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Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Historic Nashville Studio May Fold

Ben Folds Nashville Studio - the old RCA Studio A image
Industrial progress has been cruel to some of the great old recording studios where so much history was once made. We've seen wonderful rooms in every major city disappear because of rising real estate costs, while the amount of money that a studio can charge a client has actually dropped.

I was recently in what used to be the old RCA Studio B space in Hollywood to sit on a panel about YouTube. Everyone from Sinatra to The Stones recorded there at one time. Now it's a very nice theater owned by the LA Film School. Not one person I talked to knew they were standing on hallowed ground.

Now it looks like RCA Studio A in Nashville will meet the same fate. The studio is now rented by singer/songwriter Ben Folds, who has just been informed that the studio will be sold to a developer who plans to turn the space into new condos, an awful fate for a studio that once hosted the best of the best of Nashville, from Waylon Jennings to Eddie Arnold to Roy Orbison and many more.

Ironically, the studio is owned by Harold Bradley, a former member of the famed A Team of Nashville studio musicians who played on literally hundreds of hits. It was Harold and his brother Owen, along with Chet Atkins, who created the "Nashville Sound" and built the city into a music powerhouse.

Bradley is quite aware of the history of the place, but states that he's wanted to sell the studio for more than 20 years and it's only coming to fruition now. He's also not as sentimental about the space as many others are, stating that the music made there will still live on.

That said, Folds is trying to get the studio designated as a historic site and have the developer incorporate it into the project that will be built.

Many of the other great studios in Nashville have been bought by Mike Curb (like RCA Studio B and Oceanway) and donated to Belmont University when threatened with a similar fate. Will he come through again?

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