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METalliance Celebrates Nashville Blackbird Bonanza

Weekend of live tracking and mixing held at the end of January saw the seven alliance members interacting with attendees young and old, beginners to pros.
Left to right, METalliance members in Nashville, including George Massenburg, Niko Bolas, Elliot Scheiner, Chuck Ainlay, Jon Randall, Frank Filipetti, Sylvia Massy, and Jimmy Douglass. (Photo Credit: Don Cherel)

The METalliance (Music Engineering and Technology Alliance) is celebrating another successful “In Session” weekend of live tracking and mixing held at the end of January at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, where the seven alliance members interacted with attendees young and old, beginners to pros.

Blackbird owner John McBride says, “I’ve always known to surround myself with great people. After two days with The METalliance I have never in my life been more inspired about making music. I learned more about the art of recording and mixing music than ever before with these living legends willing to share their wisdom, experience and humor with total honesty.”

METalliance members Sylvia Massy and Niko Bolas recorded the “blood” harmonies of the Zmed Brothers and the songs of singer/songwriter Sonia Leigh with a full band with horns. “After spending the weekend sneaking into the other classes, watching the METalliance work, I, again, realize how diverse and creative this art of engineering can be,” Bolas says. Jimmy Douglass is an ‘OG Beast’ and Sylvia Massy captures performance like no one else, with tools like no one else — genius hiding in a garden hose. Who knew?”

Massy adds, “Our Nashville weekend was a cocktail of tasty music and innovative technology, blended with studio friends long-time and brand new — all poured into the vibrant rooms of Blackbird. Can’t wait to see y’all at the next METalliance celebration — we’ll have another f*ck-ton of fun!”

Further, in Blackbird Studio D, Elliot Scheiner and Chuck Ainlay tracked Grammy Award-winning artist/songwriter/producer Jon Randall with all-star session players. “It never ceases to amaze me — the combined wealth of recording and mixing knowledge this group embodies,” Ainley says. “The willingness to share that information and the stories of a lifetime in the studio can’t be overstated. For me, it was a dream come true to witness one of my recording heroes, Elliot Scheiner, on a tracking session.”

Scheiner notes, “Truly amazing weekend filled with the most wonderful students. All seven of us think alike but we do things differently. I learned more from Chuck over the two days than I have in the last twenty years.”

In Studio F, Jimmy Douglass shared techniques of his immersive mixes, including titles by Justin Timberlake, while Frank Filipetti and George Massenburg covered immersive mixing in the unique Studio C. Massenburg explored his recent Alicia Keys’ Grammy-winning “Best Immersive Album” and the newly released Earth, Wind and Fire immersive remixes. Filipetti demonstrated his immersive work with acts as varied as Korn and George Michael. Per Massenburg,

“Forty-five years ago, I started in this insane business with all the hopes and dreams of a romantic,” Filipetti concludes. “Still, I couldn’t have imagined the life this journey has provided me. This past weekend at Blackbird Studios brought all that back in spades. For three Covid filled years, I’ve missed the camaraderie of my METalliance friends, the pleasure of meeting audio professionals both new and old, and working with the best musicians on the planet. Hallelujah, it doesn’t get better that.”


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