Ardent Studios will officially launch a year long celebration of its 50th anniversary at SXSW this week.
Since its founding in 1966, Ardent has released more than 100 gold and platinum albums and singles over its storied history, including works by Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Isaac Hayes, R.E.M., Stevie Wonder, Skillet, Waylon Jennings, Big Star, The White Stripes, North Mississippi Allstars and countless others.
The SXSW panel, titled Marking Music History: 50 Years of Ardent Studios, will take place on Thursday, March 17, at 12:30pm to 1:30pm at the Austin Convention Center. David Fricke, senior editor and writer for Rolling Stone, will moderate a panel that includes Jimmie Vaughan (Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Vaughan Brothers), Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, The Black Crowes), Joe Hardy, producer/engineer (ZZ Top, The Replacements, Steve Earle), Jody Stephens (Big Star, Golden Smog, Those Pretty Wrongs), and Adam Hill, producer/engineer (Big Star, Jack White, Klaus Voormann).
Additionally, a showcase is also set for Thursday, March 17 (doors at 7 p.m.), at C-Boy’s Heart and Soul that will feature Ardent Studios recording artists Jimmie Vaughan and friends, Greyhounds, and Low Cut Connie.
Since the 2014 passing of Ardent’s legendary owner/founder John Fry and long time engineer and producer John Hampton, the company’s momentum has been maintained by longtime senior employees Jody Stephens and Elizabeth Montgomery.
Ardent’s co-owner, Patrick Scholes, recently named chairman, will continue to explore growth opportunities for the studio, expand its vibrant list of artists, and focus on accelerating investments in the company’s label operations.
The indie, vintage-tinged Ardent Music label is now under the newly expanded leadership of Reed Turchi, who has operated his own label prior to working with Ardent. In early 2016, Ardent Music will release two already widely anticipated new albums, Greyhounds’ Change of Pace on April 1 and Those Pretty Wrongs’ self-titled debut album on May 13.
Over the course of the 50th anniversary year, the company plans to announce several initiatives that will usher in a new era of expansion, including a promotion to give free studio time to select initiatives and non-profits in the region surrounding Memphis that seek to bring a positive influence in the community.