Chuck Ainlay at RCA Studio BNashville, TN (October 29, 2008)–The tracking of RCA’s Elvis Christmas Duets presented a unique opportunity for Belmont audio engineering students to assist, observe and interact with top engineer/producer Chuck Ainlay. Released earlier this month, the album features modern artists singing along with Elvis on his Christmas songs, including many originally recorded in 1956 at RCA Studio B.
The process included re-recording the instruments for the songs that were originally recorded in mono, then blending the two recordings together. Ainlay chose to record at RCAB because the historic studio “has the vibe” of the project and helped him achieve his goal of “capturing the sonic space of studios of that day.”
Belmont students were exposed to top recording talent including legends such as Pig Robbins, the Jordanaires, and stars such as Wynonna Judd, Martina McBride, and Carrie Underwood. “The details and inner workings of the sessions and label objectives were easily accessible, offering a clear view into the entire production,” explained studio manager Luke Gilfeather. “Students observed microphone and equipment selection and technique, on the fly production decisions, and adaptation of last-minute changes by the label.
Student engineer Art Lindman said, “I especially liked the days that the Jordanaires recorded, because they told stories about Elvis that I had heard so many times before, but they were actually there when it happened.”
Several Belmont students also had the opportunity to assist on a track for Bobby Bare Jr.’s upcoming Shel Silverstein tribute recorded at RCA Studio B with the group My Morning Jacket and producer Gary Pazcosa.
Bare and Ainlay are both former students of Bob Mulloy, who developed the renowned music business program that is now Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business. An additional benefit to Belmont students, would-be proceeds from these projects will be donated to the Mulloy scholarship fund in appreciation of using RCAB.
Historic RCA Studio B, “Home of 1,000 Hits,” is operated as a joint educational initiative of The Mike Curb Family Foundation, Belmont University, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.