As a sixth generation Memphian, Grace Askew decided to steep her new album ‘Scaredy Cat’ (August 11) in the sounds of one of most renowned, hit-producing studios of all time, Sun Studios. “The room, the photographs on the wall, the gear, the worn down corners on the table, the cracks in the ceiling: my heroes made that room the way it is. The energy of that history made our takes a lot more effortless. This is who I am,” she says.
Check out Rolling Stone’s Q&A with Askew: http://www.rollingstone.com/
Recording at Sun Studios presents specific challenges. She says, “I’m a fan of the first take and wanted to get that raw energy.” Askew played and sang live with a band, recording in the small Sun live room straight to tape, so one mistake would mean scratching an entire take. Askew completed recording all but one song in one day, with a second day set aside largely for mixing. “It is mentally and physically exhausting. You put every ounce of yourself into those four hours. It’s a very focused energy,” she adds.
The Memphis Flyer recently did a profile on Matt Ross-Spang, Sun’s engineer who has brought the equipment in the studio to Sam Phillips’ specification. Ross-Spang told the Flyer, "It's becoming exactly like it was in 1956."
Ross-Spang continues, “Everyone has to pay attention to each other instead of themselves. It's a team effort, including me. It's not very forgiving. But I think one of the reasons people come here to do that is because it makes them a better musician… There's so much more on the line. But that makes you play better too.”
The magic continued on camera as Askew returned to Sun last week to tape a forthcoming episode of Sun Studio Sessions for PBS.
Grace Askew Tour Dates.