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Ira Blonder
Franklin, TN, United States
Ira Blonder is the Managing Partner of Sound Kitchen Studios (www.soundkitchen.com)and The Blonder Group, LLC (www.blondergroup.com)
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sound Kitchen Featured in the new Nashville Economic Development Guide pages 28-29.

Check out pages 28-29 for our latest press in the Nashville Economic Development Guide:
Download the full Nashville Economic Development Guide here

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wine Event To Help Sick Kids Get Care

Wine, music and food will help children whose commercial health insurance doesn’t cover all the costs of the medical treatments, services or equipment.

Even though the beneficiary of the third annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction is the nonprofit UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation, attendees for the casual evening, planned for Thursday in Franklin’s Sound Kitchen, don’t have to be affiliated with the health insurance company.

Partygoers need only bring their ability to have a good time and a desire to assist kids in need to the event 6:30-9:30 p.m. at 112 Seaboard Lane.

“The more awareness we build, the more we drive people to come out and the more kids we can help,” said Greg Reidy, CEO of the mid-South market at UnitedHealthcare.

In the past two years, the event was at Arrington Vineyards. This year, ONEHOPE Wine, a wine label produced in partnership with Rob Mondavi Jr. out of Napa, Calif., will be offering the tastings and wine sales. In all, 50 percent of profits from wines sold go the to winemaker’s nonprofit partner. For instance, chardonnay sales benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, while sparkling wine supports a childhood hunger charity. The event organizer’s charity of choice, the Children’s Foundation in this case, receives 15 percent of all wine sales.

“With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, this is a good opportunity to stock up on wines you might want to serve while donating to a good cause at the same time,” said UnitedHealthcare’s Tennessee Foundation Coordinator Betsy Wood.

The event also features live music by Karen Staley, food by The Chef & I and a silent auction. A family who benefited from a UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grant also will speak, along with pediatrician Dr. Joel Bradley.

Begun in 1999, UnitedHealthcare received the nonprofit through a company acquisition. The Children’s Foundation was expanded to a national program in 2006. The program has provided more than $15 million in medical assistance to about 5,000 children.

To apply for help, parents, relatives or guardians of the children should visit www.uhccf.org to fill out and submit the online form. The average grant awarded is up to $3,000, with an annual maximum of $5,000 for an individual child each year.

Top conditions covered by grants awarded last year were autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, diabetes, hearing loss and speech delays. Top treatments included applied behavioral therapy, durable medical equipment, hearing aids, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and surgeries.

The child in need must be 16 years old or younger and have commercial insurance, which does not have to be UnitedHealthcare.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Highlighting Some of Tennessee’s Music Businesses for ‘Melody Month’

Tennessee Music Business

Corporate team building exercises have evolved beyond obstacle courses and paintball fights.

At The Sound Kitchen, co-workers can bond during a day of composing and performing original songs in a professional recording studio.

“It’s important to note, our corporate team building exercises don’t require the participants to have any musical experience to participate,” said Ira Blonder, a managing general partner at The Sound Kitchen.

“In fact, our programs are specifically tailored to help the participants find the creative spirit within. So, through the use of music, we gently press the teams to think outside of their comfort zones, forcing them to rely on each other to accomplish the desired company goals. Furthermore, our sessions force each team to bond together, helping team members further develop their relationships, which last long after their time at Sound Kitchen Studios,” stated Blonder.

The Sound Kitchen doesn't just cater to corporate types, however. Its studios, housed in a nondescript building to discourage gawkers and autograph seekers, are often used by well-known artists of various musical genres such as Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Sir Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, RUSH, Chicago and Dolly Parton – just to name a few.

The Franklin-based business also contributes to a number of different charities, including We Are Building Lives, an organization for homeless veterans that Blonder co-founded.

The Sound Kitchen is one of the companies featured in this month’s Tennessee Business Spotlight, a regular feature on the Secretary of State’s web site. In honor of the state’s many music-related businesses, September’s theme is “Melody Month.”

Tennessee Business Spotlight showcases some of the state’s businesses that create jobs, produce quality products and give back to their communities.

