover, Michael Winslow, Judd Nelson, Tom Arnold, Amy Smart, Julie Harris,and Mickey Rooney. He has brokered agreements with Warner/Atlantic, Polygram, CBS, INDI, SONY/RED Distribution, and their international affiliates in Europe and Japan. Bill is also affiliated with ASCAP and BMI, NARAS, the Americana Music Association, and the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
Like most of the Blue Night Records family, Bill is also a picker. He plays guitar and mandolin, and has performed in various Nashville establishments, at The Florida Folk Festival and at MerleFest, among many other events and venues. Welcome to the family, Bill. For more information about Bill, go to http://www.showbizlaw.net.
Financial Services Consultant
KELLI SWISHER, of Academy Advisors, Ltd., educates us about the tax implications of major decisions we make at Blue Night Records. She prepares our corporate tax returns, keeps our corporate reports current, and advises us about such exciting issues as asset allocation, payroll reporting, cash flow, and staying on good terms with “the authorities.” Kelli has evolved into an “authority” of sorts herself, having been immersed for about eight years in a wide array of music industry tax and financial issues. She’s always got a smile for us and an informed answer to our questions. Thanks for all of it, Kelli.