The Nashville Chapter of the Audio Engineering Society honors Stan Dacus, Christian Haselau, Hugh Hickerson, David McKinley, Glenn Meadows, and Billy Sherrill with the AES Nashville Lifetime Achievement Award, created to celebrate Nashville’s pioneers and masters in the audio field.
Held on June 2, 2019, this installment of the annual event is led by AES vice president Mike Porter and includes remarks from AES Nashville chairman Barry Cardinael.
The first presentation honors Christian Haseleu, a longtime educator at Middle Tennessee State University and the founder and director of the MTSU Center for Recording Arts and Sciences.
Hugh Hickerson explains how his childhood interest in electronics led to a career in audio engineering, which included working for WSM-FM, Opryland Productions, and TNN: The Nashville Network. His innovations include implementing timecode into the engineering process to improve synching ability.
The late Stan Dacus (1950 – 2018), also known as “Quack,” is remembered for his roles in broadcast and location engineering. In a video, he talks about his work with the Gatlin Brothers and working in the mobile sound truck for numerous live events and awards shows. His widow, Tracie Dacus, accepts the award.
In a video message, David McKinley shares an anecdote about waiting on the front steps of East Nashville’s Woodland Studios in 1971 hoping for—and later accepting—a job, even though he had no audio experience. With that lucky break, he went on to serve as the studio’s chief engineer. Later, he freelanced for CBS-TV game shows in Los Angeles, and then for Starday Studios, where he engineered sessions and remastered the catalog of King Records. He accepts the award in person with comedic flair.
Glenn Meadows, who grew up on Long Island, New York, is saluted for his long career in mastering. After foundational experiences in Atlanta, he relocated to Nashville to help open a new studio, but soon accepted a job at Masterfonics, a studio that stayed on the cutting edge of digital technology. Meadows later took ownership of the studio. He shares his theory about engineering and how it gave the studio a “sonic edge.”
To close the event, engineer Billy Sherrill (not to be confused with the producer Billy Sherrill) explains how recording an album with his band in Kentucky got him interested in studio work. Sherrill described how he began his career at SoundShop, followed by sessions with Larry Butler. That partnership yielded major hits for Kenny Rogers, including “Lucille” and “The Gambler.” Video testimonials with producers Ron Chancey and Blake Chancey are shown (Sherrill mastered the Dixie Chicks album “Fly” for the latter). He gives advice to the next generation of engineers, saying, “Just learn as much as you can.”
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