In addition to The Sound Kitchen, other businesses featured this month are:
  •     Amro Music Stores, Inc. in Memphis
  •     Curb Records, Inc. in Nashville
  •     Down Home, Inc. in Johnson City
  •     Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge
“From blues to rock to country to bluegrass and more, Tennessee is home to a thriving music industry,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “These companies featured this month are just a few members of this distinguished group of businesses that play a vital role in our economy.”

People who visit the Tennessee Business Spotlight web page can learn about the selected companies’ goods and services, operations, employment figures, photos and links to social media and web sites that can provide additional information. To visit Tennessee Business Spotlight, go to www.spotlight.tnsos.net

To nominate a company to be featured in Tennessee Business Spotlight, please visit the web site and click on the “Submit a Business” link or call 615.253.8800

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stealing Betty – Stealing Betty EP – CD Review

Stealing Betty rocks and is one of the best bands ever! Their performance is sexy, dirty, raw, and fills the room with gripping energy” (J. Gall,Spin/Rolling Stone). This group of four hailing from Michigan got together in 2008 to form Stealing Betty and consists of Tonya (singer), Myke (guitar), Deano (drums) and Tom (bass). Their debut, self-titled EP was produced by Mike Puwal (Zug Izland & ICP) at Nashville’s Sound Kitchen and mastered by Brad Blackwood (Saving Abel, Sick Puppies), not too bad for four people from Michigan as a break through composition.

Strap in for a thrilling ride with the first track of the album, “Natural Born Thrillers.” The distorted guitar in the beginning of the song, Myke sets the tone for the album that this female fronted metal band has a different sound than what you’re used to…it’s crisp and clean, while still raw and dirty. “I wanna be your dirty woman” is the first line from Tonya and it’s “the beginning of something neither of us planned.” This track is a of dirty love song that grabs the listener by the lapel and throws them into the middle of a head banging, sweaty, adrenaline filled rock show, a great choice for the single.

Myke’s guitar solo seems to play alone to Tonya’s lyrical rhythm, except it’s a few octaves up. With a strong, solid voice in the lower register, Tonya seems to be a blend of Shirley Manson with a side of Joan Jett and it’s a welcomed blend for sure. “Natural Born Thrillers” not only showcases Tonya and Myke’s abilities, but there is a chorus for each member of the band to strut their stuff.  The second to last chorus of the song features Tom jamming out on bass solo while the final chorus features Deano wailing on the toms and bass pedal of his kit. The end to this song is much like that heard for the finale of a live performance, with all the members going crazy on their instruments and Tonya holding out a long note, then the whole group coming together for the big finish.

“Shut Up” and listen to the next song on the album which starts with Myke ringing in your left ear and Tom crawling in your right.  Effects on Tonya’s voice reverberate through your eardrums and Deano keeps the rhythm. “You’re not the man I thought you’d be, so don’t you fu@#^% lie to me!” is the mantra of this song. Sprinkles of guitar riffs are spread throughout this track that tells some unnamed “murderer of love” to stop wasting his breathe and just “Shut up!”  There is definitely plenty of attitude in this song and it fuels this metal band to create a really angry, empowering rock anthem.

The instruments in this next track start off with Myke, then “Multiply” to bring you Deano, then Tom, and Tonya bringing in the rear to complete the full sound of this equation to rock your face off. Tom’s tuned down bass makes it easy to hear the plucking of strings throughout the entire track, something that is not a common sound in rock and, as a bass player, I can appreciate the layer of complexity it adds to this song about a compulsive liar who is trying not to spiral out of control. This is the most audibly impressive track on the EP, by far. The differing tempos and additions of electronic elements with varying riffs help to add to this complex theme that is topped off with all the boys lending their vocals and multiplying with Tonya to a crashing end of the track.

The EP is set to “Fade Away” with the final track, but all it really ends up doing is leaving the listener wanting more. The intro bass riff is very reminiscent of the old style of Fieldy from KoRn and the vibration of the strings can be heard throughout the entirety of the song. The previously mentioned electronic elements are again present in this song, but they don’t take away from the metal in the least, if anything, it’s more of a cohesive blend that helps to further improve both individual aspects. Tonya seems to be begging her love interest to open up to her so she can help him with his problems. The chorus sings, “You can do what you want to, but I’ll be there to stop you, cause I won’t stand by and watch you fade away.” Without being able to know the subject though, Tonya can’t do anything to help them and the song finally fades to an end, along with the rest of the EP while listeners beg Tonya and the boys to get to know them more with additional tracks.

