Hill filled with sounds of music

Published 11:30 pm Monday, February 10, 2014

Lenny Hill inside his garage turned recording studio in Landrum. (photo by Linda List)

Lenny Hill inside his garage turned recording studio in Landrum. (photo by Linda List)

Brookwood Drive in Landrum is alive with the sounds of music.

Hillsound, a complete 400–square–foot recording studio built by Lenny Hill, is bringing the music world to Landrum.

Hill graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, but his love of music began as a young boy as he listened to rock and roll bands like Led Zeppelin.

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During high school in Wheeling, West Virginia, he befriended a student from Spain, who played Flamenco guitar, and a whole new world of sound opened up for him. Attending his first bluegrass festival, he was surprised when the singers from the festival often joined the campers at night for sing-alongs around the campfires.

Feeling at ease in this family-friendly environment, Hill knew that bluegrass would become his music home. He remembers long hours spent in his bedroom perfecting his skills on his fiddle.

Entering Berklee, the emphasis was on jazz and his love of bluegrass presented a clash of cultures. Initially he resisted the pressure to switch to a jazz sound but eventually fell in with it. Jazz became the center of his music world. Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s he was playing nightly in jazz bands in the flourishing Greenville/Spartanburg music scene. By 2000, the music scene was cooling down. Hill realized he would need to find other means to supplement his income. He dreamed of building a large recording studio.

“But,” he sighed, “Reality set in and I chickened out. I downsized my dream and converted my garage into a full scale studio.”

Entering his studio, the first thing to grab attention is an impressive large format recording console, acquired from Hollywood, where it mixed the sound for movies, “Gladiator” and “Matrix II” among them. Many studios have opted to use only computers but they can’t deliver the sound quality that Hill produces using his console.

Smiling, Hill said, “This keeps the creativity in my hands, not the computers.”

Amidst all the equipment, several guitars line one wall. He found his favorite guitar, a D’Aquisto, on ebay, one of those impulsive late night purchases that has you wondering the next day “what got into me,” but over time gave no regrets.

Hill believes the relationship he develops with the musicians is as valuable as the equipment. Most important is the trust they can place in him to produce the best performance possible, creating that magical moment.

One magical moment involved a bride wanting to sing at her own wedding. By pre-recording her music, she became both bride and songstress on her big day.

Hill’s expertise includes many diverse music styles including jazz, country, Latin, gospel, and acoustic. Hillsound fulfills any performers’ recording needs providing session musicians, songwriters, vocalists, producers, and graphic designers.

With technology, musicians from all over the world can come to Landrum. Music can be sent to a company like DropBox, which in turn sends it to Hill, to be produced as a recording.

Contact Hill at llhill806@aol.com or visit hillsoundrecording.com.