Monday, December 19, 2016

CULTURE AT RISK - Nashville's Music Spaces

"Nashville's storied music spaces threatened with silence" PBS NewsHour 12/12/2016

aka "Greed Assaults Culture"


SUMMARY:  Downtown Nashville has been a backbone of the nation's music industry for more than six decades, giving the nation stars such as Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton.  But the increasing demand for new apartments and office buildings is threatening its historic music spaces.  Jeffrey Brown reports on the city's struggle to find a balance between preserving history and making room for the future.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Nashville often likes to refer to itself as Music City.  And given its history and heritage, that seems just right.

But as real estate development explodes in one of the nation's fastest growing cities, some of the very studios, locations and neighborhoods that were so important to country music, and the industry as a whole, are now threatened.

Jeffrey Brown reports.  It's part of his ongoing series on Culture at Risk.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  Inside an unassuming house on Nashville's 16th Avenue South, guitarist Philip Shouse is laying down a track at the recording studio 'House of David.'  Meanwhile, just up the road, the punk rock group Paramore is recording percussion in 'RCA Studio A' for the group's forthcoming album.

It's just another day on Music Row, the collection of recording studios, publishing houses and offices two miles southwest of downtown Nashville and its famous honky-tonks, and the place collectively responsible for an important part of the nation's music industry.

TAYLOR YORK, Paramore:  From, like, the early days even to present, there's been such an amazing group of people that have recorded here, you know, and when you walk into a room, you really can feel an energy and an inspiration.

JEFFREY BROWN:  It all began in the 1950s, with Owen and Harold Bradley, brothers who opened a recording studio in a converted home in this part of town.

Other studios, like Capitol, Decca, and RCA Victor followed; and in 1957, RCA victor's Nashville division, headed by Chet Atkins, opened 'Studio B,' where Elvis Presley would record many of his most famous hits.

A few years later, in 1963, 'Studio A' was built next door.  And between the two, the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, and many more recorded hit records.

With the studios came the musicians, the publishers, the lawyers and others, a clustering that created a music industry.

CAROLYN BRACKETT, National Trust for Historic Preservation:  All of those are still here.  And so you still have that sense of community.

JEFFREY BROWN:  Carolyn Bracket is a Nashville native with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

CAROLYN BRACKETT:  It's something that we have maybe taken for granted, because you can walk by these buildings or drive by a lot of them and not realize that this incredible music was made in that old house or in this small building.

And so a lot of the work that we have done in the last couple of years has been to document the history of Music Row all the way up to the present, what's happening here today.

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