Auerbach and Carney just received six Grammy nominations - tied for third most among all nominees behind Eminem (10) and Bruno Mars (seven). Their song "Tighten Up" is No. 1 on Billboard's Rock chart and they are the critics' darlings as the early year-end best lists are released. The band's sixth album, "Brothers," recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala., was considered among the year's best. Rolling Stone placed it second on its 2010 list, Amazon ranked it third, Time seventh and NPR hailed it as well. The love has been universal.
Video: The Black Keys, "Tighten Up"
"That's new for us," Auerbach said. "We sort of used to get that kind of like indie record store clerk vote, you know what I mean?"
Auerbach was familiar with Nashville after frequent childhood visits with his father, an antique dealer, and found it had everything he was looking for - a family atmosphere in which to raise his daughter, and music that served as the soundtrack for his childhood.
"Every time I'd go I'd see some guitar player that would blow my mind," Auerbach said. "(I'd) go see The Don Kelley Band and that guy consistently has just the most amazing guitar player playing with him. That's always fun. And then the Station Inn to see bluegrass. I mean I was raised on bluegrass music. So that's just always a thrill for me."
Auerbach has almost completed a new studio he modeled after "the old classic rooms, the old rooms that I love." "Every major city I go to I've pretty much been to all the major studios, you know," Auerbach said. "I like to always poke my head in and check it out. It's really nice on the inside. It looks like a jail from the outside."
Like White's thriving operation, Auerbach's studio will be in downtown Nashville. It won't have the public component that Third Man Records has with its record store and concert space. But like Third Man, Auerbach's studio will become a nucleus around which other acts will circle. Auerbach is a busy producer and he says he'll also lend the space to friends for their own projects.
"I think just moving there and building a studio is investing. It certainly feels that way, you know," Auerbach said. "And I've got a lot of friends in the community. I know that I'm going to be doing a lot of business there, making a lot of music there."
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