At first glance Eddie Gore is a Nashville record producer, but first glances can sometimes be ambiguous. Dig a bit into this music industry veteran’s background and you’ll find a lot more. Follow that up with a conversation with him, and you’ll know that this guy is no simple record producer. As Eddie describes it—he is a “producer and artist developer.” Underneath that is even more. He is also an engineer, arranger, musician and studio owner. After the conversation is over, you may even be convinced that he may also be a psychologist, which is perfect for this line of work!
Eddie Gore runs Insomnia Studio, located on 17th Avenue in the heart of Music Row. His partner and co-owner is none other than the legendary Steve Cropper-- the Hall of Fame guitarist and songwriter from Memphis. Cropper moved to Nashville in 1993. After meeting Eddie at a party and being impressed by his knowledge, background and enthusiasm, he tapped Eddie to design and build their studio that sits next to the ASCAP building.
Eddie’s background includes volumes of experience that has helped shape his ears. In addition to working alongside Steve Cropper, he also spent years working with accomplished producer Kyle Lehning. Kyle was at the helm when England Dan and John Ford Coley recorded a string of hits in the 1970s. Later, Kyle was at the controls for all of those great hits from Randy Travis. Lehning and Eddie teamed up for several projects, including recordings from the late Shel Silverstein, who was known for his children’s books among other works.
So what does Eddie do when an artist enlists his guidance? “I find out where their heart and soul is and then we go produce it,” said Gore. Eddie has a different attitude about music than many of folks involved in the Nashville music machine. “You know honestly sometimes in Nashville people think that ‘good enough’ will get you by. I don’t buy that. I want to find out where an artist’s heart and soul is—and then we can go produce that.”
Gore, a Nashville native, graduated from Belmont with a Music Business degree in 1987. As far as music goes—he’s virtually done it all. He’s been playing music all his life, from a very young age. And one of his first jobs in the business was doing music transcription for Copyright Music, Inc. You get the sense that he has listened to every record ever made, and now he rolls that back to help artists either start or reinvigorate their careers. Some of the artists Eddie’s worked with lately include Steve Cropper, Aaron Goodvin, Joanne Janzen, Keb Mo, Jonathan Singleton and Sara Petite.
Eddie believes that if the producer is doing their job correctly, then the end result should be a very personal product that the artist creates. “I’ve always gravitated to music that people can listen to and get to know that artist almost immediately,” said Gore. “One of those artists is Lucinda Williams, also Lori McKenna. All you need to do is put a couple of their songs on, and you feel like you know them. I think that’s what music is supposed to be.”
Music is one of the most competitive fields that you can try, but if you come see Eddie, chances are he’s not going to let you try to be the next Taylor Swift or Kenny Chesney or anyone else for that matter.
“I just spoke to a group of young artists and musicians at an NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) function. I told them not to go out there trying to sound like Joe Nichols, thinking that Joe might record it. I told them to be true to themselves and chances are it will be more special. I said to one bright student—just remember there is only one of you—create something that’s going to jump off the A&R guy’s desk!”
When asked if most of the crowd got what he was talking about, Gore smiled. “About 10%...but that’s perfect. I’d worry if all of them got it!”