Pleasantly sitting before a hot cup of coffee, I allow my mind to venture back to the first day I set foot in Ardent Studios. The profound reputation of the musical genius that has been captured at Ardent was present in my mind, but even more so was the role Ardent played in nurturing young and talented artist in the Memphis community by offering recording services in exchange for live shows at the studio’s many events throughout the year.
I was lucky enough to be one of the local musicians who was welcomed at Ardent Studios by Elizabeth Montgomery Brown to provide the entertainment for one of those fine and fabulous events. I had been on tour and returned home to Memphis to find that Hurricane Elvis, a storm of A-line winds, had torn across the Midtown area destroying several homes. Brilliant minds gathered together after the disaster to hold a benefit show for the victims of the storm. I performed and in exchange for my performance a year later I decide to use the full day of studio time Ardent had given to me to record with my former band, Bella Sun.
I remember walking into the studio feeling nervous like I was going to pick up a lottery check. It meant so much to me to have one of my first true studio performances at such a renowned studio. The was such magic in finding a studio at that time that had a pristine tape machine. I made myself at home with hot teas, honey, and fast food from Kwik Chek across the street and slipped into the wood floors with comfort in song!
A few years past, and I had taught myself to play the guitar. Low and behold, I developed a collection of new, solo tunes and Ardent was open for a full day of time. The same nervous feeling came like lighting through my entire body as I set foot in the door. Looking around and the photos on the wall my eyes fell upon Jim Dickinson in his younger years. The thought of those who have walked those same halls gave me the confidence I needed to find my peace. I calmly set up my camp in the same studio I’d been in years before.
I spent the entire day laying down guitar and banjo tracks with multiple voices that had been bouncing around my head for years. I left that evening with the songs in my hands. As usual, when I listened to the recording in my car on the way home, a sense of pure gratitude washed over every bone and through every cell in my body. I found myself truly grateful that I was able to turn a few corners, drive up a few blocks and through a few red lights to get to those eight hours in that little wooden room to attempting to capture and tame a sound.
In passing, I was greeted with an invitation by Rachel Hurley to perform at her Ardent Presents series. I shared the night with the Harmony Brothers. Rachel’s sessions was the first time I stepped into Ardent with no hesitation, no nervousness, or no fears. I was warmly welcomed into a different studio this time and had a fine feeling of being in my own living room. The performance was video taped and posted online for the world to see. Since the release of the that performance, people from all over the world have written me letters stating how much they enjoyed watching my music performed at Ardent Studios.
From the local artist to the national and international stars, Ardent Studios continues to be a gift that keeps on giving!”