Some of the iconic music recording studios are located in and around Woodstock, NY.
The name Woodstock is synonymous with music and the influence it has on culture. While credit rightfully goes to the creative artists or nostalgia is focused on blockbuster festivals it’s important to remember that many more are involved. Music comprises its own “Art World”, and that world would not exist without recording studios, soundstages, and the countless people responsible for production. For much of the music we know and love, much of the production work happened in music recording studios in Woodstock NY.
From the mountaintop that overlooks Woodstock and the Ashokan Reservoir, some of the most world-renowned musicians have recorded at the Allaire Studios. The complex develop by Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary manager Albert Grossman would include the Bearsville Theater where some artists played, the Turtle Creek Barn and Apartments where some artists lived, and the Bearsville Studios where they created. Dylan would also record and for a time live in the studio-cum-home rented by The Band’s Rick Danko, affectionately known as Big Pink.
Read below for further information on these and other Woodstock recording studios to find out more about where the music we all know and love was made.
ALLAIRE STUDIOS, SHOKAN:
Allaire Studios is located a short 8 miles west of Woodstock. The residential studio is situated at the mountaintop estate Glen Tonche. It offers full-time technical support, state-of-the-art sound rooms and an on-site chef. The Great Hall room features a view of the Catskill Mountains and the Ashokan Reservoir. There are five other recording rooms, including The Neve Room, a wall-less studio where the performance area and control room are combined. Norah Jones recorded her debut album, “Come Away with Me,” in The Neve Room. Levon Helm and Garth Hudson joined Jones at The Neve Room while recording her “Feels Like Home.” Country music star Tim McGraw recorded the title song from his album “Live Like You Were Dying,” at The Great Hall. Additionally, David Bowie, Jason Mraz, Grizzly Bear, and many others have releases recorded and/or mixed at Allaire.
Contact info: Allaire Studios, 486 Pitcairn Road, Shokan, NY 12481; (845)657-6553https://facebook.com/allairestudios/
APPLEHEAD STUDIO, WOODSTOCK:
Applehead is a large barn studio in Woodstock, where artists like Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Jesse Gress, and King Crimson recorded. In fact, Applehead just completed a new barn addition when King Crimson recorded their 1994 “Vrooom” sessions.
Contact info: Applehead Recording & Production, PO Box 634, Bearsville, NY 12409; (845) 679-6490; http://appleheadrecording.com
BEARSVILLE STUDIOS, BEARSVILLE:
Less than five minutes from downtown Woodstock, Bearsville Studios began its rich recording history in 1970, when music industry giant Albert B. Grossman planned and financed the building of the studio. The original Bearsville Studios were comprised of two rooms: A and B. Bearsville Studios is one of the few purely analog recording studios left. Originally viewed as the personal studio for The Band, over its more than 30-year history, it has quickly became one of the most popular recording studios for many well-known artists. In addition to the studio, Bearsville also offers Turtle Creek Barn and Apartments for a more private recording experience. The converted barn is a separate studio building.
Some well known — and some not so well known — albums were recorded at Bearsville Studios, including The Isley Brother’s “Funky Family”; The Rolling Stones’ May 1978 tour rehearsal 4-disc collection, “The Complete Woodstock Tapes”; Natalie Merchant’s , “Tigerlily”; Joe Jackson’s 1982 “Blaze of Glory”. Others notables like R.E.M. Phish, The Dave Matthews Band, Cassandra Wilson, Patti Smith , Slick Rick , Foreigner, The Pretenders, Jeff Buckley Blues Traveler , and Utopia, are just a few of the hundreds who have recorded at Bearsville.
Utopia’s lead guitarist and lead vocalist, Todd Rundgren , became an in-house producer and engineer for Grossman’s studio and label, Bearsville Records. He did mixing and engineering for The Band’s 1970 album “Stage Fright” . Rundgren would go on to open Utopia Video Studios, a multi-million dollar cutting-edge video production enterprise, in 1979 as part of the Bearsville empire. A notable early project was called “The Planets,” commissioned by RCA as the first demonstration software for their new videodisc format.
Contact info: Bearsville Studios, P.O. Box 135, Bearsville, NY 12409; (845) 679-8900; http://www.bearsvillestudios.com
THE BIG PINK, WEST SAUGERTIES:
“Big Pink” was the name given to The Band’s Rick Danko’s rented house in West Saugerties, a hamlet just a few miles Northeast of Woodstock. After Bob Dylan’s serious injury in a motorcycle accident in 1966, The Hawks, along with Levon Helm, moved to the Woodstock area and collaborated from Big Pink. Their efforts were bootlegged as “Great White Wonder” in 1967, and officially released in July 1975 as the “The Basement Tapes.” In 1968 The Hawks officially changed their name to The Band, and released “Music from Big Pink” as their debut album.
Contact info: The Big Pink (Basement) 56 Parnassus Ln, Saugerties, NY 12477 http://bigpinkbasement.com/index.shtml
DREAMLAND RECORDING STUDIO, WEST HURLEY:
Dreamland Recording Studio is a 19th-century country church located in West Hurley on old Route 28. It has played host to artists like the B-52s, Joe Jackson , Ron Sexsmith, 10,000 Maniacs Pat Metheny, and Herbie Hancock. You’ll find long-time Woodstock residents like Jack DeJohnette, who ranks among the jazz world’s greatest drummers, recording there too. The Push Star’s bassist/keyboard player, Dan McLoughlin, worked as an engineer at Dreamland before joining fellow band members Chris Trapper and Ryan McMillan. Other Woodstock artists, such as The Band, John Hall, NRBQ , John Sebastian, and Jules Shear, have all laid down tracks at the studio too.
