Thursday, September 29, 2011
(HOUSTON, TX) SugarHill Recording Studios will celebrate its 70th year this October with a co-branded party sponsored by the Producers and Engineers’ Wing of The Recording Academy, Texas Chapter. The public is invited to a special event including tours, refreshments and limited edition gift bags. Thanks extended to our sponsors D’Addario, Good Dog Hot Dogs, Bran Bakes!, Neuro, Houston Press, New Image Networks, Zenfilm, BackstageOL.com, Via Colori and more. Event details: Saturday, October 8, 2011, 4-7pm at SugarHill Studios, 5626 Brock Street, Houston, Texas 77023. FREE. RSVP to 713.926.4431 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 1941 by Bill Quinn, the studio (named Gold Star Studios) was used for recording radio commercials and birthday greetings. By 1945, Quinn ventured into audio engineering, establishing Gold Star Records and a pressing plant. Despite shellac shortages due to the war, he continued, becoming the first independent label in Texas devoted to regional roots music.
The legacy began in 1946 when fiddler Harry Choates recorded the Cajun classic "Jole Blon". Quinn also worked with blues icon Lightnin' Hopkins during these early years. In the 1950s, the studio hosted Pappy Dailey's Starday & D labels, George Jones cut "Why Baby Why?" and immortalized the Big Bopper singing "Chantilly Lace”. Others included Willie Nelson, Bobby Bland and Arnett Cobb. The 1960s saw the debut of the Sir Douglas Quintet, Roy Head, and BJ Thomas. International Artists label recorded Texas psych legends The 13th Floor Elevators, The Red Krayola and Bubble Puppy.
Then, Crazy Cajun producer Huey P. Meaux bought the studios. Meaux, christening the studio with the name SugarHill, became famous for his work with Freddy Fender and Clifton Chenier. During this era, the studio also tracked notable artists such as Ricky Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Kinky Friedman, Todd Rundgren and Lucinda Williams.
Modern Music Ventures purchased SugarHill in the mid-1980s and the studios became the home base for some highly successful Tejano artists, among them Little Joe y la Familia, Emilio Navaira, La Fiebre, Xcelencia and Johnny Rodriquez. The owners established a label called Discos MM and scored hit records with Elsa Garcia and The Hometown Boys.
In 1996 current owners, RAD Audio, purchased SugarHill, introducing a new business model, embracing the studios history and diversity. Since then, clients have included Destiny’s Child, Solange Knowles, Joe Sample, Brian McKnight, Jermaine Dupri, Smashmouth, Clay Walker, Johnny Nash, Li’l Wayne, Kermit Ruffins, Johnny Bush and Beyoncé.
Looking towards the future of music, SugarHill partnered with Zenfilm in 2008 to launch Live From SugarHill, a free iTunes video podcast highlighting emerging artists. In 2010, the studio became the subject of a book entitled House of Hits: The Story of Houston’s Gold Star/SugarHill Recording Studios, coauthored by co-owner, Andy Bradley, along with acclaimed music historian Roger Wood. The book was published and distributed by the University of Texas Press, chronicling the studios’ unparalleled legacy.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Join us for an exciting, fun and FREE family event at Market Square Park on Friday, March 28 featuring Patrice Pike.
Market Square Park is located at 300 Travis, Houston, Texas 77002
For more info, visit www.marketsquarepark.com
Friday, July 2, 2010
"Willie Nelson's 4th of July Celebration" flashes back to an open-air affair in College Station, Texas, in 1976. The documentary is available only on 35mm and was never commercially released. It was shot over the course of three summer days and nights at Willie Nelson's 2nd annual 4th of July bash. Drunken performers, crazy antics and heartbreakingly good music meld to create an incandescent record of a moment in American musical history. Artists like Waylon Jennings, Wolfman Jack, Leon Russell, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and many more musicians appear as part of this Willie Nelson concert film.
Acoustic performance by Robert Ellis precedes the screening. Ellis is a local country and western singer songwriter. His critically acclaimed debut album The Great Re Arranger, garenred Ellis rave reviews throughout the country and a reputation for impeccable live performances.
