14 July 2022

Bil VornDick

More sad news, as we learn of the death on Tuesday 5 July of Bil VornDick (right), whom John Lawless on Bluegrass Today (BT) calls 'a giant in our music'. The BIB is fortunate to have the following feature by Richard Thompson, one of the core BT contributors.

Bil VornDick, the legendary Grammy award-winning producer, recording engineer, songwriter, and musician, passed away on 5 July 2022, just a few days after learning that he had cancer. He was 72 years old.

Originally from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., he took an interest in songwriting and recording processes from an early age. Eventually, persuaded by mentor Chet Atkins, VornDick moved to Music City, having already signed as a songwriter to Nashville’s fabled Cedarwood Music publishing company. Once there he enrolled for a new music business programme at Belmont College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1979.

His studio career began when working for Marty Robbins, and subsequently VornDick became the chief engineer at Stargem Studio, the founder of The Music Shop, and the owner of Music Row Audio and Mountainside Music Group Productions. He worked on over 600 sessions in a variety of roles, recording a considerable array of musicians across many genres, with bluegrass prominent among them. VornDick collaborated with a few Irish acts, including:
  • Carmel Sheerin & the Ravens, Here with you (Auld SheBeen Music, 2008)
  • Maura O'Connell, Just in time (Polydor/ Ogham 831184-1, 1986); Western highway (Raglan Records RGCD 9, 1987); Helpless heart (Warner Bros. Records 9 26016-2, 1989); Blue is the color of hope (Warner Bros. 9362450632, 1992); Stories (Hannibal Records HNBC 1389, 1995); and Don't I know (Sugar Hill Records SUG-CD-3979, 2004).
BIB editor's note: The scale of Bil VornDick's contribution is indicated by the discography section of his website.

© Richard Hawkins



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