If this plays out, it would be really sad. With more and more studios disappearing, we really can’t afford another one, especially of this caliber.
Power-pop piano man and local resident Ben Folds has owned Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A — the 5,000-square-foot live room founded by Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, where the likes of Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Jimmy Dean and Eddy Arnold cut many of their classics — for the past 12 of its nearly 50 years of operation.
But now the famed studio’s future is uncertain, as the old RCA Building housing the studio on Music Row is likely to be sold, reportedly to a Brentwood developing company. This is according to a rather lengthy, impassioned open letter Folds — who says he’s spent more than $1 million as the space’s tenant and caretaker — penned (and sent to the Scene via his publicist) to the city of Nashville and the building’s potential new owners.
Read Folds’ letter in full after the jump.
Last week, on the day that would have been Chet Atkins’ 90th birthday (June 20, 1924), my office received news that the historic RCA Building on Music Row is likely to be sold. This building, with the historic Studio A as its centerpiece, was Atkins’ and Owen Bradley’s vision and baby, and had become home to the largest classic recording space in Nashville. Word is that the prospective buyer is a Brentwood, TN-based commercial development company called Bravo Development owned and operated by Tim Reynolds. We don’t know what this will mean to the future of the building.
First off, kudos to the estates and descendants of Atkins and Bradley for doing their best to keep the building alive. They’ve owned the property all these years and could have at any point closed it up or mowed it down. Sadly, it’s what happens in the name of progress.