The story of Sound Emporium begins here when Jack Clement moves to Nashville. “Cowboy Jack” already had huge success at Sun Records in Memphis producing artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Charlie Rich. In Nashville, Jack continued his production and publishing work under his company Jack Music.
Desiring a place to call his own, Jack builds Jack Clement Recording Studios (JCRS). The studio, later named Sound Emporium, would be the first of its kind in Nashville. The log books of Jack Clement Recording Studios show the very first week of sessions, including the November 6, 1969 booking by Canadian country artists Ian & Sylvia and Todd Rundgren.
Upon the completion of Studio, Clement begins work to convert the house next door to a second studio. This would become Studio B.
Billboard Magazine publishes a tribute to Jack Clement and his contribution to the music industry. View the entire article here in PDF form. Of particular interest are pictures of the original designs of studios A and B.
With the studios going strong, Jack sets up another studio – Jack’s Tracks, gets inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, and produces a horror movie – “Dear Dead Delilah”.
Jack Clement Recording Studios is sold and the name is changed to Sound Emporium.
Sound Emporium experiences incredible success. Within the walls of Studio B, owner Larry Butler produces acts like Kenny Rogers, Dottie West, Johnny Cash, Don McClean, John Denver, and B.J. Thomas. Garth Fundis becomes known for his work with Don Williams, Keith Whitley, and New Grass Revival. The studio is also graced with artists like REM and Alan Jackson among others.
Garth purchases Sound Emporium and renovations are made. The “A” and “B” buildings are joined together. A lobby and offices are added to the front of the building and Studio B is completely redesigned and rewired. During the 8 months of construction, Studio A remained “online” and was virtually untouched in the renovation.
The success continues at Sound Emporium with artists like Trisha Yearwood, Yo-Yo Ma, Delbert McClinton, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, and Sugarland. Film soundtracks such as O’Brother Where Art Thou, Cold Mountain, and Walk the Line are recorded in Studio A under the guidance of Grammy winning producer T-Bone Burnett. In the last few years Don Williams, Taylor Swift, Patty Griffin, Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Jamey Johnson, and Don Henley have all recorded projects at Sound Emporium.
In 2011 Garth sells the studio to George Shinn, who is the former owner of the NBA franchise the New Orleans Hornets. Shinn moved to Nashville and thought it would be a great way to embrace his new community and give his family full of musicians a place to record. Under the new ownership the studio was remodeled and given a fresh new look – but it is business as usual. We are still making hit records in one of Nashville’s most iconic recording studios.
Addition of new drum booth to A room. The ABC show “Nashville” makes Sound Emporium home base for the recording of the music for this highly acclaimed show.
Expanded our available booking space by adding the very vibey “Studio Z” overdub/mix room. Juanita added her touches with the décor that is paying homage to Cowboy Jack, who passed away this year. The studio requested and was granted a historic marker for Jack Clement Recording Studios from the Historical Commission of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.
Installed a new API Legacy Plus console in the B room along with a complete redo of the wiring and electrical systems. We also built a much requested vocal booth in the control room. We also continued the upgrade of the live room with new acoustic treatments. The Cowboy Jack “hall” of fame was added to the hallway outside of Juanita’s office. The critically acclaimed band, the Alabama Shakes, recorded their 4 time Grammy nominated project Sound & Color in the A room this year. The #1 Dave Cobb produced project from Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free was also recorded in the A room in 2014.
The studio was incredibly busy again this year with projects from many up & coming and legendary artists including Cyndi Lauper, Chris Isaak, Keith Urban, Sturgill Simpson, Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson, Sam Bush, Cole Swindell, Nefesh Mountain, Jimmy Buffett, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Drive By Truckers, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Lindi Ortega, Colony House, Lake Street Dive, and many others!! It was another historic year at the Sound Emporium!
The year started off with the great news that George & Chad Shinn made longtime studio manager, Juanita Copeland, a partner in the ownership of the Sound Emporium! A month later, Sound Emporium projects took home SIX Grammy Awards! The Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color received four, and Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free received two. Critically acclaimed, award-winning music mogul, Pharrell Williams, blocked out the entire studio in June of 2016 to work on an upcoming project.
In the spring of 2017, George Shinn announced his intent to gift the studio to Lipscomb University, who has committed to preserving the history of the studio and allowing it to remain business as usual. Juanita will continue to serve in her role as President/COO/General Manager. The year ended as one of the busiest in recent years! Many amazing projects recorded here in 2017 – Aviici, Will Hoge, Pop Evil, Refresh Mountain, The Blues Traveler, Kacey Musgraves, CAM, The Nashville TV Show, Frankie Ballard, Alison Krauss, Zach Williams, Judah & The Lion, Indie Arie, McCrary Sisters, Cole Swindell, Shane Owens, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Chris Brown, Grant Lee Phillips, Thompson Square, Bebe Buell, among many others! We were also one of the locations used for the interviews for the hit Cinemax show “Tales from the Tour Bus,” produced by Mike Judge.
The year again started off great with a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Album for Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker” album. In March the rock band Pop Evil had their single “Waking Lions” hit #1 on the Active Rock chart! Their self-titled project was recorded here July 2017 with producer Kato Khandwala.
One of the busiest years for the studio included adding the Studio G overdub/mix room, installing a custom made API Legacy AXS console, and recording many more great projects. The 2019 CMA awards were kind enough to honor some top notch Studio Family members Kacey Musgraves (female vocalist of the year, music video of the year), Maren Morris (album of the year) and Jenee’ Fleenor (musician of the year).
Despite a worldwide Pandemic’s impact on our planet, we continued to make incredible music with many of our longtime studio family and ended up with our best year in the history of the studio. Most likely because artists could not tour, but they sure could record!! The magnificent, much anticipated second release by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Raise The Roof,” was recorded in the A room right before the pandemic hit and shut down the world for a time. It will be released in November 2021.