Songwriter Ben Folds has sounded the alarms. Studio A in Nashville's old RCA Building – which Chet Atkins built in 1964, and has hosted the likes of Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton and George Strait – had been sold to a local developer. Folds, who had rented, renovated and recorded in the historic space, penned an emotional letter aimed straight at Nashville's heart. "The community needs to chip in and realize that if that's gone, and a tipping point occurs, then we don't have Music City anymore," Folds tells Billboard.
Folds, 47, says he has reached out to musician friends like Elton John, a noted fan of country music. "We've had an overwhelming response," he says. "It's nice to see concern for the space." With the support of other artists including Amanda Palmer, Folds intends to meet with the Country Music Hall of Fame, BMI and ASCAP, hoping they could persuade buyer Tim Reynolds that there are alternatives to tearing down the studio for redevelopment. (Reynolds did not respond to Billboard's requests for comment). "It's time to be utterly pragmatic and figure out what this means for city planning," says Folds.