About Backseat

our studios

Our Engineers
jim roll
Keith Kinnear
Dave Sharp

"Jim Roll" "Jimmer"  "Jim" "James"  "Mr. Roll"  "The Wizard"

Known by many names, Jim is the force behind the magic at Backseat Productions.  A technical wizard, (Frontier Ruckus presented Jim with a Wizard hat on his birthday after completing their first full length ‘The Orion Songbook’), Jim also effortlessly fuels the momentum each artist brings to their project.

While he has been playing and recording music for 25 years, Jim gushes that he is "continually inspired and humbled by the continuous stream of talented artists that record, mix and master at Backseat."   Our lead engineer has succeeded in nurturing a lively, vital and focused atmosphere that encourages musician after musician to achieve a sonically stunning realization of their unique creative vision!

Jim sees musical inspiration in everything from The Archies to Neutral Milk Hotel; from The Big Bopper to Dr. Octagon. His own recording career includes three critically acclaimed records on One Man Clapping Records, New West Records, and The Telegraph Company.

Artists who have appeared on his records include Walter Salas-Humara of the Silos; Chuck Prophet of Green on Red; Kevin Wimmer of Balfa Toujours, KC Groves of Uncle Earl, Gurf Morlix; Jon Dee Graham; and novelists Rick Moody (The Ice Storm) and Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son, Tree of Smoke). His last CD “Inhabiting the Ball” was 2002 Amazon.com rock critics’ #5 rock CD, behind Wilco, Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello and Flaming Lips -- and just ahead of Steve Earle, Beck, Queens of the Stone Age, and Robert Plant.

On the technical end of things, Jim has done beta testing work with companies like Metric Halo, Aardvark, Emagic, helping to troubleshoot and shape the future of soulful digital recording.

When not running or engineering in his studio, Jim has been found interviewing The Decemberists and Bjork for The Believer; playing Bass with Drunken Barn Dance and Misty Lyn & The Big Beautiful; acting in films for Lion Belly Media; teaching Audio Recording Technology at Washtenaw Community College; and especially dining at his lady friend’s amazing cafe, Beezy's.



Keith Kinnear

Keith Kinnear has recently joined the Backseat Productions' team after receiving his degree in Audio Production & Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology from Michigan Tech.  Houghton and Ann Arbor have enjoyed an incredible synthesis of musical minds and Keith has often been at the center of it!

(Jim's note: Keith has done excellent work recording bands like Deer Country and Graham Parsons. Keith just mastered Graham's new band The Go Rounds in the Backseat Studio!  Great band - great live recording! Keith and I also have plans to sell raw hot dogs outside of bars at 2am. Inquire within!).

The story of Keith's fascination with all things audio began while he lived in Minnesota, then into working live sound and engineering while continuing to play and tour in several Michigan based bands.  Keith credits his experience being on stage with an increased understanding of what musicians need from an engineer, both in a live venue and in the studio. And he never underestimates the need for a band to have fun!

In Keith's migration down from the Upper Peninsula, he brought with him two 4' high custom designed speaker/monitors that he hand-built with the finest components.  We are also honored to have Keith's technical assistance in the design and creation of our new studio space: Driverside! 



Dave Sharp

Bassist, composer and bandleader Dave Sharp has been engineering and producing projects with the Backseat Productions team since January 2014. With a resume that includes playing electric bass with The Melvins, and playing upright bass with Iggy Pop & the Stooges in April of 2011, as well as leading the jazz/world music supergroup Dave Sharp’s Secret 7, Dave has the experience to track your project and make it shine! Recent releases from the Backseat production mill include Dave Sharp Secret 7’s "WORLDS" and Kelzmephonic’s Ot Azoy!

With his background in a wide variety of music styles, (Gypsy Jazz-Summers, Delaney & Sharp, Indian Fusion-Sumkali, Arabic Fusion-Wisaal, World Jazz-Dave Sharp’s Secret 7, Straight Ahead Jazz-Dave Sharp Quartet, Klezmer-Klezmephonic, etc) Mr. Sharp can serve as a first class engineer and producer for your musical vision. Student musicians also thrive under Mr. Sharp’s guidance, as he has coached and recorded student ensembles from the Ann Arbor Music Center adult band program (Surf Rock, Blues, Original Rock) and the annual AAMC Youth Jazz Camp Band.


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