Jamey Johnson Intends to Fight Studio A Eviction
Jamey Johnson is joining the campaign to preserve Nashville's famous RCA Studio A, which has been bought by Brentwood developer Tim Reynolds, and is scheduled to be demolished. But for Johnson, the battle is personal. The singer-songwriter rents space in the historic building, and says he won't vacate the premises without a fight.
"It’s a matter of prayer and faith," Johnson tells the Nashville Scene. "And it’s also a matter of getting the community organized. Nashville’s music fan club -- and I’m talking about all music, not just country music, but all music -- Nashville’s music fan club needs to come together and organize and get a clear plan. Once we have a clear plan of action, it’s gonna be easy to walk through the steps and save this building."
The building tenants, who include musician Ben Folds, were given an eviction letter earlier this month, saying everyone needed to be out of the building by Dec. 1. But the 'In Color' singer says he, along with several other artists, including Keith Urban, will continue to fight until the last possible moment.
"We know fundamentally we’re correct, and that we should preserve this building," Johnson maintains. "And if it’s up to us in this building to do that, then it’s our role and it’s our mission. I don’t intend on just pulling up and walking away. I intend on sticking it out all the way until November the 30th, until the last possible second. There’s always an opportunity. I don’t put anything above God."
Johnson says the legendary studio, which played host to dozens of iconic artists, including the Oak Ridge Boys, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson and Hank Williams, Jr. among others, is still a vital part of the music community.
"We still make records here," Johnson maintains. "A couple of years ago I recorded an album [with] the Blind Boys of Alabama, and we recorded it right here in this room. When I moved to town almost 15 years ago, the first place I ever recorded anything -- the first studio I ever recorded my voice on a track was in this building -- and today I still mix my records in this building, and I still track my records in this room."
While the Alabama native understands Reynolds' role, saying, "He has every right to go through town and buy up whatever piece of property he wants and do whatever he wants to with it," Johnson adds that RCA Studio A remains a vital part of the Nashville community.
"If the building didn’t matter, we’d all be recording at the house," he notes. "We wouldn’t leave the house, we’d bring all our equipment and set it up somewhere in our living room and just make a record. You can get the sound anywhere. You don’t get the chills except when you walk into this building and you’re sittin’ here thinking about, 'Man, Ray Charles recorded 'Georgia' in this building.' Dolly Parton has recorded in here. Chet Atkins. Waylon Jennings. There are so many people over the years that have built and defined their careers based on the music they recorded right here in this room. And if that didn’t matter, we wouldn’t be here today. So it does matter. And since it matters, we’re in it till the end."