Justin Smith

Justin Smith is a lifelong musician, band leader, and sideman with decades of professional experience. He played with many of the greats in the Chicago blues world before focusing on music production in the studio.

Justin has a passion for music and a love of the art and craft of audio recording and mixing. He takes a traditional approach to record making, using high quality analog equipment and workflow, analog tape, and great monitoring, as well as the best digital tools available.

Rusty Recordings is equipped with an array of great audio tools in a custom-built mix room with extensive acoustic treatment and excellent frequency and time domain response. Justin has served clients worldwide in a broad range of genres from right here in Alaska, at the edge of Glacier Bay National Park.

At the Jazz a Vienne festival in France with The Son Seals Blues Band

"I worked with Justin for years on a wide range of projects. His expertise and dedication to musical excellence is very impressive. Somewhat of a perfectionist in the many details of engineering and production, Justin never loses sight of the bigger musical aesthetics and objectives. He is a pleasure to work with."

Barry Corliss, mastering engineer at Master-Works, Seattle

“Justin really listens to the nuances of a song and brings it to life with meticulous attention to details.”

Mongezi Ntaka, producer for Ngoma Zethu

With Delmark recording artist Willie Kent in Chicago
With Son Seals

"I had an incredible experience recording in person with Justin -- he managed the gear, the sound, the timing, and the vibe of the room with ease, and the end product was spectacular even on a tight time frame. I'm incredibly proud of the final product, and eager to work with Justin again."

Marian Call, musician and recording artist

“In Justin we get the essential combination of professional musician and audio engineer. He knows the pressure of recording a stage or studio performance because he’s a player (check out the footage of him opening for Vusi Mahlasela), and he’s also a total audiophile (ask him about the mics he constructs or acoustic theory). Then add the ability to communicate with clients and to artfully adapt to whatever sonic challenges you throw at him. Mix all that together and you get Justin Smith of Rusty Recordings.” 

Scott Burton, musician and producer, Juneau, Alaska


“Justin has an amazing ear, outrageous recording skills, and is endlessly optimistic and supportive of musicians. I think with Justin's help, anyone can make an album!”

Tania Lewis, Alaskan musician/recording artist


“Justin Smith is at home with both meticulous studio recording and the chaos of live recordings. He’s the kind of tinkerer who can capture the magic …but who also has the hard technical chops to bolt together an album of crisp intentionality. Justin Smith is a rare find in this world.”  

Christopher Benkhe, Alaskan musician/recording artist