Friday, September 10, 2010

TVD's The Ardent Sessions Presents: A.J. Roach

"This past February, my friend Raina Rose and I did a tour together from Memphis to Boston, then from Boston to Austin. The first stop on the tour was an in-studio performance / webcast at Ardent Studios in Memphis. Like most people I suppose, the first thing that struck me about Ardent was the number of records by legendary artists hanging on the wall throughout the whole building. At the time, a bartender friend of mine here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn had just turned me on to a fabulous record by an Artist named Chris Bell called 'I Am The Cosmos'. Along with Alex Chilton, Chris Bell was an original member of the band Big Star, but I had never heard any of his solo work. That record sort of blew me away the first time I heard it, so you can imagine how surreal it was for me to find it hanging on the wall of Ardent Studio a short two weeks after first having heard it.

The studio space itself at Ardent is beautifully designed. There is a large kitchen / lounge area in the back and a long hallway leading to a control room which -- through a large glass window -- looks out onto a large, open hardwood-clad studio room. This room is where we recorded the session / webcast.

The session consisted of Raina, myself and another friend of ours, Hunter Paye, each playing a few songs. I was lucky enough to have Raina and some other in-studio friends sing with me on a few of my own songs. My favorite part of performing as a part of the session / webcast at Ardent was the fact that they allow you to bring friends with you and they can sit on the couches in the studio with you while you perform. Robby Hecht, Rebecca Loebe and Betty Soo were all there at the same time as us because they were recording a session just before us, so we got to sit in the studio room and watch them perform and they got to come into the studio and hear us. It really helps foster a sense of community among the artists, and since we had all just come from the annual folk alliance convention held each February in Memphis, it was a natural extension of that community.

Another great thing about doing the session / webcast at Ardent is that afterward, you have a professionally done high quality audio and video recording of your performance. Such high quality production would usually run you hundreds of dollars if not more!

All told it was a great experience and one I'd happily repeat anytime I'm in southwestern Tennessee. Thanks Ardent!"
—A.J. Roach

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