Monday, December 3, 2012

In Studio: Kevin Cubbins

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Kevin Cubbins [left] hanging with Stax legend Steve Cropper in New York City.
  • Kevin Cubbins [left] hanging with Stax legend Steve Cropper in New York City.
Kevin Cubbins’ name appears frequently in Flyer music articles. He’s not the face of any band, and he doesn’t have a new album coming out; but he works behind the scenes of Memphis music like few others.

His main job, for nine years, is recording engineer for Beale Street Caravan, Sid Selvidge’s NPR-syndicated blues radio show — now in its 16th season. BSC was just recognized by ASCAP with the Deems Taylor Award for broadcast excellence.

Cubbins logs hours editing and mixing the radio show, drawing on experience gained at Ardent Studios and Young Avenue Sound.

“When you’re recording B.B., Buddy Guy, guys like Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin — coming from the music-nerd angle — it’s THOSE guys. Working the studios around Memphis, you find yourself in situations where you are recording Big Jack Johnson, Pinetop Perkins, and you ask yourself, how did I get here? You’re recording the source.”

His latest production work is with Neil Bartlett’s Hi Electric. They recently released an album and more recently pursued deals to license music for advertising, film, and television. The band produced a song for a competition sponsored by Coca-Cola. That song was a finalist for the national campaign. Another song competed for a liquor-branding campaign.

“The dollars are in licensing revenue. The dynamic has monumentally shifted, because you can license independent music cheaper. It’s so much cheaper without having to go through the rigmarole of [dealing with major labels]. Independent artists have the tools at their fingertips. The content explosion is just phenomenal,” Cubbins says.

Cubbins is certainly a catalyst for that explosion’s Memphis component. His credits include the Pawtuckets, John Paul Keith’s One Four Fives, Viva L’American Deathray Music, the Lost Sounds, Bob Frank, Lucero, and Snowglobe.

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