Ardent Studios is a time capsule thousands of miles below the earth’s surface…or at least that’s the way it feels every time I have the privilege of walking through the door. I love everything about it. The smell (which they should bottle and sell in both spray and rear view mirror hanging formats) the random echoing conversations you catch the beginning, middle, or end of that make you stop walking and pause for brief reflection on what was just said, the ridiculousness that is the way that on any given day some super famous person is just roaming the halls.
And that’s all before you start setting up your gear because you’ve gotten the magical phone call from Rachel Hurley that you are scheduled to play The Ardent Sessions!
We setup in studio C, which is my personal favorite of the 3 studios at Ardent. It’s the furthest away from the “hubbub.” For being a decade Memphis music person with mixed reviews, to be able to be on sacred ground with the ghosts of greatness all in the name of rock ‘n’ roll, is pretty f@#$*&% cool. We had a wonderful turnout of close friends, family, and fans that thought they were at a different band’s session…ha.
We played rock ‘n’ roll and it felt like a really rad sleepover or lock-in or like we were in a tree fort planning our late night invasion of wherever the girls we knew were (which we would always chicken out of and I never had a tree fort). Somewhere between the Goonies and walking around Hobby Lobby (which I love) is the best way I can describe the feeling of playing the Ardent Sessions. I guess what I’m getting at is it felt right and good and like home and, I’m sure all other performing artists can relate, rarely ever happens.
I’ve spent many unforgettable hours in Studio C. I always tell my friends or anyone that will listen that I want to either a: in the middle of the night, hire a crew to airlift all of studio C and set it in a super secret location, where I would spend the rest of my days recording and eating (if they still had snacks…c’mon guys!) mini Oreos, mixed nuts, and Cheez-its or b: hire an amazing studio architect and Hollywood set designer to build an exact replica of it.
The layout, the feel, the lighting, and again…the smell is all just perfect and it pulls out of me the best I have to offer the world in music. Most artists either never find that place or kind of do And…..they film it and put it on internet radio for you after your Disney experience! Like those rides where they take your picture at the scariest moment and then sell you your picture of your ugly face and your family’s ugly faces to you in a frame for $30, surely that’s not what Walt had in mind.
- Jamie Randolph