ELIZABETH, NJ – Recording engineer and a 2016 Academy of Country Music Award nominee Steve Marcantonio has been a familiar face on the music scene in Nashville for the last two decades, working with such artists as Vince Gill, Deana Carter, and Roseanne Cash, but there is only one place he calls home.
“Elizabeth will always be home, as long as Johnny Sacco is still there," he said. “Elizabeth is such a blue collar city and back when I grew up, we learned great work ethics. That is something that I definitely need in my line of work, long, tedious hours perfecting the project that I am involved on. I'm still connected [to Elizabeth] through friends and family and Spirito’s and Santillo’s Pizza.”
The four-time nominee for the Academy’s Industry & Studio Recording Award (with one win) also attributes his love of music to growing up in a musical family with roots planted in Italy where his grandfather Antonio Picaro was a band leader. After settling in Peterstown, nicknamed The Burg, Picaro established a band in the early 1900’s. Although Steve counts among his musical influences The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, anything Motown, and Todd Rundgren, the most influential are closer to home.
“I have been musically influenced by people like my brothers, John and Henry, and my cousins Joe and Anthony," he said. "And even more so, I guess, I have been influenced by my grandfather Antonio Picaro.”
Marcantonio's first cousin Joe LaBracio played with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons under the name Joe Long. Joe’s brother, Anthony, is a well known drummer. Steve’s brothers, John and Henry, are musicians, and his nephew Andrew is a pianist with the Marine Corps Band in Okinawa.
“I grew up in a musical family in the mid 60s, and we had music on all day,” he said. “I loved listening to music but more so the sound of it. Whenever I bought an album I always looked to see the credits and I thought maybe that's something I would like to do. My cousin was in the Four Seasons, and he introduced me to a studio owner. Before long, I was working there.”
The studio was Record Plant in New York, and Marcantonio was there in December 1980.
“My standout memory is having worked with John Lennon in the studio," he said. "I was fortunate to have been with him and Yoko for the entire week of December 1 through 8 in 1980. He was shot and killed an hour after I said goodnight.”
Then in 1986, Marcantonio started working with singer/songwriter/artist/musician Rodney Crowell, who was married at the time to Johnny Cash’s daughter Roseanne. A year later, he asked Steve to come to Nashville to work on a record for Rosanne. His few trips there turned into frequent ones. In 1992, Steve, his wife, Carrie, (who is a pianist) and their son, Tyler moved there. Three years later, daughter Juliana joined the family. Together Steve and Carrie continued the tradition of a musical family. As Steve works with contemporary artists, Carrie uses her musical knowledge as the orchestra personnel manager at the Nashville Symphony.
The Academy of Country Music Industry & Studio Recording Awards will be given out from the stage of the legendary Ryman Auditorium in the fall.
“My reaction to being nominated for this or any award is always incredibly rewarding,” he said. “It shows the respect that my colleagues have for me, and it's pretty overwhelming.”
Back home in Elizabeth, his friends and family will be cheering, win or lose.
Steve Marcantonio’s discography is located on allmusic.com.