Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A is under threat according to current tenant, Ben Folds.
In an open letter to the city of Nashville, published in The Tennessean, Folds says that the building is to be sold to the Brentwood development company. Folds took over the lease of the building 12 years ago, and says that he does not know what the plans are for the building.
The letter reads: “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 set 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.”
Folds continues: “Most of us know about Studio B. Studio A was its grander younger sibling, erected by Atkins when he became an RCA executive. The result was an orchestral room built to record strings for Elvis Presley and to entice international stars to record in one of these four Putnam-designed RCA spaces in the world. The other three RCA studios of the same dimensions – built in LA, Chicago and New York – have long since been shut down. I can’t tell you how many engineers, producers and musicians have walked into this space to share their stories of the great classic recorded music made here that put Nashville on the map. I’ve heard tales of audio engineers who would roller skate around the room waiting for Elvis to show up at some point in the weeks he booked, stories about how Eddy Arnold recording one of the first sessions in the room and one of the songs was ‘Make The World Go Away’, Dolly Parton (Jolene) and The Monkees recorded here, and so on.”
Read more from Folds in The Tennessean here, where Folds has made clear that he’s not opposed to progress, but is concerned that Nashville may be running roughshod over buildings of historic significance to the city and the music industry.