"Southern Sound Scenes", Photographs by Forrest Old
Last spring, my friend Rob Chrane and I traveled through the American South to some of the landmark recording studios located in the Muscle Shoals area, Memphis and Nashville. In the studios we saw some of the instruments played by Aretha Franklin and Bob Seger with evidence of their work on "Natural Woman" and "Old Time Rock and Roll" echoing through history. A humorous aside was witnessing the bathroom where Keith Richards finished his work on "Wild Horses". Dozens more artists from Duane Allman to Wilson Pickett left their mark as well. Moving on to Memphis, we visited Sun Studios where Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis performed their first masterpieces. Subsequently, we moved on to Nashville where we saw the Ryman Auditorium, a one-time home of the Grand Ole Opry and the famed Studio A soundstage where RCA recorded everything from country acts to rock and full-blown orchestral soundtracks.
The history of recording in America is coming to a crossroads with the advent of digital recording. These elaborate studios are no longer needed to record the music that can be input on to a glowing computer screen. It was our pleasure to have witnessed some of the sonic artifacts that remain in Southern Sound Scenes captured on our voyage.