Over the weekend my attention got drawn to an article that featured Jamey Johnson in it of all people. You might recognize him from his big hit "In Color"... Oddly enough that particular single says a lot about this particular article and what it pertains too.
If you remember Jamey's song you might remember that its taken from the aspect of someone looking through old back and white photos, while an older I'm assuming gentleman reminisces about the the memories attached to the photo, saying, "You should have seen it in color."
The song was briliantly written and Johnson's big bear physic made this country girl fall in love, but he didn't make it into many headlines and fell out of the spot light so to speak... until now.
There is this place in Nashville that you've proabably heard of called Music Row. Its kinda of an unassuming little thing, but very big things happened there for decades. Country artists that became house hold names recorded their music there. This was the place where the rubber met the road so to speak.
Music Rown is an institution in Nashville and its almost heralded as sacred ground for country music fans.
So you can believe my shock that there is talk of historic RCA Studio A being torn down to build condominiums.
Nashville is like a lot of cities in the aspect that it grows and changes, but it also tries to preserve the heritage that it has. So tearing down a historic studio seems a bit off the mark for Nashville.
So the musicians of Nashville are banding together to try and save the studio. I'm fully behind them too.
What most on lookers don't seem to understand about these "old" and often "shabby" looking studios is that there is something there, that you can't see or explain.
I spent two weeks road tripping a few years agon and I wound up in Nashville. By way of some really cool places like Sun Studio in Memphis. This was not only a facility that you could tour and see the place where Elvis recorded his first album, but it was still a working studio.
The building itself had been many things since its early days, including a bakery. But it finally was put in hands that restored it to its prior glory. You learned things on this tour that made you listen to some of that old music with new ears. For example...
Johnny Cash recorded at the Sun Studio in Memphis early in his career. Now being young and not realizing where he wanted to end up Cash's biggest dream was to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage, in the Ryman. Now seeing the Ryman in person and seeing the stage the rest of this story makes sense. In lots of early recordings you swear that there is a drum in there. There isn't. Given the size of the stage, and in part the midset of the Opry at the time, there wasn't room for a drum set on stage. So to keep his sound true from album to stage, Cash figured out a $1.10 fix. He took a dollar bill fed it between the neck of his guitar and the strings, he then attached it with a paper clip (a box of them in the day cost .10). The restulting sound was a snare type effect when the strings vibrated across the dollar bill. Talk about intuition, in our over driven tech society, its hard to appreciate the dollar bill some times.
There is even a picture in the studio of this brilliant fix, black and white of course... but I bet it was something to experience in color.... Or so the song supposedly goes.
I learned lots of other really cool stuff, but that was one of my faves.
The best part of these old studios is just the feeling you get when your in them. I once heard that the good artist leave a piece of their soul in their music... And I felt it amongst the tile that has seen better days, and the carpet that needed to just be pulled up, and over head tile I'm pretty sure still had asbestos in it (I'm not, but stuff looked old). Lol!
There is heritage in these old places, and roots...
Have we gotten so far from our roots that we need to replace these amazing places with condominiums?
I hope not. I hope that this is where country music listeners everywhere, place some value in their roots and don't stand for it.