Patrons are invited to bring picnics or purchase treats from H-Town StrEATS, Banquet Depot and Lonestar Novelty Ice Cream. Lawn chairs or picnic blankets also recommended.
Special thanks to Saint Arnold Brewery and 29-95.com. Film print courtesy of American Genre Film Archives. Music curated by SugarHill Studios.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Saturday, July 10, 8PM
Robert Ellis Accoustic Performance 8 p.m.
Film Screening Begins at 8:40 p.m.
Location: Park at Tony Marron Park at 808 North York, Screening will be across the street.
Tickets are $10 for non-members and $5 for Aurora members and Bayou Buddies. For tickets and information, visit www.aurorapictureshow.org or call 713-868-2101.
About Aurora Picture Show:
Founded in 1998, Aurora Picture Show is a non-profit micro-cinema that presents artist-made, non-commercial film and video. We are dedicated to expanding the cinematic experience and promoting the understanding and appreciation of moving image art. Aurora's human scale promotes a meaningful and community-oriented exchange between artists and audiences, and strives to not only be a launching pad for emerging artists but to create not-to-be-missed events for Houston.
Aurora Picture Show is funded by its stellar membership, Houston Endowment, Inc, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Brown Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Nightingale Code Foundation, the Oshman Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. Aurora Picture Show is a proud member of Fresh Arts Coalition www.fresharts.org.
Monday, June 21, 2010
I'm happy to report that the incident has not interrupted any of our sessions. As I write, I can hear The Champion Sisters in Studio A cutting basic tracks for their new album. While SugarHill has endured many challenges in it's time, the story of being burglarized will have to wait until volume two of our recent book. For now we are busy securing the property, and taking the steps to insure that we don't have a repeat of this problem for another 70 years.
Thanks for your support,
President, SugarHill Studios
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010
ONE FOR THE BOOKS - SUGARHILL STUDIOS CELEBRATES PUBLICATION
HOUSE OF HITS: THE STORY OF HOUSTON’S GOLD STAR/SUGARHILL STUDIOS
New book available from University of Texas Press, launch events scheduled April 2010
(HOUSTON, TX) 3.10.10 – The legacy of SugarHill Recording Studios is now documented for posterity with the release of the book, House of Hits: The Story of Houston’s Gold Star/SugarHill Recording Studios. House of Hits chronicles the past 69 years of ‘music making history’ at the legendary facility. The book was written by chief engineer Andy Bradley along with acclaimed music historian Roger Wood, and is already being sold in local stores including Sig’s Lagoon and Cactus Music.
Readers get a “behind the console” view, starting with the humble beginnings of founder, Bill Quinn in 1941 WWII Houston. Quinn--a recording engineer who pre-dated the home recording studio phenomenon by some 65 years--started a one-room operation that has survived to become the multi-studio facility that exists today. The book chronicles the growth and changes in the recording industry spanning seven decades of Texas music history.
Over the years the location has been known as Gold Star Studios and International Artists. In the 1970’s it purchased by hit producer Huey Meaux and renamed SugarHill Recording Studios. SugarHill became Meaux’s home base for his Crazy Cajun Music label where careers of Texas legends Freddy Fender, Doug Sahm and many more were launched.
SugarHill’s roster boasts luminary artists including Lightnin’ Hopkins, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Junior Parker, Clifton Chenier, Sir Douglas Quintet, 13th Floor Elevators, Freddy Fender, Kinky Friedman, Ray Benson, Guy Clark, Lucinda Williams, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child.
Bradley, an employee since 1985 and current partner of SugarHill, took on the project as a labor of love and began his narrative at the urging of a friend, Sig’s Lagoon owner Thomas Escalante. Over the last decade, Bradley tracked down and recorded the personal accounts of over 100 recording artists, engineers, employees, label owners and music industry professionals to stitch together a comprehensive timeline of events at the famed studios.
