It goes without saying that Memphis, Tennessee is a special town. The river is wide, the air is humid, the BBQ is sweet, and the music is so damn deep that you’re afraid you may drown. Seriously, the town is just magical. We could sit here all day naming all the great people and places that make Memphis what it is but one place in particular needs your help right now: Ardent Studios!
Ardent’s history goes back some 40+ years and in that time, the studio and its label, Ardent Records, have been a part of some truly timeless music. A short list includes: Isaac Hayes, Led Zeppelin, Big Star, Alex Chilton, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Cramps, ZZ Top, Booker T and the MGs, Cat Power, and the list goes on and on. Really.
Now, allow me to introduce John Fry, Ardent’s founder and sustaining force. John has been nurturing artists and bands since he was a teenager recording friends in his granny’s sewing room. John and everyone at Ardent have continued this history with a great series called The Ardent Sessions where they invite local and touring acts into one of their studios to give a live performance that is recorded and offered to the world for free. Have a look at Ardent’s YouTube Channel for some great clips from artists like Valerie June, Jumpback Jake, Rainy Day Manual, Star and Micey, Susan Marshall and more.
Right now Ardent Presents needs your help in raising money to continue operating this great series. To offer your support, you can become a “backer” via their Kickstarter campaign. But be quick, as there are only 9 days left!
“Rachel Hurley and I decided to kick off The Ardent Sessions on BreakThruRadio.com 3 years ago this December. The idea was to give up-and-coming bands some internet radio exposure, and to give them an introduction to the Memphis music tradition and current scene by performing in front of a small live audience in one of our studios.
When possible, I enjoy combining that experience with a personal tour of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, as Stax is such a huge part of Ardent’s early history. It’s always fun for me to meet these young artists, and I am always amazed at how much they know about what all of us were doing in Memphis almost 50 years ago, not to mention how much they seem to enjoy some of that music.
Although this may seem like a new idea, it really goes back to the early 70s at Ardent. That’s when we had a pair of 15kHz equalized telephone lines to WMC-FM100, and we would originate live broadcasts from our Studio A with artists like Lynard Skynard, Pure Prairie League, Martin Mull, Big Star, Cargoe, The Groundhogs, Stories, Hookfoot, Elton John’s recording band on Tumbleweed connection, Ry Cooder with JLD, Wishbone Ash, Nazareth, and Charlie Daniels.
Yes, I do mean live – no delay, no opportunity to bleep or re-mix – no need to, really.
We started The Ardent Sessions because we thought it would be helpful to young musicians, and we have managed to keep it totally free of cost to the artists.
However, in the current economic conditions, this is becoming harder to do. At the moment we have no offsetting advertising income from the shows, so we thought we might ask fans to help us keep this a free service by donating to our Kickstarter campaign. Let us know what you think.