Dreamland was closed in 2005 by owner Joel Bluestein. However, in 2008, drummers Jerry Marotta and Pete Caigan joined Bluestein to resurrect the once-thriving studio. The stage was set for future artists to produce quality, sound recordings using Dreamland’s spacious area. The studio provides affordable, quality service. This includes a revised fee schedule with services “a la carte,” allowing management to work within an artists’ budget.
Contact info: Dreamland Recording Studio, Old Route 28, West Hurley, NY; (845) 338-7151 https://www.dreamlandrecording.com/
FLYMAX STUDIO, WOODSTOCK:
Flymax Studio is owned/operated by engineer, producer and drummer Pete Caigan. Caigan performed as a drummer for several bands in the 1990s and early 2000s and engineered for clients Sarah McLachlan, Bad Brains , Lil Jon, and others. Flymax offers recording, voiceover, mixing, production, editing and more.
Contact info: Flymax Studio, P.O. Box 132, Woodstock, NY 12498; (845) 679-6611; http://www.flymaxstudio.com
GROUSE HOUSE STUDIO , SAUGERTIES:
The Grouse House Studio is owned and operated by musician/engineer Gilbert Hetherwick. Grouse House features two studio rooms. One is a medium-sized room, suited for small sessions. The other is a “singer-songwriter” room, for intimate sessions, as well as editing and mastering capabilities. The control room is equipped with “4 Avalon pre-amps. It also boasts 4 channels of Apogee A to D 24/96 converters using Pro-Tools HD.” Hetherwick’s engineering services are available, if needed, and accommodations are located on the property.
Contact info: Grouse House Studio, 21 Adrienne Lane, Saugerties, NY 12477; (845) 246-1852; http://www.grouse-house.com
JERSVILLE STUDIOS, WEST HURLEY:
Located just outside Woodstock in West Hurley, Jersville Studios is owned and operated by Jerry Marotta. Marotta is an accomplished drummer, singer, arranger and producer, and is best known for his collaboration with Peter Gabriel . He has also toured with Orleans, Hall and Oates, The Indigo Girls, Tears for Fears, Paul McCartney, Suzanne Vega, Elvis Costello, and many others.
Contact info: Old Route 28, West Hurley, NY; (845) 338-7151; http://www.jerrymarotta.com
THE LOOP POOL, BEARSVILLE:
Created by David Torn, The Loop Pool is a small recording studio operated in Bearsville. Tony Levin produced and recorded several albums at The Loop Pool, including “Waters of Eden,” featuring Woodstockers Pete Levin, Jerry Marotta and David Sancious, and “Blue Nights.”
MAKE BELIEVE BALLROOM, WEST SHOKAN:
Opened in 1991 by recording engineer Tom Mark, Make Believe Ballroom is a 24-track analog studio. Robbie Dupree — in collaboration with fellow Woodstockers David Sancious, Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Jim Weider, Larry Hoppen, John Hall and others — recorded “Walking on Water” at Make Believe. “Upper Extremities,” produced by Levin, was recorded and mixed at this studio. It is believed that Artie Traum produces the majority of his Homespun Records and Tapes at Make Believe.
Contact info: Make Believe Ballroom, 250 Brodhead Road, West Shokan 12494; (845) 657-6007; http://mbballroom.com
MIDNIGHT MODULATION, SAUGERTIES:
Located in Saugerties, Midnight Modulation is owned and managed by Michael Bitterman. With its large recording area deep in the woods, this recording studio has served many Woodstock artists well. “Woodstock: Moods and Moments” and “A Woodstock Sampler,” both compilations of Woodstock artists, were recorded here.
Contact info: Midnight Modulation, 29 Paradise Way, Saugerties, NY 12477; (845) 246-4761; http://www.midmod.com
NEVESSA PRODUCTION, SAUGERTIES:
Nevessa Production is a residential recording facility in Saugerties that offers studio and remote recording. In conjunction with other media, Nevessa is credited with helping to mix, broadcast or distribute numerous major music works, including Utopia’s 1982 concert simulcast on cable TV and radio. The studio also is credited with Todd Rundgren’s and Utopia’s performance from The Chance in Poughkeepsie, along with NRBQ’s 1999 performance from the Bowery Ballroom.
Contact info: Nevessa Production, One Artist Road, Saugerties, NY 12477; (845) 679-8848; http://www.nevessa.com
NRS RECORDING STUDIOS, CATSKILL:
NRS Studios is owned and operated by Scott Petito, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and founding member of The Fugs. Some of the artists who have recorded at NRS include The Band, The Fugs, Orleans, The Dolphins, Mercury Rev, Tom Pacheco, Baird Hersey & PRANA, and Rick Danko. Danko recorded his last studio album, “Times Like These,” at NRS.
Contact info: NRS Recording Studios, Route 34, Catskill, NY 12414; (518)943-0085; http://www.scottpetitoproductions.com
SONART RECORDING STUDIO, MOUNT TREMPER:
Sonart Recording Studio is a state-of-the-art digital and analog studio owned and operated by Ken Lovelett. Opened in 2000, Sonart offers a variety of equipment and rooms and caters to the likes of local Woodstockers bassist Tony Levin, guitarist Mike DiMicco and keyboardist Garth Hudson, original member of The Band.
Contact info: Sonart Recording Studio, Box 254, Mount Tremper, NY 12457; (845) 688-5299; http://www.sonartrecordingstudio.com