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Ed Cherney, Grammy-Winning Engineer for Bonnie Raitt & The Rolling Stones, Dies at 69

on October 22, 2019 No comments
by Melinda Newman

Ed Cherney, a Grammy and Emmy-winning engineer, who worked on such seminal works as Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time, Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” The Rolling StonesBridges to Babylon, Willie Nelson’s My Way and hundreds more, died Tuesday (Oct. 22) from cancer. He was 69.

Other artists he worked with included Bob Dylan, Bette Midler, Elton John, Sting, Etta James, Bob Seger and Jackson Browne, among others.


Heartbroken at the loss of my dear friend and brilliant engineer/producer, Ed Cherney. Together with Don Was, we made a mighty trio, creating some of the most celebrated albums of our careers, garnering us a string of Grammy nominations and awards for Nick of Time, Luck of the Draw, Longing in their Hearts and Road Tested in the early-mid 90’s.
He was one of the sweetest, funniest, big hearted and talented people I’ve ever known, as widely liked as he was respected as one of our businesses greatest recording Engineers. I will miss him so much and am so grateful we got to have him as long as we did.
Thank God he is out of pain and my deepest sympathy goes out to his beloved longtime wife and partner, Rose.
Bonnie Raitt

Cherney, who worked out of The Village Studios in Los Angeles, was known for his quick-witted, jolly manner. The Chicago-native enjoyed a great conversation or golf game as much as finding the perfect sound. 

Ed Cherney, Bonnie Raitt and Don Was recording at The Sound Factory, Hollywood – probably 1989

“Eddie was a real sonic genius,” says producer Don Was, who worked with Cherney on the Raitt and Rolling Stones’ albums, among others. “He knew how to add some ear-pleasing sparkle and sheen while keeping the music feeling intimate and natural. The records we did with Bonnie are perfect examples. More importantly, he added a really warm spirit to every session. Ed was funny humble and so good hearted that everyone felt at ease. A terrific person and a great friend. He is utterly irreplaceable.” 

After Cherney’s wife, former Record Plant head Rose Mann-Cherney, announced news of his death on Facebook Tuesday morning, other tributes began pouring in from fellow engineers and producers, as well as artists like Slash, Keith Richards, Jann Arden and Raitt.

Cherney, who was nominated for five Grammys, snagged his first win in 1995 for best engineered album/non- classical for Raitt’s Longing in Their Hearts. That year, he engineered three of the five nominees in the category. He won again in 2003 for best traditional blues album for Buddy Guy’s Blues Singer and in 2016 for the best traditional pop vocal album with Willie Nelson’s Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, an award he won again in 2018 forNelson’s My Way. In 2015, he won an Emmy for HBO’s Bessie Smith film Bessie.

NAMM Interview – January 20, 2012

In an oral history celebrating the 30th anniversary of Raitt’s Nick of Time, Cherney told Billboard about the precision required to get just the right sound, especially on “Thing Called Love.” “It may have taken me five or six times to nail the mix on that, because where it sounded great was on the head of a pin. It was that delicate.”  When the album went on to win album of the year at the 1990 Grammys, Cherney said, “It came out of nowhere — this was just a little record. No one was expecting that at all. I may have cried. I may have just broken down and cried.”

Nick Of Time Studio – Bonnie Raitt and Ed Cherney discussing the album’s direction with producer Don Was (far-right) 1989 © Mr. Bonzai

Iconic engineer Al Schmitt, a close friend of Cherney’s who talked with him everyday, tells Billboard, “Ed’s ability to concentrate and focus was brilliant. He was always thinking about the final product and his ability to create great musical balances was something very special. Also, his incredible sense of humor and the ability to keep things light no matter what was going on. He was the best of the best.” 

Engineer Ann Mincieli, best known for her work with Alicia Keys, was also a friend of Cherney’s. She tells Billboard, “From the Rolling Stones to Bonnie Raitt and everyone in between, Ed Cherney defined his sound and left us with a sonic imprint we will never forget. Ed and his wife Rose helped raise the bar of every aspect of the music industry and mentored several people like myself. As [Recording Academy] Producers & Engineers Wing co-chairs, we walked the halls of Congress, sat behind a console, lobbied for credits and high-resolution audio and the list goes on and on.”

Appropriately enough, his email address was “mixerdudeman.” And fitting of his humility, on his website instead of tributes from the superstars he worked with, he had a quote from his dog, Archie: “Cherney is one of the great music engineers of all time. And then there’s bacon.”

His mantra, also on his website, best expressed his approach. Even though, by his own admission, he was obsessed with technology, he wrote: “Ultimately, mixing is about heart — nobody leaves a session dancing to what kind of gear you used.”


Source: © Copyright Billboard
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Inside The 50th Annual Songwriters Hall Of Fame with John Prine and more

on June 14, 2019 No comments

John Prine is being inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

By Robert Dye

At the 50th annual Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night, two of its newest honorees, John Prine and Justin Timberlake, both of different generations, described the common bond that drives songwriters to write, and the emotional satisfaction that overcomes them when a song is finished.

