Making Music History,
Where Music History Was Made
In 2012, Southern Ground was searching for a small studio space in Nashville to record and produce records for Southern Ground Artists. When we stumbled upon the site that would later become our home, we couldn't have fathomed the rich, musical history that had lived here for just over a century.
Located at the foot of Nashville's music row, the building that houses Southern Ground Nashville was originally built between 1897 and 1903, and served as the Addison Avenue Cumberland Presbyterian Church until the mid-1950s.
After a brief stint as a VFW Post, the facility was purchased by Fred Foster, owner of famed recording company Monument Records, and transformed into Monument Studio in 1968. Managed at the time by now-legendary engineers Mort Thomassen and Tommy Strong, many fabled country recordings were produced in this era, including Kris Kristofferson's first three albums.
In 1975, the studio was purchased by Chip Young, renamed Young'un Sound and permitted to continue its tradition of pumping out classic Nashville recordings well into the 1980s. Later, Al Jolson, Jr., son of the famous performer Al Jolson, purchased the studio and dubbed it with yet another new moniker: Masterlink Studio. It was during this era that the building transformed into a high-tech facility specializing in audio for video remixing, including mixes for TNN (Hee Haw, CMT, etc.)
In the 1990s and 2000s, the walls of Masterlink witnessed a number of celebrated recordings, including that of Neil Young's "Prairie Wind" album. But due to his ailing health, Jolson was forced to shut the studio down in 2010. It sat vacant for nearly two years, and, at one point, was in serious danger of becoming a Mexican restaurant.
Here's where we come in.
When Southern Ground acquired the studio in 2012, we began by renovating the now 100-year-old building to restore much of its original character.
We were also lucky enough to inherit some of the classic recording gear that Masterlink left behind, including a Neve V3 and SSL 4000G+ console, 48 tracks of 2" analog tape, Ampex ATR-102 master 2-track recorder and vintage Neumann U47/U48 microphones (perhaps better known as The Beatles microphone).
Thanks to our new location, incredible on-site talent and the impeccable taste in recording equipment of those who came before us, we now have the ability to efficiently produce Southern Ground Artists albums from start to finish, using a hybrid of classic analog and modern digital technology, all under one roof.