Need Nashville, Memphis or Muscle Shoals in L.A.? The Barber's Basement Recording is the place you want to record. Credits include Willie Nelson, Zac Brown Band, Del McCoury, Yonder Mountain String Band, Shooter Jennings, Little Silver Hearts and more.
Specializing in working with Americana singer/songwriters and bands, I can help develop songs and arrangements, bring session players to lay down pedal steel, fiddle, a horn section and other authentic touches, the mix and master for a one stop shop for your next single or E.P. Don't have a band? No problem, I have a core group of solid roots players to bring out the best of your songs.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
10 ReviewsEndorse Ed Donnelly
Ed is a total pro - great communication start to finish. His musical sensibility is spot on. Excellent producer; just what I was looking for. Hire this man quick - you won't be disappointed.
I could not imagine a better producer than Ed Donnelly. Ed's gear knowledge and engineering prowess is invaluable and his willingness to dive deep into the soul of a project sets him apart from many other producers. There's no questioning his commitment to creating quality art with a vision. If you have the opportunity to work with him, do not pass it up!
I have known, recorded and played with Ed for 30+ years, and the experience has been great the whole time. Ed is patient, knowledgeable, kind, supportive, and overall just the type of calm, facilitating presence that you want in the room when music is being made. He's a great guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and overall has that perspective that just leads to better takes, better parts and better tunes. Here's hoping for 30+ more years of music!
ou want to get a call from Ed Donnelly. When you get the call you will say ‘Yes!’, no questions asked. You won’t ask what style of music, or how much it pays, or if it is any good. You will say yes because Ed called. And you know that means musical artistry will happen, you know that means unique vision will come into focus. You want to be there to see and hear it, to be a part of it. You know good people will be doing great work and having fun in the process. You already know Ed understands the process required to take a musical idea and turn it into an auditory gem.
Ed is the perfect producer and the best I’ve ever worked with. He’s super professional and sets everything up to bring out the artist’s sound. Ed serves the music and the musician. He’s emotionally supportive and a great musician to boot. I can’t ever repay Ed for what he has given me, my musical voice and a platform to express.
I love working with Ed not only because of his incredible work ethic, but because of the artistry he brings to a project. He is an incredible musician, audio engineer, writer, and can even master the song for you. He will do whatever it takes to make the song sound how you imagine it. All around great person, hard worker and very skilled at his craft.
Working with Ed Donnelly is always a pleasure! He always brings a great attitude and tremendous talent into the recording studio, and he is equally at home running the show or supporting someone else’s artistic vision. Ed and I have been working together for 28 years so far, and he’s been on point 100%. If you have the opportunity to work with him, I highly recommend it!” Michael James, Producer/Mixer (New Radicals, Hole, L7, Edwin McCain, Robben Ford, Kalimba)
Ed Donnelly makes music happen. If you have a project, Ed is the guy to get it done right. I have personally worked with Ed for many years recording different projects in different styles of music and each and every time I worked with him I got better than expected results and had a blast doing it. Ed is so easy to work with. I always feel safe and open to be vulnerable and let the music come out and Ed captures the magic and then takes the song to a new level. Ed has an amazing ear and is a multi instrumentalist and songwriter so he can offer what many producers can’t.
Going into our project with John Wicks, Ed and I spent a good amount of time discussing the direction we wanted the sessions to take. It wasn’t a typical band-The Records-sound we we wanted. We truly wanted it to be a John Wicks solo session. Ed understood from the beginning about getting a different type of vocal performance from John. Ed, as always, made contributions to not only the technical aspect of the session but also the arrangement and the overall vibe and feel of the song. John expressed to us more than once that it was the best experience he had ever had in the studio.
I got a chance to work with Ed Donnelly a few years ago on a studio project and it was a fantastic experience. He's an absolute professional and has a great ear for detail. He's super knowledgeable in the finding the right tones and sonics for whatever musical type project he is producing. I highly recommend working with him. You will love the outcome. - Garrett Smith, Drummer
Interview with Ed Donnelly
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The latest Little Silver Hearts E.P. "California". We went in and played the songs live with no click track, I played B3 and Wurlitzer. The final recording sounds identical to standing in the middle of the room as we tracked it.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Pre-production for sessions with Loud Mind, Molly Leach and Alexis Star.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. Waiting for tape to rewind sucks the life out of a session.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I am not going to try to change what you do or how you sound to be more "commercial". I am only going to support your songs to make them a pure expression of *YOU*.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Making art with other people.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long does it take to record a song? It depends entirely on how well rehearsed you are before entering the studio.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That "studio tricks" make things sound good. Nope, the performance is *everything*.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: How many songs have you written for this project? How much rehearsal have you done so far? What are a few recordings you'd like to use as a reference as we move into recording your songs?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be ready to be serious, work hard, work fast and have a good time. My job is to support you to bring your vision for your music to life.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: SM57, A-Designs Pacifica pre, Martin D-35, a guitar tuner, and my 1968 Supro snare.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started learning engineering as a teenager and started my first indie record company with some friends while I was till in High School. I completed the guitar program at Musicians Institute but stayed focussed on honing my skills as an engineer while gigging in L.A. I worked as a composer and wrote and recorded over 300 television commercial scores before taking a 6 year hiatus to work for a tech engineering company. Following a stint working for the tech company in the Middle East I founded Aderra. Aderra was a music tech company that developed unique technologies to record live concerts and instantly deliver them to fans. While there I engineered or produced over 1000 live album recordings Many of the artists that we worked with at Aderra asked me to produce their studio recordings as well. Since 2012 I have been concentrating solely on studio work and in particular working with new artists that need help in developing their songs and sound in the studio.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Laid back.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Jason Isbell, the guy's songs make me cry but his twitter feed makes me laugh.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Laying a guitar in Nashville tuning over a standard acoustic guitar tracks gives it a subtle shimmer and depth without adding any fake sounding artifacts like applying a stereo chorus effect.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: For the most part I work with Americana artists though I am in no way limited to this. Recently I have mixed electro-pop tracks fro Plasmic, produced and Alt. Rock EP for Resident and engineered and played guitar on hard rock tracks by The LA Detroiters.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Making the whole recording process enjoyable and rewarding.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Focus. The "sin" most songwriters commit is a rambling structure and too many interludes. I work with songwriters to tighten up what they have and give it the most emotional impact it can have for the listener.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Lots of prep and rehearsal before the red "Record" button is ever pushed. That means we can move quickly, get great takes without tedium and make a great sounding record.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: The Barber's Basement is in the Lemontree Studios complex in Highland Park. Our studio is a mid size control/tracking room with Pro Tools HD and a solid collection of vintage and modern mics, preamps, outboard hardware, guitars, amps , keys and more. The Live Room is 600 square feet and connected to the control room via Dante.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Glyn Johns, Tom Dowd, Jerry Wexler, Chet Atkins, Rick Rubin, Daniel Lanois.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Pre-production song prep and rehearsal, tracking, mixing, mastering and assistance with distribution. Basically A-Z through the recording process. That said, my mix clients are always satisfied too.