While there are recording engineers who wouldn't be able to make music with a tambourine, that certainly couldn't be said about Bill Johnson, co-founder of the Austin record label and quite a common sight behind the mixing board at live shows as well as recording and mixing sessions in the busy state capitol of the same name. Johnson plays piano, guitar, bass, trumpet, and drums and spent decades playing in various bands. He was also trained as a singer, explaining why he sometimes seems to be practically bursting into song when commandeering the talkback microphone in the studio.
Still, Johnson has said repeatedly that helping other musicians sound great is his number one ambition. He worked for 15 years at sound companies such as Ray Hennig's Heart of Texas Music and Musicmakers before launching his own enterprise. He was also one of the house soundmen at the Antone's Home of the Blues venue, working with a host of famous names. These activities led to live radio, including the popular Local Licks Live series done for KLBJ. Johnson also produced live broadcasts for KGSR and local NPR affiliates. It is literally impossible to assemble a collection of music from the Austin scene without garnering a few items produced and/or engineered by Johnson, from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Omar & the Howlers to Jimmy Carl Black.