Prine, the legendary folk singer whom presenter and long-time friend Bonnie Raitt called “our own Mark Twain, our Woody, our Will Rogers,” succinctly stated “I gotta say, there’s no better feeling than having a killer song in your pocket and you’re the only one in the world who’s heard it.”

Bonnie Raitt congratulates John Prine just before inducting him into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame

The multi-talented Timberlake discussed how important it is to create music with other co-writers who share the same hard-work ethic needed in finishing a song, no matter how difficult the task may be.  “You’re doing therapy with somebody you just met. If you did that on the subway they would say ‘that bitch is crazy!’ he joked. “There’s always that one line in the song where you’re like ‘if we could just get that one line that leads into the chorus.’ You bond over that shared level of tenacity. And then every time you hear that song later on, you get to remember the moment you had that breakthrough. When people hear it for the first time, they just hear it. But you get to go back and have all those memories.”

Inductee John Prine poses backstage during the Songwriters Hall Of Fame 50th Annual Induction And Awards Dinner at The New York Marriott Marquis on June 13, 2019 in New York City. © Larry Busacca /Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame
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Bonnie Raitt on Aretha Franklin: ‘The Most Influential Artist in My Life’

How the Queen of Soul shaped Raitt’s musical identity – and taught her how to deal with love and betrayal

on August 16, 2018 No comments

Raitt and Franklin, who sang together in 1993

Mark Zaleski/AP/REX/Shutterstock / Jeffrey Davy/REX/Shutterstock

I am so saddened by the loss of our beloved Queen of Soul, Aretha. She has always been my favorite and the greatest singer I’ve ever heard. Along with Ray Charles, she has been the most influential artist in my life. She brought the raw passion and beauty of gospel and the deepest blues, irrepressible rhythm to every note she sang. In songs like “I Never Loved A Man,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” “Natural Woman,” “Ain’t No Way” — I learned as a teenager most of what I still know about men, love, strength and vulnerability in the face of loss and betrayal; about the deep well of spirit and surrender to a higher purpose, including standing up for oneself and demanding respect.

Her phrasing, both vocally and in her great piano playing, set her above almost all others for me. And let us not forget to acknowledge the incredible team of songwriters, musicians, engineers and producers who helped bring out the genius and soul in this remarkable woman.

She gave us the raw power and dimension of what a real, ‘natural’ woman could be. In the ups and downs of her life, in the way she buckled and came back again and again. All the pain, longing, lust, rage and tenderness will always be there in her voice for us to treasure and remain in awe for all time.

I will continue to honor and be eternally grateful for the gift she gave us for these many years. May she rest and be reunited with her beloved family in eternal peace. God bless and thank you, dear Aretha. You will always be our Queen of Soul.

— Bonnie Raitt

Singer Bonnie Raitt recalls working with Aretha Franklin, calling her voice and character “authentic.”

 

Bonnie Raitt’s teenage world was transformed when she heard Aretha Franklin’s 1967 LP I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You).

I loved everything about her,” Raitt told Rolling Stone in 2003. “I loved the way she looked, I loved the ache in her heart, and her sass.”

So Raitt was blown away when she was invited to perform with Franklin at a 1993 AIDS benefit concert, which was aired on Fox. Joined by Gloria Estefan, they delivered a fierce version of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” “I’ll never forget – she touched my shoulder while singing,” Raitt said. “Looking out at the pouring rain. I almost fell off the stool.”
The three women later recorded the song for Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With the Queen, a 2007 tribute album to Franklin.

Raitt had a clear memory of laying eyes on the mysterious singer at rehearsal the day before the show: “She just had day clothes on, her nails weren’t done, her hair wasn’t done all up. She had a mike in one hand, and she was eating a cheeseburger with the other. The rest of us were waiting to see what outfit she’d be in, because she’s quite the diva, you know. Yet she was cool enough to be filmed in the ‘natch. She comes out of a tradition of great singers when you didn’t have to look like you were on Baywatch.”

Aretha Franklyn, Bonnie Raitt & Gloria Estefan - (You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman

 

“I can never believe this is happening. You know, it doesn’t get any better than Aretha Franklin,” Raitt said onstage that night. “I grew up wearing out 45s of “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “I Never Loved a Man” … “Since You’ve Been Gone” has always been one of my all-time favorites, and it is the thrill of my lifetime to be here to sing it with her tonight.”

“Since You’ve Been Gone” is a single from Franklin’s 1968 Lady Soul album. It peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 5, where it stayed for five weeks; it also spent three weeks at No. 1 on the R&B Singles chart.

According to the New York Times, Franklin and Raitt’s duet was part of an April ’93 tribute concert — dubbed “Aretha Franklin: Duets” — at New York City’s Nederland Theater. The event, a benefit for the AIDS service organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis, was taped for broadcast on Fox in May of that same year. In addition to Raitt, the show featured, among others, Smokey Robinson and Elton John.

Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt - Since You've Been Gone (4-21-1993)

 

Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” died on Thursday (Aug. 16) at her home in Detroit, Mich., according to her publicist. She was 76 and was reported to be “gravely ill” earlier in the week. The first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Franklin charted more than 100 singles on Billboard‘s charts and won 18 Grammy Awards. Her iconic songs include “Respect,” “Think” and many more.

 

Aretha Franklin


Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone and The Boot

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