These four unique tracks definitely stick in your head.  The only problem is that they leave you wanting more that isn’t there. While there is much diversity throughout the EP, these four songs are not sufficient enough to give listeners an idea of the full range of Stealing Betty. The band should have sacrificed a bit more time to make a full length album release to feed the hunger for more of their music.

See http://stealingbetty.com for more info!

Rating: 8.9/10
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kermit Lynch Releases Fourth Album, DONUTS & COFFEE Today, 10/9

Today, October 9, pioneering wine importer, author and singer-songwriter Kermit Lynch will release his fourth album, "Donuts & Coffee," on Lynchmusic/MesaBluemoon Recordings. The LP is a follow-up to 2011’s "Kitty Fur."

Recorded in Nashville at Sound Kitchen’s “Big Boy” Studio, Donuts & Coffee finds Lynch working once again with producer Ricky Fataar (Bonnie Raitt, Beach Boys), who also plays drums on the album. The 10-track country/blues set features the work of keyboardist Michael Omartian (John Lennon, Steely Dan), guitarist Rick Vito (Fleetwood Mac), bassist Dennis Crouch (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash) and Grammy-nominated violinist Aubrey Hanie (George Jones, Justin Timberlake) among others. Fataar also co-wrote the track “Frustration,” one of three Lynch-penned originals on the LP, which features distinctive covers of tracks such as Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Lerner & Loewe’s “On the Street Where You Live” and Duke Ellington’s “In My Solitude.” Another Lynch original, “Sunset Avenue,” is available now for free download at http://kermitlynchmusic.com. See below for full album track list.

Hailed by The New York Times as “Berkeley’s Wine Radical,” California native Lynch has enjoyed a one-of-a-kind journey that started with his 1962 arrival in Berkeley. After years of writing songs, fronting bands and playing gigs, Lynch became disillusioned in 1971 with the “flower power” scene and headed to Europe. In 1972 he founded Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, which has since become one of America’s most important and influential importers of high quality French wines. A recipient of France’s prestigious Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur Award (along with the likes of Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker), theJames Beard Wine Professional of the Year Award and the author of two best-selling wine/travel books, “the accidental wine merchant” (Wine Enthusiast) never lost his passion for music.

In 2005, Lynch returned to music when singer-songwriter/vintner Boz Scaggs heard old garage tapes and invited Lynch to record at his studio. That year Lynch, along with co-producers Fataar and Scaggs, transformed those tapes into "Quicksand Blues" at Scaggs’ San Francisco studio where they were joined by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Laurie Lewis, Jon Cleary and Jackie Payne. "Man’s Temptation" followed in 2009, and is described by Lynch as “rootsy Americana” featuring four originals and a few gems from Curtis Mayfield, the Stanley Brothers, Bob Dylan and Hank Cochran. "Kitty Fur" was released in 2011, and "Donuts & Coffee" now marks the fourth release in Lynch and Fataar’s series of collaborations.

1. Honey Bee
2. Frustration
3. Playing for Keeps
4. She Thinks I Still Care
5. On the Street Where You Live
6. Ring of Fire
7. Donuts & Coffee
8. Any Day Now
9. In My Solitude
10. Sunset Avenue

For more information and free downloads, visit http://kermitlynchmusic.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kermit Lynch Sets Album Release and Offering Free Song Download

Recorded in Nashville at Sound Kitchen's "Big Boy" Studio, Donuts & Coffee finds Lynch working once again with producer Ricky Fataar (Bonnie Raitt, ... read more

Sound Kitchen: A Full Course Affair | American Songwriter

Keith Urban, Three Doors Down, Taylor Swift, Chicago, Michael W. Smith – the list of major artists who have recorded at the Sound Kitchen recording studio is a Who’s Who of giants of country, pop, rock and Christian music that covers two decades. Founded in the early 1990s by Dino and (former Kansas vocalist) John Elefante, the Sound Kitchen, half an hour south of Nashville, is one of the largest recording facilities in America, with seven recording studios, including a 4,000-plus square-foot room that might be the location of the recording of a symphony orchestra the next day and the site of a corporate training event the next. ...read more