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What is it about Nashville?


Kramer Ferrington III.

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I've never been to America, so I have to go by my impressions here, so bear with me.

 

Anyway, I get the feeling that Nashville session guys are meant to be the top of the very best.

 

Whenever critics discuss either Dylan's "Nashville Skyline" or The Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo", there's always this implied tone of "and then they got SERIOUS about music and recorded in Nashville". Admittedly, these albums are nearly 30 years old.

 

Are Nashville session guys THAT good? What do you get in Nashville that you don't get in LA or NYC or London?

 

It's an honest question, I'm not trying to flame country music or anything.

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It's because that is the home of the Grand 'Ol Opry. That is an old concert hall where musicians went to play live, on stage and it became like the Fillmore East of Country Music. If you played the Grand 'Ol Opry, you had arrived...Musicians and wannabe musicians migrated to Nashville to try to get noticed and get a spot on the Grand 'Ol Opry.

The first recording studio was opened on what is now Music Row in Nashville in 1957 by RCA. That's where Elvis Presley recorded his first record. Chet Atkins was heavily involved in those early recording days, more as a recording executive than a guitarist.

 

The Grand 'Ol Oprey rose out of Nashville's first radio station WSM, which was founded in the 1920's. The station began holding a barn dance, and that within a few years (around 1930) precipitated the opening of the original Grand 'Ol Opry.

 

The original C&W style ended up blending with what was the called "race" music (Rhythm and Blues), and became the Rockabilly style of people like Elvis Presley. That is the roots of modern Rock and Roll.

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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Originally posted by Sasquatch51:

The first recording studio was opened on what is now Music Row in Nashville in 1957 by RCA. That's where Elvis Presley recorded his first record.

Uhmmm... ok, but are the sesssion guys there a cut above their counterparts in other major "music" cities like LA and NYC?
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Yeah, that's where the best go because that's where the work is in C&W session work...that's where the majority of the Country recording occurs...there are about 8 or 10 major recording studios on Music Square West....ASCAP, RCA, Sony, United Artists, Mercury...and others. Plus, BMI is located there. If C&W session players want to work, they move to Nashville. By the way, they record more than just C&W in Nashville, too.

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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The cost of living in Nashville is significantly lower than in NY or LA, plus the pace of life is more laid back. As a result we get a lot of LA & NY session players (as well as producers & engineers) who end up moving here (Glenn Worf, Craig Krampf & George Massenburg come to mind). Cost of living and ease of access (we are in the middle of the country after all) also make it an appealing place for people starting out in the music bisiness to give it a shot.

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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IMHO- Here's the bottom line.

 

You'll find GREAT rock and "West Coast jazz" players in LA....

 

You'll find GREAT rock and straight ahead jazz players in New York.

 

You'll find GREAT blues players in Chicago...

 

But the Nashville guys can PLAY IT ALL. If you really want to hear HOT LICKS...Nashville is where the big guns go. "Country" guitarists are the MOST VERSATILE...period. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it....

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Originally posted by dave251:

IMHO- Here's the bottom line.

 

You'll find GREAT rock and "West Coast jazz" players in LA....

 

You'll find GREAT rock and straight ahead jazz players in New York.

 

You'll find GREAT blues players in Chicago...

 

But the Nashville guys can PLAY IT ALL. If you really want to hear HOT LICKS...Nashville is where the big guns go. "Country" guitarists are the MOST VERSATILE...period. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it....

Man, I gotta go with 'ya on that!

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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Originally posted by Sasquatch51:

The first recording studio was opened on what is now Music Row in Nashville in 1957 by RCA. That's where Elvis Presley recorded his first record.

Uh....Elvis first recordings were done in Memphis, at Sam Phillips' Sun Studio. As was Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis....

 

There were recording studios in Nashville before 1957 too....

 

I will agree that rockabilly is a descendant of blues AND country though...and Sam Phillips deserves a lot of the credit for that, too.

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Originally posted by dave251:

Originally posted by Sasquatch51:

The first recording studio was opened on what is now Music Row in Nashville in 1957 by RCA. That's where Elvis Presley recorded his first record.

Uh....Elvis first recordings were done in Memphis, at Sam Phillips' Sun Studio. As was Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis....

 

There were recording studios in Nashville before 1957 too....

 

I will agree that rockabilly is a descendant of blues AND country though...and Sam Phillips deserves a lot of the credit for that, too.

You're right...my memory is fading.....and I think that was actually in Memphis, not Nashville. Elvis did make some of his early recordings at the RCA Studio in Nashville, though.

