Oftentimes, the musician, whether they are a pop singer, metal drummer, or blues guitarist, usually gets most if not all of the recognition for performances or albums. However, there is a whole team of behind the scenes heroes that, without their talents and skills, a project probably would not be possible. In the studio, this unsung hero is in most cases, the producer. The saying that behind any great musician is a great producer rings true, even in the case of Joe Bonamassa and his invaluable producer, Kevin Shirley.
Kevin Shirley is a legend in his line of work and is still hailed as one of the best music producers of any genre in the industry. Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, Shirley moved to Australia where he went to school for composition. After working in various recording studios, he had a change of heart and realized that he was passionate about helping musicians craft the sound they had in their heads rather than composing music.
After working with many popular bands in his home town and Australia, Shirley moved to the US. He had a few gigs at first, but nothing that really stuck, and he soon realized that he might have to return back home. Then, in the late 80’s he got an opportunity to work with the Canadian power trio Rush, and his course was set.
Since then, he has become the principle producer for Iron Maiden (since 2000) and of course Joe Bonamassa (since 2006). Kevin “The Caveman” has been an integral part of Joe’s sound, working close with the artist to get what is in his head and make it a reality on an album.
Shirley proves that a great producer is not tied to one specific genre. They just need to be invested in the quality of the music and the artist as a person. Thank you Kevin, for all of your hard work and making Joe’s albums sound amazing!