Hi Friends! This week we are doing a bonus post. Don’t worry, the staple Friday morning post will still go out, but this bonus post is dedicated to this brand’s namesake.
For those of you who aren’t in the music industry or aren’t familiar with Nashville, 16th Ave, along with 17th Ave and the small side streets make up Music Row. Music Row is where all the music magic has happened since the 1950’s. It houses historical recording studios RCA Studio B, Quonset Hut Studio, as well as many other industry related businesses.
The beauty of Music Row is that it isn’t glamorous. It looks like just another street of bungalow style houses, some are even unmarked. The modest appearance may fool some, but this is where the magic is made. Many songwriters, musicians, and artists write, play and record here.
The simplistic beauty of this area also symbolizes the journey that all individuals in the music industry embark on. The industry is tough to break into. Even when you are in, you have to fight to stay relevant. Everyone wants in, but even at the top, it is hard work. Just like the the actual area being understated, the industry is also far from glamorous. Lying, manipulation, being stepped on... is a labor of love, as it is not the most lucrative unless you are part of the 1%. But the strong willed fighters persist, because they believe it is worth it.
As someone who dreamed of living in Nashville working in the industry my entire childhood, this area means the absolute world to me, as it does so many others. It symbolizes our dreams, and connects us to our idols. My first week of living in Nashville I often made a point of driving down “The Row” and each time I would tear up. This history, the dreams, the legacy, that this area represents is crucial to Nashville. Though Nashville has outgrown its exclusive nickname as “Music City,” the music industry has shaped this city more than any other industry.
A brief history: In 1954, Owen & Harold Hut opened Quonset Hut Studio on 16th Ave. Other businesses started moving in, such as Hill and Range Publishing and deadwood Music Publishing. In 1957, RCA Studio B opened. This studio was run by Chet Atkins and is known for housing Elvis Presley, Eddy Arnold, Everly Brothers, Dolly Parton, and many others. In 1961, CMA (Country Music Association) moved in. In 1967, The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum opened, and remained on Music Row until 2000. The Row is where the “Nashville Sound” of Country Music was born. Many other businesses have moved in since, most keeping the original buildings.
Though many businesses have chosen to leave The Row over the last couple of years, it is still considered the heart of the music industry in Nashville. Personally, I find such persistence in staying and honoring the original roots. There are a few vacancies, but this area is still very much alive.
Unfortunately, developers have other ideas. An area of The Row is being looked at for redevelopment. There is a proposed new 8 story building for office space. Though the office space is being branded for music industry individuals, it still is not being welcomed by the industry as a whole. Because, again, the magic of Music Row lives in the historical, understated feel. Songwriters like writing in an old house converted into an office. It inspires creativity. It brings them closer to the history. It’s the Nashville Way.
There are quite a few of us who feel that a new 8 story building will disrupt the look, feel, and history of this area. There was an informational meeting this week where musicians, local business owners, and others have voiced their opinions to the developer. It dawned on me that some may not even understand that rich history and mean this area represents, so I decided it was important to tell the story.
This is not the first time developers have tried to redevelop the area. In 2014, a developer bought properties on Music Row promising to preserve the history, but instead had plans to put condos in. This plan included shutting down Studio A. During this time, the music industry came together to fight this proposals, and with a petition, the plans were shut down. During this fight, Chris Stapleton recorded Traveller in Studio A, an album that went double platinum and won many various awards. He later recorded his next album From A Room there, with the name paying tribute to the studio. If this doesn’t give y’all goosebumps & all the feels, you’re heartless.
16th Ave. Music Row. My inspiration.
I am not sure the next steps in fighting to preserve The Row and the businesses that would close if this redevelopment happens including Classic Ax, Wolf Mastering, Big Spark Music, Krazy Pop Studio, Rhinestone Wedding Chappel, Legendary Bobby’s Idle Hour (last Tavern on Music Row), Warner/Chappell. Please comment if you have any more information. Let’s fight the good fight together.