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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Top Nashville studio musicians are that good.

 

Search out the CD "Hot Wired" by Brent Mason, or "Two Lane Blacktop" by Bill Hullett. Also anything by Redd Vollkaert, who's an Austin guy but has played Nashville dates, including touring with Merle Haggard. These guys will make you want to throw your guitar out the window and throw yourself after it.

 

Oh, yeah - also "Stratosphere Boogie" by Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West. Sick.

 

 

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I don't have first hand knowledge of Nashville, LA, or NY studio scenes. But I imagine that they are all of very high quality. People would argue all day which is better but I don't think there is a definative answer. But Nashville is a much smaller town than the other 2. It is known for its music row and there are a lot of world class mucicians concentrated in a very small area.

 

Alot of people move to Nashville to pursue a music career. Especially if it is country or roots oriented. LA and NY certainly have there scenes but musicians kind of get diluted amongst all the other cultural things happening. But I would bet that all three cities would be a great place to live if you wanted to hear the best live music of any genre on any night of the week. You can probably pop into a bar any night of the week and here a world class unknown ( hey or even famous) player for little or no cover charge. People playing cutting edge music in a small intimate atmosphere.

 

Living in Dallas its not like we don't have good music. Its just that it would be hard to find something great everynight of the week. If I keep my open I can I can find something to see most weekends, but the big 3 would seem like heaven in comparison. I am a homebody and all my friends live here or I would be tempted to move just for the listening. I probably would never get another gig though. I would be embarrased to play in front of people who were used to hearing such high class artists.

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Originally posted by Vince C.:

Anyway, I get the feeling that Nashville session guys are meant to be the top of the very best.

 

Are Nashville session guys THAT good? What do you get in Nashville that you don't get in LA or NYC or London?

 

It's an honest question, I'm not trying to flame country music or anything.

I wouldn't say they are better, but the way records are made in Nashville is very different from LA, or NY.

 

In LA they layer the records where you'll have one guy playing acoustic, then electric, etc.

In Nashville they have the whole band in the studio at the same time, with one or two guys on acoustic, a couple on electric, etc. They all record at the same time, and often the first or second take makes the record.

 

But I wouldn't say Brent Mason is any better than MT or Landau. All three are awesome.

www.myspace.com/christondre
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Originally posted by Sasquatch51:

Originally posted by dave251:

IMHO- Here's the bottom line.

 

You'll find GREAT rock and "West Coast jazz" players in LA....

 

You'll find GREAT rock and straight ahead jazz players in New York.

 

You'll find GREAT blues players in Chicago...

 

But the Nashville guys can PLAY IT ALL. If you really want to hear HOT LICKS...Nashville is where the big guns go. "Country" guitarists are the MOST VERSATILE...period. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it....

Man, I gotta go with 'ya on that!
EXACTLY!! what he said! :thu:
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From another post of min:

 

A 73 year-old guitar mentor of mine who has played guitar for 67 years has taught a lot of folks. One guy he taught got the inkling to head to Nashville and give it a shot as a guitarist. My mentor gave him the following avice:

 

"Drive to Nashville. As soon as you enter the city limits, stop at the first gas sation you come to. If you can outplay the guy pumping your gas, you might have a chance."

 

What he was saying is that EVERYBODY in Nashville is trying to make it in music...

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Originally posted by ellwood:

Originally posted by Sasquatch51:

Originally posted by dave251:

 

But the Nashville guys can PLAY IT ALL. If you really want to hear HOT LICKS...Nashville is where the big guns go. "Country" guitarists are the MOST VERSATILE...period. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it....

Man, I gotta go with 'ya on that!
EXACTLY!! what he said! :thu:
OK guys, don't shoot me here, but I have to disagree. I've never heard a country guy play rock convincingly, and country players are just plain awful at blues. :(

 

BTW I'm not counting Dan Huff, cuz what he play ain't country... ;)

www.myspace.com/christondre
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Nashville has attracted a large contingency of great musical talent, across the board. No matter where you go on a given day, you can find music being made by great players, singers, writers, and recordists in all genre.

 

Bob Ohlsson (Motown mix master) Michael Wagener (Alice Cooper, Ozzy, etc...) and a lot of other people from various musical disciplines now call Nashville home.

 

You can attend a song writers circle to see not only your friends trying out new material, but guys who have had Number One hits trying out their material, right there for free.

 

The major music publishing firms have offices located there.

 

The major performance rights organisations have offices there.

 

Three major colleges with schools focusing on the recording industry are there.

 

There are more high quality studios in the metro area than probably any place else in the world.

