Kevin Salem

Guitarist, Producer, Mixer

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7 Reviews
Kevin Salem on SoundBetter

As guitarist, writer, producer, engineer, and/or mixer, I've made records with Rachael Yamagata, Chocolate Genius, Matthew Ryan, Emmylou Harris, and others. I'm comfortable in all areas of the recording process, and I am a professional encourager. I can help you get from start to finish, finding your Voice in the music and keeping it authentic.

I grew up in rural PA before moving to Boston and NY, beginning my career as a guitarist in bands like Dumptruck and yo la tengo. These are my roots– underground, Americana, ambient and AM radio.

I live in upstate NY and have a well-equipped studio in my barn. My first real studio experience was at legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, and I learned the value of being comfortable and having the option of seclusion.

As a music maker, of course I have my own thing, but I always ask myself what will best serve the intention of the artists I work with. I am not here to inflict my sound on you, but neither am I a "session cat" who tries to just blend in. I feel especially successful when I help my clients and colleagues discover their hidden intentions, the things that they did not know about themselves.

I am a songwriter, so I am always sure to honor the song, something that is equally important, whether you're Joni Mitchell or Fontaines DC. I believe in instinct as much as technical ability. I don't read music.

I work with tons of singer/songwriters like Matthew Ryan, Lenka, and Rachael Yamagata. I believe in quality, and I share everything I have in an effort to achieve it.

I keep it as organic as I can, but I am totally comfortable as a programmer and technocrat.

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

7 Reviews

Endorse Kevin Salem
  1. Review by Jordan Perlson
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    Kevin is one of the heaviest souls I've had the pleasure of working with. Sound, writing, groove, vibe-he's got it all. You'd be a fool not to tap him for your project.

  2. Review by Rachael Yamagata
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    Kev has the intuitive gift of knowing exactly how to realize the vision of your DEEP WORK ART. He finds the meat of a song and uncovers your truest voice that defines you as an artist. Gutsy, no frills, undeniably enthusiastic - Kev knows how to guide like a boot camp coach to bring you to your best. We've collaborated over 18 yrs and I can honestly say his artistry has been crucial to my development. His technique is topnotch as engineer/ producer and his mastery of guitar and soundscapes defy any one genre. You will love his soul, ferocity and imagination. He is a gem beyond all gems.

  3. Review by Kyle Evans
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    I've had the pleasure of working with Kevin on a few projects over the years. He is many things - a brilliant guitar player, a skilled engineer, and an organic producer who can tease out and burnish the emotional core of a song. To make things even better, he's also a pleasure to spend time around. Everything I've brought to him he's made better in ways I couldn't have possibly imagined.

  4. Review by Mackenzie Shivers
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    Kevin is a true pro and a joy to work with. He has all the knowledge and experience and none of the ego. His ear and musical sensibilities are top notch, and he knows how to get the most resonant sound even from a single instrument or vocal. I love collaborating with him because we both have high standards but are never striving for what's "perfect." He understands that perfect usually equates to soulless, but that doesn't mean he doesn't achieve greatness. He does and then some. I'm looking forward to working with Kevin many more times in the future.

  5. Review by Guillaume Nicolas
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    Kevin Salem is the very best of the best , both as a spectacular singer/songwriter/musician/producer/engineer and an amazing human being . I personally work with him for more than 15 years now , and he is definitely my favorite collaborator ever . As a musician and producer , he is the most gifted and talented person I ever met , and as a human being , he is the sweetest and most soulful person in the world . Kevin turns into gold everything he touches : songs , mixes , recordings and maybe the most important : your heart and soul . I believe in him 100 per 100 .

  6. Review by Eric H.
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    Three years ago I wrote a song that I envisioned having guitar work like the playing of Kevin Salem that I loved on a Freedy Johnston record in the 90s. I found his website, emailed him, uploaded some tracks and started a musical partnership that has made the last three years the best of the 30 years I’ve been recording. First and foremost Kevin is one of the best human beings I have ever met. Secondly but perhaps more important for your purposes, he is enormously skillful, reliable, honest, tactical and forthright and cares about his clients. He is an excellent communicator.

  7. Review by Matthew Ryan
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    Kevin is the perfect collaborator, producer, musician, engineer, writer, creative and human. He’s brought a perfect marriage of heart and intelligence and timeless fiery guts to all we’ve done together. The work I’ve done with Kevin is amongst the most durable and successful and beloved that I’ve done. And beautifully, I can say I hear it in the work he’s done with others. But it’s a spirit more than a stamp. He gives each event he participates in a unique spark, it never sounds like he imposed himself. It’s like he finds some magic door to conceive a better version of all he touches.

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We Are Libertines by Matthew Ryan

I was the Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Guitarist, Mellotron in this production

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Gear Highlights
  • Many vintage electric and acoustic guitars and amps
  • ribbon mics
  • quality mic pres and ears!
More Photos
  • One Spring NightNov 18, 2019

    After our tour of Korea last year, Rachael Yamagata and I were asked to write songs for a Korean Netflix drama, One Spring Night. Check the music out on the digital platform of your choice, or stream the series on Netflix.

  • The Parkland ProjectNov 18, 2019

    After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, I, along with several other songwriters, worked with the students to heal, to write. The songs came out great, and I decided to make a record with these young activists. That album, Wake Up, America, just came out. I'm proud to use music as a force for healing and change.