John Nowland

John Nowland is the noted recording engineer who worked with such artists as Neil Young, Merle Haggard, Dr. Hook Frankie Beverly & Maze, and Jewel, among many others. As a kid playing guitar, young John worked at Peninsula Music Center in San Mateo, California, where he would sell records, stereos and put up posters to promote concerts at the nearby Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms. In school he was the sound tech for his drama department. After attending seminars by record producer David Rubinson and engineer Fred Catero, he was bitten by the “studio bug” and never looked back. He worked as an engineer in many Bay Area studios, including Wally Heider’s, Different Fur, Fantasy and The Automatt and spent three years recording and co producing several bands in Amsterdam. He “staffed” as an engineer/mixer, and studio manager at others including Neil Young’s Broken Arrow Ranch Studio, and Merle Haggard’s Talley Studio, which he largely designed, outfitted and brought to completion. Albums there included Haggard’s “Chill Factor”, “5:01 Blues” and Haggard/Nelson’s "Seashores Of Old Mexico.” John took pride in the relationships he developed with musicians and the trust they had in him to create the sound they were working for in their recordings. He was an engineer and mixer on Jewel’s mulit-platinum debut album, and mixed the first Bonaroo Concert DVD and John Haitt “Live At The Franklin” DVD. As an archivist for Neil Young, John spent 25 years restoring, digitizing and storing all of Neil’s recordings, as well as much of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s various albums. Along the way, he served as engineer/mixer on several of Young’s projects including the album Harvest Moon, concert film “Silver And Gold”, “Friends And Relatives, Live At Red Rocks” DVD, and archival releases “Roxy” and Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Fillmore East”.

Interview Date:
May 7, 2021
Job Title:
Recording Engineer

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