 

The people are very, very nice.

 

The climate is quite comfortable.

 

I try to go once or twice a year. Great place. I ALWAYS have a good time. If I was not so tied into my own personal trips right now, I would consider moving there.

 

And yes, it is true that there are 1352 guitar players in Nashville whi can pick more notes than the number of ants on a Tennessee anthill. and every mothers son can play twice as better'n I will; and I'm glad I got a chance to say somthing about the music and the mothers from Nashville.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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"

And yes, it is true that there are 1352 guitar players in Nashville whi can pick more notes than the number of ants on a Tennessee anthill. and every mothers son can play twice as better'n I will; and I'm glad I got a chance to say somthing about the music and the mothers from Nashville. BILL that could be a song..wanna co-write on it with me!

 

:D

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Well, I can't say I'm in the loop of session players, but 10 years of living here has been educational.

 

The key to why Nashville session players get so much well deserved press is twofold.

 

First, everything that Bill said is true. Combine that with Gruupi's assertion that Nashville's size has a lot to do with it and you're on to something!

 

Nashville is very small, physically and socially. It's hard not to run into people in the business anywhere in town. Music Row, while still the heart of music production in the region, is a tiny segment of the recording community in Nashville. A few miles away in Berry Hill, is what I've affectionately called Music Row Jr. Fifteen miles to the south is Franklin, Tn, which in the past 10 years has exploded with growth, much of it famous country stars, producers and engineers all looking for more rural surroundings without being in the middle of nowhere. Franklin has become a big (if not bigger) mecca for recording studios than Nashville, but they largely exist to support the record industry, so I doubt Music Row will ever disappear. That doesn't account for the rest of the studios in other parts of the Metro Nashville area and surrounding counties either.

 

Nashville is the city with the highest per capita of houses of worship (buckle of the bible belt) but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the same is true of recording studios.

 

Second, Nashville has long been Tin Pan South. Writers rule this town. They are the lifeblood for many artists who don't write and even those that do. And writers in this town make appointments with one another, with artists who write, etc. so collaboration is the norm. Why does this matter?

 

This makes for a very close knit community of writers, performers and session players. When you play on as many records as these guys do you either are at the top of your game or you disappear quickly. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Country Music has drifted from Western Music and over the past 20 years this spread has grown exponentially.

 

Nashville is the heart of a musical view of life known as country which depicts the state of society through the words and melody of its' song.

 

There's little done musically that can't be incorporated into Country Music because of its' reflective nature. Beit rock, jazz, blues, classical, etc.. it all gets played out in country songs as they explain, poke fun at or support our or for that matter anybody's way of life.

 

Country music is like the Reader's Digest of musical catagories and Nashville is the largest production zone in North America for this.

 

Not a wonder so many people head there for help or inspiration and why so many hired guns have shacked up down there.

I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys, I'm new to your forum and I actually stumbled across this thread while looking for album credits for Brent Mason's "Hot Wired" Album. I knew most of the players but I wasn't for sure who was on KB's.

 

Well any way I've lived and made a living here in Nashville for over 25 years I play guitar and sing and I have a Studio. I agree with every single comment on this thread. I think there are a lot of reasons Nashville is the Mecca for guitarists.

 

I moved here to do session work and I came from the west coast up in Sacramento. It became painfully clear that I would never become rich and famous playing sessions in Sacramento (shoot it didn't happen here either :-).

 

I think that one of the things that make the Nashville players stand out is their ability to play a lot of different kinds of music. I once asked Al Bruno what made him branch out in Jazz and some of the way out stuff he can play and he said boredom.

 

I think that happens a lot of pickers here in town so we reach out and start playing other kinds of music. When you play country music 5 days a week in the studio 6 or 7 hrs a day and then go to a night gig and play it for another 5 or 6 hrs after a while you want to start playing other stuff.

 

So after 10 to 12 hrs a day playing you would think I'd want to go home and watch TV but no yrs ago I use to go to after hours clubs and play Western Swing and old country all night until dawn. Now that was in my younger days but I can remember many many times all of us would play all day then all night then go to someones house and jam until it was time to go home and take a shower and work in the studio. Well after a few days of that then we would rest up for the rest of the week but come the weekend we were right back at it.

 

So in canse you didn't get my drift another reason there are so many good players in town is because they dedicate every waking minute to music.

 

Now I didn't say I was one of the players that stuck out as a monster but I sure have a lot of friends that do and I have so much fun picking with them.

 

Well those are a few ideas I had on the Nashville thread and I hope to get to know all you guys better as we go on.

Stratguy
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