I’ve written quite a bit about Music Row lately. I’ve said my piece, however there is a question that keeps coming up. It’s a legitimate question, but it requires a few paragraphs to answer. So this is for those who’ve asked. Then it’s time for this piano player to continue on his orchestra tour in Europe and step down from the podium.
Why haven’t I purchased 30 Music Square West myself?
The owners’ asking price has been $4.4 million for the whole property (it’s valued by local govt at $2.4 million) not to be divided. The studio comprises nearly half the building which comprises about one fifth of the footprint of the property.
I’m a touring recording artist and not a developer or real estate mogul. Four million plus clams is well out of my range. As a tenant I’ve been trying to put together a scenario that brings the owners’ asking price, establishes the historical status of the property for preservation, and provides a cash flow for interested developers, but I’m just the dude renting this space. This has become even more feasible now, thanks to overwhelming response to my open letter. Now, with all the players we have on the sidelines, we have more time and I’m positive we can help pull this ambitious plan off. The obvious, easier and more regrettable path involves leveling the building and using the large footprint of the property, taking advantage of the generous zoning to put up condominiums. Let’s be real. Any developer that puts over $4 million into this property does so with intent to demolish and build condos or shopping and that’s probably why the property hasn’t closed yet in the face of public outcry.
As the tenant of 12 years I’ve paid $800k in rent, have thanked the owners privately and publicly, fixed what I could, and made sure the room was still making beautiful music. Mr. Bradley can’t ‘fire back’ because I never ‘fired.’ I have no quarrel with this man or his extended family, and I can sympathize with his plight and understand why he might take the history and acoustics of this room for granted. Maybe his generation can now appreciate that a musician of my generation or younger only has a few examples of the greatness of Studio A left on the planet. It’s a gift that Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins (and Harold Bradley) gave to the world, whether they knew it or not. By a few miracles it’s still standing. I exercised my First Amendment right to express my opinion as the tenant, and it turns out there’s quite a bit of support for what I had to say. If the owners would like to get their asking price, secure their family’s gift to the city and music history, and place the building into the hands of investors that can find the proper cash flow, then I would think I’ve been their best friend. Now they have supporters around the world who are also their best friends. It’s not my property to determine the fate of the building - I’ve just spoken my heart and put my efforts to brokering a solution.
My aim is to make sure historic RCA Studio A is standing and making music of future generations long after we are all gone. By drawing attention to this I also have the opportunity to cast a spotlight on those on Music Row who have been individually struggling with their versions of the same story as they watch bulldozers level acres of our rich music history every day. Now maybe #SaveMusicRow and #MIC can get together with the Mayor, and city and business leaders to galvanize their efforts. The incredible industry Nashville has attracted, from health care to car manufacturing, from future country stars to inspired tourists, are here because they want to be in Music City, and Music Row is the heart of that.
Nashville is good at getting things done. Let’s make progress and secure our lifeblood. Let’s take the tougher, smarter road - get past these few obstacles so we can move on to what we do best – making music.
PS. Here is only a portion of what we know was recording in Studio A, along with a list of what’s been recorded in my tenure. This is only what we know of, there’s plenty more:
Peter Bradley Adams, Gary Allan, Brent Anderson, Anika, Arlis Albritton, Asleep at the Wheel, Sara Bareilles, The Beach Boys, Ben Folds Five, Tony Bennett, Amy Black, Jason Blaine, Blind Boys of Alabama, Joe Bonamassa, Wade Bowen, Eden Brent, Jim Brickman, The Brothers Osborne, Rachel Bradshaw, Brentwood Benson, David Bullock, Laura Bell Bundy, Ken Burns, The Canadian Tenors, The City Harmonic, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chocolate Horse, Brandy Clark, Brent Cobb, Jesse Colter, Elizabeth Cook, Wayne Coyne, Margaret Cho, Billy Currington, Matt Dame, Danae, Ilse DeLange, Rebecca de la Torre, Steve Earle, ESPN, Jace Everett, The Fabulous Headliners, Dani Flowers, Danny Flowers, Ben Folds, Colt Ford, The Frog Sessions, Eleanor Fye, Cami Gallardo, Billy Gibbons, Sarah Gibson, Vince Gill, Alyssa Graham, Peter Groenwald, Harlan Pepper, Harper Blynn, Connie Harrington, Hunter Hayes, John Hiatt, Faith Hill, JT Hodges, Adam Hood, James House, Sierra Hull, Alan Jackson, Joe Jackson, Casey James, Jenny Jarnigan, Jewel, Jamey Johnson, Josh Jones, Kristin Kelly, KESHA, Anna Krantz, Ben Kweller, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Sonny Landreth, Samatha Landrum, Mark Lanigan, Stoney LaRue, Jim Lauderdale, Frank Liddell, LIfeway, Meagan Lindsey, Longmont All Stars Jazz Band, Lyle Lovette, Luella and the Sun, Tayla Lynn, Amanda Palmer, John Pardi, Rich Parkinson, Alan Parson, Charlie Pate, Kellie Pickler, Pistol Annies, Pretty Lights, Mike Posner, Sean McConnell, Scotty McCreery, Kate Miller Heidke, Ronnie Milsap, Miss Willie Brown, Danny Mitchell, Allison Moorer, Kacey Musgraves, Musiq Soulchild, David Nail, the Nashville Symphony, Jerrod Neimann, Willie Nelson, Joe Nichols, Sierra Noble, Natalie Noone, The Oakridge Boys, Jake Owen, Rainfall, Johnny Reid, Thomas Rhett, Lionel Richie, The Robertson Family, Henry Rollins, Shannon Sanders, Jader Santos, Alejando Sanz, Mondo Saez, Kate Schrock, Bob Seger, Sera B., Brian Setzer, Nikki Shannon, William Shatner, SHEDaisy, Jordyn Shellart, Joel Shewmake, Sleeping With Sirens, Jake Shimabukuro, Mike Shipp, Kevin Shirley, Anthony Smith, Joanna Smith, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Chelsea Staling, Steel Magnolia, Tate Stevens, Jay Stocker, Rayburn, RED, RockIt City, Jeff Taylor, Justin Towns Earle, Josh Thompson, Those Darlins, Josh Turner, Bonnie Tyler, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Ben Utecht, Phil Vassar, Venus and the Moon, Andy Victor, Amanda Watkins, Chuck Wicks, Hank Williams Jr., Williamson Country Youth Orchesta, Alicia Witt, Lee Ann Womack, Word Entertainment and Charlie Worsham.
PPS Mr. Bradley, ELVIS HAS NOT LEFT THE BUILDING according to a lot mail we’re getting from engineers and musicians who worked on Elvis records in Studio A.