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Ardent Sessions – Ardent Studios
Howdy everyone. Dirtfoot is just getting back from Memphis, TN where we recorded at Ardent Studios for an episode of “Ardent Sessions”. Each month, Ardent runs a 1 hr show on www.breakthruradio.com called “Ardent Sessions” and Dirtfoot is honored to be part of this historic studio and this great show.
We arrived at Ardent on Friday, Jan 23 where we were met by Rachel Hurley. Rachel caught one of our shows at Otherlands in Memphis and wrote a really cool review of us. We approached her about writing a review of our new album, Bone Sessions, and she said “I’ll do you one better”. Rachel works at Ardent and puts together the Ardent Sessions. She set up the whole thing and even made sure we had the chance to meet the owner and founder, John Fry. Mr Fry started recording as a teenager in his home and founded Ardent in 1966. Working closely with Stax Records, they recorded artist like Isaac Hayes, Booker T. and the MGs, The Bar-Kays, Johnnie Taylor, Rufus Thomas, and Albert King. As the studio prospered, they founded their own label and signed Big Star. Since the 70’s, Ardent has worked with bands like James Taylor, ZZ Top, R.E.M., George Thorogood, The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, The White Stripes, 3 Doors Down, Cat Power, North Mississippi Allstars, The Raconteurs, and award-winning music for such films as Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan. To date, Ardent has amassed over 70 gold and platinum albums and singles.
John took us to the Stax Records Museum and we took the tour of the facility. Mr Fry was our tour guide as he told us about how Stax was founded and how it basically pulled talent from the local neighborhoods to build its initial roster. Artists like Aretha Franklin, Booker T, the Bar Kays and many more all lived within blocks of the studio and the building quickly became the focal point of music in the area. Of course we all know what happened with the artists and their amazing songs. Stax lasted until 1974 and with the help of local music lovers, the Stax Museum was built in 2003. Check out more about Stax Records at http://www.soulsvilleusa.com.
We headed back to Ardent studios and had the privilege to record in Studio A, where most of the bands above recorded their albums. This room has an amazing sound and you could feel the vibes from all the years of great music recorded there. We worked with some great engineers and crew who really helped us feel comfortable. We were able to invite some friends to attend and at 8:00pm the recording got started. We played through 13-14 songs including a brand new song that very few people have heard. We recorded songs off the first album like Rest My Head, My Girl, Time to be Your Friend Now and songs off the Bone Sessions album like Cast My Plans, Footsteps, Rhinestone Ring and Gonna Get Ya. In between each song, Matt told a little story about the songs, their meaning and the inspiration to write them. We wrapped up the show about 9:15pm and then packed and headed to our good friends, Mike and Jen for a great after party. This was truly an amazing day.
The show is now airing at Breakthruradio.com. Also, a 3 camera video was shot of the show and we will have that edited and completed soon. We can’t wait to see and hear the show and hope you all will enjoy it.
We do want to thank Rachel Hurley, John Fry and Ardent Studios, Mike and Jen Larrivee, and all the folks that came out to help make this such a great night. We had a blast and learned so much about the history of Memphis music. We can’t wait to get back to Memphis for the Folk Alliance and will see you all then.
Keep on Footin!