Bil VornDick passes

Noted Nashville recording engineer, producer, and studio owner Bil VornDick died on Tuesday, July 5 after a very short battle with cancer. Bil had received his diagnosis only a few days before he passed at 72 years of age.

It isn’t a stretch to say that he was involved in some of the most important bluegrass albums of the past 30 years, either as engineer, producer, or mixing engineer. Bil produced Alison Krauss’ first two albums, as well as multiple projects for IIIrd Tyme Out and Claire Lynch, plus records for Rhonda Vincent, The Price Sisters, Jim Lauderdale, The Hillbenders, Ralph Stanley, Peter Rowan, and Vassar Clements.

On the technical side, he has credits for work with Mike Marshall, New Grass Revival, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Doc Watson, Mike Snider, Hazel Dickens, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Russ Barenberg, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Béla Fleck, Nashville Bluegrass Band, David Parmley, Sally VanMeter, Tim O’Brien, John McEuen, Stuart Duncan, Lynn Morris, Del McCoury, Bluegrass Album Band, Ronnie Bowman, Alison Brown, Dan Tyminski, Wildfire, Rickie Simpkins, Aubrey Haynie, Bryan Sutton, David Petersen, Earls of Leicester, and many of the artists listed above. Not to mention the dozens of country music recordings with which he was involved.

He both produced and engineered the recent album from The Dillards, Old Road New Again, a star-studded album with Rodney Dillard and his many friends, which may be known as Bil’s final major project.

VornDick was also a songwriter whose material had been recorded by a number of bluegrass and country artists.

Bil was a friend to every musician and artist, and was dedicated to delivering completely transparent acoustic tone, the basis of his reputation in acoustic music. The number of people singing his praises at his passing is quite profound. He was also a truly kind, friendly, and generous person who fought hard for his clients with labels and the media.

We will have a much more detailed overview of his work in the next few days, but we couldn’t let Bil’s passing go unremarked. He was a giant in our music.

R.I.P., Bil VornDick.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.