Recording Connection student Jones Nelson takes it to the next level in Nashville
“I’ve been in and around production rooms and audio studios since I was 15 years old,” says Recording Connection student Jones Nelson. “I just kind of gleaned different tips and tricks over the years, but this is my first time in a real professional studio to where my sole objective is to learn.”
As a serious musician and blues guitarist, Jones had recently made the move to Nashville, TN to try and make a go of it in the industry. He enrolled in the Recording Connection because he knew he needed to hone his mixing skills and take them to the next level. Even so, he recalls being awestruck the first time he set foot in The Rukkus Room to sit in on a session with his mentor, studio owner and Grammy-winning producer Jamie Tate.
“They had a session band in,” he says, “and the session band was…recording a bunch of different artists that would come in…What was really interesting is that these guys, if you even accidentally have listened to country music over the last 10 years or 15 years, you likely heard some of these folks on the record. The drummer toured and worked with Reba McEntyre for like 15 years. The guitarist that was in the recording, I think he got the Nashville Guitarist of the Year or something last year…It was that moment that I realized that I was standing among giants and really had at least somewhat stumbled into the big leagues.”
As Jones began apprenticing with Jamie, he soon realized how much he had to learn about mixing. “You think that you kind of have a handle on how sound is put together and how a mix is put together,” he says. “When you see somebody do it just completely differently and much better than what you’re used to, it’s just very awe-inspiring.”
Perhaps the biggest bonus for Jones was having his Grammy-winning mentor teach him how to fine-tune his own recordings. “His approach is a lot more ‘record it right the first time, and then just mess with it just a little bit,” says Jones. “I had a problem with one of my mixes, and I had carved out frequencies…He looked it and said, ‘Man, you’re zapping a lot of real frequencies here.’…After he went through and just did some minor tweaks, my mix was sounding much fuller.”
As he applies what he’s learning, Jones is already seeing the results in his own work. “I feel like my vocals are able to float a little bit better within the mix,” he says, “going into it kind of with the idea of how the compressor is going to work or work with my voice…It’s one of those things that is certainly has been helpful.”
Jones Nelson came to Nashville to take his music to the next level. The expertise of his Recording Connection mentor is helping him do just that, but equally important to Jones is the fact that by learning in a Nashville studio, he’s now connecting with lots of people he could never have met in a classroom—people who are actually working in the music industry—and he’s becoming part of the industry himself.
“You can’t be taught the real world out of a book,” he says. “[Jamie’s] got a Grammy hanging on the wall…So I think more than anything, the big difference going this route versus another is that you’re getting a shot of real world confidence, because you know that you’re quite literally just one step away from being in the mix.”