Bearsville Studios

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Bearsville Studios was a recording studio at Bearsville, New York just west of Woodstock, New York.

The studio was opened in 1969 by Albert Grossman, manager of Bob Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin and Todd Rundgren.

Most of Grossman's artist roster from Bearsville Records recorded at the studio. Notably including (alphabetically) The Band, Elizabeth Barraclough, Brian Briggs, Paul Butterfield, Bobby Charles, Foghat, The Johnny Average Band (The Falcons), NRBQ, Todd Rundgren and Utopia, Randy VanWarmer, Nicole Wills, Tony Wilson, and Jesse Winchester.

"Bearsvile Sound Studio", as it was commonly called, built a client roster outside of Bearsville Records including (alphabetically) 10cc, Rory Block, Jeff Buckley, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Crack The Sky, The dB's, Fear Factory, Foreigner, Danny Gatton, The Isley Brothers, matt pond PA, New York Dolls, Orleans, Phish, The Psychedelic Furs, Bonnie Raitt, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones, John Sebastian, Patti Smith, Spirit, They Might Be Giants, The Tubes, The Vines, XTC and many others.

The studio did a great deal of demo work; and very little commercial advertising work; catering to its star-powered pedigree. The two-hour drive from New York City, a "retreat" for some artists, combined with residences owned by Albert Grossman, amplified this value.

In-house studio staff production and engineering talent included (alphabetically): George Carnell, George Cowan, Tom Edmonds, Chris Hansen, John Holbrook, Ian Kimmet, Chris Laidlaw, Ken Lonas, Mark McKenna, Ray Niznick, Jim Rooney, John Simon, Todd Vos, and others.

The Speare Road facility contained two studios: Studio B, fitted with a heavily modified Quad-8 in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and Studio A, a much larger and unique acoustic space. Until 1980, the control room for Studio B was the primary mix location. Initially designed by John Storyk, the B control room was modified to replace the quad 8 console with an SSL 6000E to suit changing client sonic beliefs. There were originally quad Westlake/601-style monitors oriented such that each looked like the iconic Bearsvile Bear logo; the LF drivers as "eyes", their ports as "ears", the HF driver as a "nose", and the horn as a "mouth". The Turtle Creek barn was located down the hill off of Ricks Road. A separate Utopia Video facility behind the Bear Cafe became operational in 1981 after it outgrew the logistics operating within Studio A in 1979 and 1980.

The Studio A space was used for rehearsal and pre-production of the 1978 Rolling Stones "Some Girls" tour. In 1982, the Studio A control room was fitted with a custom 40 channel Neve 8088 that had originally been built for The Who.

The studio owned an acclaimed Bosendorfer piano that was tuned and maintained by Dick Cambell.

Adjacent to Woodstock NY, artists recording at Bearsville would frequently perform, often under a pseudonym, at local venues such as the Joyous Lake.

Studio managers included (chronologically) Susan Palmer, Jim Marron, George James, Griff McRee, Ian Kimmet, Mark McKenna, Chris Laidaw and Chris Hansen.

Chief engineers included (chronologically) Ted Rothstein, Michael Guthrie, Eddie Ciletti, Shep Siegel, Ken McKim, and George Cowan.

Bearsville Sound Studio shared the record company logo designed by Milton Glaser.

The studio was converted into a private residence and an adjacent complex, including a 250-seat theater and a second recording house, was offered for sale in 2004 by Sally Grossman, the widow of Albert Grossman, who died in 1986.

In Popular Culture[edit]

In the 2012 horror novel The Devil of Echo Lake by Douglas Wynne, a haunted residential recording studio in the woods of upstate New York named "Echo Lake Studios" is based on Bearsville Studios. The author worked as an assistant engineer at Bearsville in the late 90's and has mentioned the influence in interviews.

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