Rock singer Ben Folds had been one of the tenants and major proponents of preserving the building, which has played host to recording by some of the biggest names in all of music, including, but not limited to, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Dolly Parton.
“What will the Nashville of tomorrow look like if we continue to tear out the heart of the Music Row that made us who we are as a city? Ultimately, who will want to build new condos in an area that has no central community of ideas or creatives?” (Ref. 2)
These were words Folds included in his open letter to the city of Nashville. He continued:
“Take a moment to stand in silence between the grand walls of RCA Studio A and feel the history and the echoes of the Nashville that changed the world. I’d like to ask him and other developers to listen first hand to the stories from those among us who made the countless hit records in this studio – the artists, musicians, engineers, producers, writers who built this rich music legacy note by note, brick by brick” (Ref. 2)
“What will the Nashville of tomorrow look like if we continue to tear out the heart of the Music Row that made us who we are as a city? Ultimately, who will want to build new condos in an area that has no central community of ideas or creatives?”
“What makes a place historic?” he wrote in response to Folds’ letter. “The architecture of the Nashville sound was never brick and mortar. Certainly, there are old studio spaces that, in our imaginations, ring with sonic magic; but in truth, it’s not the room; it’s the music.” (Ref. 3)
Bradley’s words seem to spell a sad fate for the historic building, though official reports leave it as uncertain. Ben Folds, as is apparent from his letter, seems to believe it will become a development ground for luxury condominiums.Is the sale of Studio A something that will alter the course of country music’s future? Highly unlikely, but tearing down such a landmark leaves a gaping hole in the history already written.
Bradley, himself an accomplished musician, was a featured guitarist on many songs including “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” (a Loretta Lynn classic), and “Only The Lonely” (a signature song of the late Roy Orbison). One might think that a historic site like Studio A might hold a special significance for such an accomplished musician, but clearly his words indicate otherwise. And while there is a certain amount of truth to his claims that it’s the music that’s important, landmarks like Studio A take on an important part of history and become almost sacred to the culture.
In addition, RCA owned four studio spaces designed by legendary audio engineer Bill Putnam. They were located across the United States in Nashville (Studio A), Chicago, L.A., and New York. Studio A is the only of these four studios remaining in operation (Ref. 1).
Is the sale of Studio A something that will alter the course of country music’s future? Highly unlikely, but tearing down such a landmark leaves a gaping hole in the history already written.
Friday, Ben Folds posted on his Facebook page that his rent was being raised 124% and that he would be vacating the premises when his current lease ends in November. He went on record as saying, " He [new owner, Tim Reynolds] is on public record saying he will not demolish the building, though I’m not sure how any studio owner could make bottom line with rent that high." Folds said he is committed to recording as much of his new album in the studio as possible before he moves out in November. (Ref.4).
In addition to being a tenant for over a decade, Folds was also the space's caretaker for a portion of his residency.