By PHYL NEWBECK
Lane Gibson spent almost four decades as a professional musician.
“I always enjoyed being in the recording studio,” he said. “I found that environment exciting and fascinating and in the back of my mind was a wish to be morphed into that end of the business.”
Shortly after Charles Eller started his eponymous recording studio in a Charlotte farmhouse, he hired Gibson to assist him. A part-time position turned full-time and in 2009, Gibson bought the studio and renamed it Lane Gibson Recording and Mastering.
Roughly 80 percent of Gibson’s clientele is from Vermont and New York, but he has clients from Massachusetts, North Carolina, Indiana and Belgium.
Through Jacob Edgar who runs the Charlotte-based Cumbancha record label, Gibson has had the opportunity to work with recording artists from across the globe, including Africa and Israel.
Some notable local clients include Grace Potter, Anais Mitchell, Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
Gibson doesn’t lean towards any specific musical genre, although the studio specializes in acoustic-based instruments and folk, jazz, pop, rock, bluegrass and country. The 68-year-old steers away from rap, hip-hop and electronica.
Gibson was in fourth grade when he started playing piano. With the advent of the Beatles and rock ‘n’ roll, he switched to guitar but found there was a glut of guitar players. He decided to return to his roots.
“Keyboardists were in demand because there were [fewer] of us,” he said. “I did play guitar when it was needed for a particular song.”
From 1968 to 1982, Gibson toured with Davis Brothers Garage. The band signed a recording contract with Charisma Records and recorded a hit single, “Lookin’ for the Money.”
Gibson later played with a popular local wedding and club band called Downpour. These days, he is part of the Gibson Family Band, which includes two brothers, a son and a son-in-law.
Gibson’s studio has an impressive array of gear, including a wide variety of keyboards such as a classic Hammond B3 and a 7-and-a-half-foot grand piano. “Clients will ask about particular keyboards,” he said, “so it’s a calling card.”
The grand piano is often used by voice coaches and pianists working on audition tapes. Gibson also has an extensive collection of microphones. He explained that ribbon microphones, which were popular in the 30s, 40s and 50s are often used for harsh or edgy instruments; condenser microphones have more clarity at high frequencies and are more suitable for vocals; and dynamic microphones are usually used on stage and are able to reject feedback.
“Each microphone is good for a different thing and sometimes you have to try three or four on the same source to find the best sound,” he said. “You can never have too many microphones.”
Twenty-five years in the business has not diminished Gibson’s love of the studio.
“I really love helping people record their music and realize their dream,” he said. “That’s my calling and I think I do it well. Recording can be a difficult and sometimes stressful process but 98 percent of the time it’s a great experience.”