The Castle

The Castle
Built by Capone’s bookmaker John P. Welch and master stonemason Charles Sutton in the late 1920’s and early 30’s, The Castle stands today as one of the finest recording studios in the world. It was conveniently located at a mid-way rest point for Capone’s men as they ran back and forth from Chicago to coastal areas from Miami to New Orleans. John P. Welch claimed it was his retirement location. A picture is said to exist with Scarface himself playing cards on the back porch. The Castle, located in Franklin, Tennessee, sits just off one of their favorite roadways, the Natchez Trace. Originally a 200 acre parcel, today’s 34 acre property backs us to the Harpeth River on its southwest corner… a perfect getaway route if needed. A secret underground exit to the Harpeth is rumored. Perhaps Geraldo Rivera has another “Hoffa” episode to broadcast?

 

The early years of the Castle saw it used as a rest house and gambling meeting place. This was, after all, out in the county away from everything, nestled in farm country. The sidewalk leading to the doors of the Castle tells the tale of this era… hearts and diamonds, a piano, and dealer tables are a few of the decorative stones laid to welcome The Castle’s guests.

The Castle - Sidewalk Stones

After the Williamson Country Police shut it down as a gambling house, the Castle entered a period as a restaurant. Bob Hope and Spencer Tracey signed the guest book of “The Rock Castle Dinner Club”, as some called it, during this period while filming in the area.

 

The Castle then went private, becoming a residence for many years. Then, in 1978, a young musician heard about the sale of the historic home. “Wouldn’t that be a great studio?” mused a close friend. The spark was lit! Jozef Nuyens had traveled the world, performing first as part of The Nuyens Family band with his sister and parents (the real Von Trapp family?) and later with legendary artists like Brenda Lee. The Nuyens Family, led by Jozef Nuyens Jr., purchased the historic site.

 

Jozef’s focus now turned to production and publishing. The Castle was converted to fulfill its true destiny – the first digital recording studio in the South. Jozef, one of the founders of PassAlong Networks, established The Castle as a secluded and creative retreat. Since that time over 300 Gold and Platinum albums have resulted. Even the theme to Monday Night Football with Hank Williams Jr. was recorded here.

Jozef Nuyens
Jozef from 1998 press article

 

People think of the Nashville area as the home of Country music. “Music City” contains many hidden secrets. Perhaps the most notable is that all genres of music call the area home. Artists like Steve Winwood and Peter Frampton have called Nashville home. Over 95% of Christian music is distributed by Labels based in the area. Over the past twenty years, The Castle has hosted every major Country and Christian artist such as Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Faith Hill, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman and many more. A large record industry event hosted by Jozef at The Castle brought Tina Turner and her husband together for the first time. Lionel Ritchie once rented The Castle for six straight months. Whitney Houston, Neil Diamond, BR5-49, LeAnn Rimes, Brian Setzer, and others have found the plaster walls, rich hardwoods, and original rocks of The Castle to bring out a warm rich sound not found in many studios.

The Castle - Control Room A

Control Room A

The Castle - Control Room B

Control Room B

 

The Castle - Green Room

Green Room for Studio B

 

The Castle - Studio A

Studio A

 The Castle - Kitchen with Venetian Glass Tiles

The Kitchen featuring Venetian Glass, installed by Capone’s team

 Hammond B3, Leslie Speaker, and Piano for Studio A

Hammond B3, Leslie Speaker, and Piano for Studio A

 

It is from this special place that we will be producing audiocasts (or “podcasts” if you prefer). Our audiocasts will include interviews with artists, producers, and some of the most interesting “behind the scenes” people you’ll meet. All share a common thread – they see the future of music and have vision to help us get there. Some have already pioneered the way. Others are charting those waters now.

The Castle

Our home for audiocasts from “Can’t Stop The Music” – The Castle

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