Producer Dave Cobb—known for his work with Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and so many more—has signed on to be the new caretaker of the historic Studio ‘A’ on Music Row starting April 1st. Performer and pianist Ben Folds has been in charge of the space for the last 14 years, including helping to shepherd Studio ‘A’ through a stretch in 2014 where investors wanted to bulldoze it.
Though there’s no guarantee Timberlake will be using the studio time to make a country record, when you line up the news with quotes like “I still got my eyes set on a Best Country Album. There is time for that,” which Timberlake said to Sirius XM in 2013, all indications are that Timberlake is looking to record at least country flavored music.
With the passing of the 94-year-old “Little” Jimmy Dickens at the beginning of 2015, it’s a reminder for us to cherish the final living links to country music’s most legendary past who can still tell stories of how country music once was. The amount of performers who were important in forming the very foundation of country music are quickly fading away.
Bill Monroe, Billie Jean Horton, Bobby Osborne, Buck Owens, Buck White, Carter Stanley, Don Maddox, Eddie Arnold, Elvis, George Jones, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Harold Bradley, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jesse McReynolds, Jim and Jesse, Jim Ed Brown, Joe Pennington, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Lee Ann Womack, Lefty Frizell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Owen Bradley, Pee Wee King, Ralph Stanley, Ray Price, Red Simpson, Ricky Skaggs, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Roy Orbison, Stonewall Jackson, Studio 'A', The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Grand Ole Opry, The Quonset Hut, The Stanley Brothers, The Whites, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Let’s just start this off by drudging the big elephant right out in the middle of the room and shining a big ‘ol spotlight on it. Mike Curb, Herr Führer of Curb Records—the man who has made millions off of the indentured servitude of many of country music’s most famous names, has thrown his money behind the much-ballyhooed preservation of Music Row’s historic Studio ‘A’ in Nashville.
Jamey Johnson will be releasing “The Christmas Song,” But that’s not where the goodies stop from the songwriter. Announced today, November 24th, Jamey Johnson is starting his own record label called Big Gassed Records. The first release will be the Christmas EP, but there will be much more music on the way. “From now on, as soon as I can get it written and recorded, we will make it available,” says Johnson.
As recently as the middle of last week it looked as if the fate of historic Studio ‘A’ in Nashville’s Music Row district was all but sealed, and its date with a wrecking ball was a forgone conclusion despite preservationist’s best efforts. But in one fell swoop, one man came in and did what thousands of people could not do despite their best efforts: preserve Studio ‘A’.
Friday (8-29) evening, local internet traffic in Nashville buzzed with the news that the recent buyer of the city’s historic Studio ‘A’ building had concluded an assessment of the building and decided that bulldozing would be a more cost-effective fate for the building compared to renovations. Bravo Development pulled the West Wing tactic of releasing the information on a Friday afternoon…
Despite a rough start to Keith Urban’s week last week when one of his concerts in Mansfield, Mass. descended into a 55-arrest, 22-taken to the hospital & rape allegations kind of night, you could make the argument the country music superstar won the week. Keith Urban made it a point to speak out about what happened at the concert. Then by golly, Keith Urban took of his personal time to write an op-ed…
The saga to save Nashville’s historic Studio ‘A’ and other Music Row landmarks sees another setback as Ben Folds says he’s being forced out of the space he’s spent over a decade renting and spent over $1 million on in renovations. Because of raised rent of 124% from the new ownership, Ben Folds says he’s planning to vacate Studio ‘A’ by November.
Of course country music must evolve, just as at times certain buildings must go if they have completely lost their functionality and the cost of preservation is not in accordance with the historic value. But there always has to be that measure, that attention and reverence paid to the past to where we don’t allow unchecked “evolution” to result in remorse of what was lost along the way.
It looked like the crisis for Studio ‘A’ had been averted, and a Studio ‘A’ rally that transpired Monday morning in the historic spot turned out to be less about saving Studio ‘A’, and more about saving many of Music Row’s historic buildings and properties by asking the City of Nashville to designate the area as a historic district. Now the current owners of the building have written a letter…