Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 10:32AM

KEF's Masters of Sound program hit Atlanta last week for the second in what's becoming a popular and entertaining series. 

Masters of Sound Atlanta featured renowned producer and recording engineer Ken Scott with a specialKEF Masters of Sound performance by American folk music legends Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Although no one mentioned in this paragraph really needs an introduction, here's a bit of background:

Ken Scott began his career at EMI (which became Abbey Road) studios in London as a teenager working in the tape library. He worked his way up to engineer and his recording credits include work with the Beatles, Procol Harum, Elton John, the Jeff Beck Group and Pink Floyd, among many others. Ken sat in the producer's chair on iconic records by David Bowie, Supertramp, Devo, Kansas, and Missing Persons, among others. Scott is also highly regarded for his groundbreaking jazz-fusion work with Billy Cobham, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Stanley Clarke. Known for his attention to detail and the crispness of the sounds he engineered, 1974's Crime of the Century by Supertramp is still considered one of the best sounding pop/rock records ever recorded.

Having already been nominated for a Grammy in 1997 for Revival, Welch rose to wider prominence with her work on the 2000 soundtrack for the film O Brother Where Art Thou? Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings have worked together since 1992, collaborating on albums by Welch and Rawlings' band the David Rawlings Machine. The list of artists Welch and Rawlings have worked with reads like a veritable who's who of relevant American artists, including Emmylou Harris, Robyn Hitchcock, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Ani DiFranco, Alison Krauss, and The Decemberists, among many more.

KEF Masters of Sound

As I write this, five full days after hearing Welch and Rawlings play an amazingly intimate set, I still have goose bumps. This humble audio blogger has heard more than my fair share of guitarists over the years, and I can say without any sense of hyperbole at all that David Rawlings is simply the finest and most soul-stirring guitar player I have heard. In fact, all other guitar players can pretty much give it up now because Rawlings has won. Do yourself a favor and give these folks a listen.

True to KEF's mission to bring the very best quality in sound reproduction to music lovers and audio enthusiasts alike, our Masters of Sound program is all about spreading the word, and sharing the belief, that music is important. The more I explore the true meaning behind it all the more convinced I am that our listening experiences may even be vital. 

Hosted by Kemela Contemporary Audio, a KEF dealer in Atlanta, and the British Consulate in Atlanta, the event was held on a rare Atlanta summer evening that was crisp, clear and cool (by Atlanta standards). Approximately 80 guests arrived at the residence of British Consul-General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford around 7:00PM for hors d'eouvres and cocktails. Pilmore-Bedford welcomed the assembled guests and Welch and Rawlings took the stage (or a corner of the living room as it were), performing a 30 minute set that was a concise and beautiful retrospective of their careers to date.

For the technical-minded among us, we ran their vocal and instrument mics into a commercial mixerKEF Masters of Sound which we outputted to a Parasound J1/J2 pre-amp monoblock set and then into our Blade speakers. To be able to listen directly to Welch and Rawlings' vocals and intruments and then turn attention to the output of the Blades and hear pretty much exactly the same thing was an audio-geek's sheer delight.

(R) Jack Sharkey from KEF America, welcoming the evening's attendees.

Ken Scott then took the audience on an amazing journey of musical evolution from the earliest recordings of Enrico Caruso on up to what we are listening to today. Along the way he made stops with anecdotes and recorded samples at different points of his amazing career. I was in the unique position to be able to see the audience as they listened to Scott, and the smiles and nods of absolute affirmation to what he was saying was an awful lot of fun to witness. We were truly in the midst of a good old Southern-style Audio Revival meeting!

KEF would like to offer their sincere thanks to Consul-General and Mrs. Pilmore-Bedford for graciously hosting us, the staff of the Consulate, and the staff at Kemela, for helping us put together an absolutely amazing event. Ken Scott, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings certainly made this a night worth remembering for a long time, and being in the presence of true Masters of Sound was really an honor. A great event only becomes great with the right audience and the folks who joined us last Wednesday were simply a fantastic group of people to spend an evening with. Stay tuned for more Masters of Sound events, and if you'd like more information or would like to be a part of our next event, drop us a line. 

KEF Masters of Sound

 KEF Master of Sound Atlanta hosts Consul-General and Mrs. Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford.

KEF Masters of Sound

Consul-General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford welcomes our guests.

KEF Masters of Sound

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings truly represented what Masters of Sound is all about.

KEF Masters of Sound

Performing Six White Horses from Welch's stunning 2011 album The Harrow and the Harvest, replete with hambone and stomp.

KEF Masters of Sound

Ken Scott shares his amazing journey of music and technology.

KEF Masters of Sound

Signing books during the reception after the program.

KEF Masters of Sound

KEF Sales Manager Tom Rodgers, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings and KEF's Jack Sharkey.

KEF Masters of Sound

John Driskell-Hopkins from the Zac Brown Band with Jennifer Driskell-Hopkins (l) and Lisa Love, Director of Music Marketing and Development from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (r).

KEF Masters of Sound

Patterson Hood (DriveBy Truckers) and Rebecca Hood. 

KEF Masters of Sound

Indeed.

 

Jack Sharkey for KEF America