Audio engineer, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist: Neal Merrick Blackwood
The next level of excellence in studio recording and album production
Although Asheville, NC has absolutely no music industry at all, one of the most gifted audio engineers of all time lives just within a stones throw of the city. Our studio, Merrick Music, is located in the mountains outside of Asheville, NC. There are very few studios in this area because this is not a music industry town, despite what the “little fish in a little pond” groupies tell each other 😉 In fact, our studio is basically an intimate boutique writers studio for Neal Merrick Blackwood to do film scoring and singer-songwriter production in. We moved here from our hectic life in Nashville, TN where Neal owned a multi-million dollar studio with his grandfather, Robert N. Smith. Neal also stood at the helm of Space For Media, Inc., a large entertainment and graphic arts endeavor, with Robert N. Smith as the sole financial backer.
We were seeking a refuge from our hectic life in the city and the mountains of Western North Carolina beckoned us. Neal works with many beginning artists here, who seek out his exquisite knowledge of the recording, mixing and mastering process. They need someone who they know will give 500% effort to their project and not just treat them like a revenue source.
There is a studio in downtown Asheville that attracts people because of how the premises look. Shiny objects, you know. However, rumor has it that they try to take someone’s entire budget for a project to be put into just one song! That kind of sickens us here. Our reputation is built on true customer service and quality. We actually work with people’s budgets versus trying to take them for a ride. What music industry in Asheville? No way! There is no professionalism with studios like that in existence.
We operate on a different frequency. Myself, with my virtual assistant and online business management company Merrick Management And Media Services, and Neal, with Merrick Music. Both of us strongly believe that the customer comes first. Our goal with our clients is for them to have a highly personalized experience, with rich rewards and the satisfaction that they are giving themselves a treat of the best service that money can buy.
But this post is about Merrick Music and Neal. We have been told by our clients that nobody has ever had more skill with mixing and mastering their project. Neal is likely one of the most gifted audio engineers in the world and definitely in Asheville, NC. Some clients want to sail through a project, feeding their ego more than their brain. Those are not our kind of clients. Our studio clients work with Neal on every facet, every detail of the song/track/project. Neal could hear a pin drop 10,000 miles away. His attention to detail in mixing and mastering is stunning.
We recently heard an album where it was a train wreck waiting to happen. The recording engineer obviously flunked out of Full Sail or Berklee or wherever he went. Having million dollar equipment does not guarantee that the user is facile with it. A thought to keep in mind for those “shiny object” people. In fact, the mix was so bad that the mastering engineer could really do nothing about it. The whole “you can’t put lipstick on a pig” analogy. Although we are animal lovers and think pigs are beautiful, this doesn’t apply to music 😉
Artists who choose to do their studio recording project with Merrick Music in Asheville, NC will not have to go through this train wreck. Neal involves himself 500% in every detail. So he will mix what he records and master what he mixes. Viola! Success!
Neal has music in his blood. His biological father is Ron Blackwood, from the world famous family The Blackwood Brothers, legends of gospel music. Although Neal has nothing personally to do with gospel music, he respects the enduring talent and success of his family and occasionally works with them on projects. We have recently been discussing future projects with them such as collaborations with Bob Dylan and Charlie Daniels.
We hope that you will come see us in the mountains! If you have questions, just ask!
Author bio: Taryn Merrick is a Professional Mac Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager (OBM). As Principal of Merrick Management And Media Services, she has over 20 years of administrative management experience. Taryn works to promote the Virtual Assistant industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Her style is easy going, yet precise, with emphasis placed on exceeding customer expectations, client communication and satisfaction.
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