In 2007, Roger Wood--the author of two award-winning books, Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues and Texas Zydeco--agreed to collaborate with Andy to transform the raw material into a book prospectus and eventually a complete manuscript. The duo contracted with Wood’s previous publisher, the University of Texas Press, to complete the project by the end of 2009. Wood notes, “Andy’s extensive research, combined with his firsthand knowledge of the recording business, laid the foundation for a narrative that I soon realized was epic in scope--covering seven decades, hundreds of musicians and studio insiders, and practically every imaginable genre of postwar American popular music.” Bradley added, “When I first heard they were going to publish the book I was exhilarated, but quickly realized that there was something more important than simply becoming a published author. He would have to become an historian as well: “I expect that House of Hits will serve to correct the many wrong perceptions of Houston and that people will begin to understand how important it is and has been to the livelihood of the Gulf Coast music scene. Moreover, the stories of so many wonderful artists who shared their talents have finally been told.”
A two day book-signing event and concert are planned in Houston on Saturday, April 10 & Sunday, April 11, 2010 at local record store, Sig’s Lagoon, 3710 Main Street, and The Continental Club, 3700 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002. The concert will feature live performances by John Evans, The El Orbits, Allen Oldies’ Band, Umbrella Man and will include special appearances by Roy Head, Kenny Cordray, Paul English, Tommie Lee Bradley and more. The concert is free and donations will be accepted to benefit the Musicians’ Benevolent Society.
WHAT: SugarHill Recording Studios book signing and benefit concert
WHEN: Saturday, April 10, 2010 at Sig’s Lagoon 2 - 5p.m., 3710 Main Street, and Sunday, April 11, 2010 at The Continental Club 3 - 7p.m., 3700 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002
MORE: For more information please contact Gina Miller at 713.926.4431 ext. 1102 or email@example.com.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
LIVE FROM SUGARHILL – SPRING IS IN THE AIR(WAVES)
Episode XVII brings features Motion Turns It On and Autumn Owls
(HOUSTON, TX) 3.10.10 – Like the weather, change is in the air this Spring on Live From SugarHill Episode XVII. The show will feature prog-math rockers Motion Turns It On, the Dublin-based band Autumn Owls and the program welcomes producer Gina Miller as the new co-host alongside award-winning record producer, Dan Workman. Community guest and 'audience of one' is Ruben Dominguez, a founding member of rock group Toho Ehio and former freelance journalist for local rag Thorazine. Currently, he works as an entertainment anchor at KRIV-TV Fox 26 and was instrumental in the Fox Rocks local band segment among other music coverage. Live from SugarHill, Episode XVII airs on March 18, 2010 at 7pm and is a collaborative effort between Zenfilm, OutboundMusic.com and SugarHill Recording Studios.
Behind every great band lies a story waiting to be told. For Houston-based Motion Turns It On, a local trio that rollercoaster ride began, as stories of this nature often do, as misguided youth living in the suburbs. MTIO began in 2004 and the original members have transformed their nascent plonkings into something very cutting edge. Their debut E.P., Rima, garnered rave reviews from Houston Calling and Amplifier Magazine. Now MTIO is a seasoned band with a new album entitled Kaledioscopic Equinox and a remarkable live show that’s been called “schizophrenic, kinetic and controlled frenzy.”
Autumn Owls are a four-piece from Dublin. The band was one of the 10 selected by Hot Press to represent Ireland in the New York Tisch School of Arts 2007 Music Video Project. The song selected went on to feature on Dave Fanning's television program The Last Broadcast. After two EP releases, they began work with acclaimed producer Ciaran Bradshaw of Westland Studios. The band was nominated in the newcomer category "Hope for 2009 Award" in the Meteor Irish Music Awards. Autumn Owls are currently recording their debut album and on tour in the U.S. before a few shows at South by Southwest 2010.
Zenfilm is an EMMY award winning film production company and HD video post boutique based in Houston, TX. The creation of producer/director team Merideth Melville and W. Ross Wells, Zenfilm has experienced exponential growth and gained national recognition since founding in 2005. Zen works with agencies and record labels to create national TV commercials, music videos and viral media. They also develop and maintain sustainable social marketing initiatives.
Founded in 2001, OutboundMusic.com is an Internet radio and music retailer whose goal is to promote music produced by independent recording artists. They currently promote nearly 700 artists, both Texas based acts and many international talents.
The show is free and listeners can login for a live stream at http://www.outboundmusic.com/lfsh All episodes are available at at http://www.livefromsugarhill.tv or on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=301652186
WHAT: Live From SugarHill Episode XVII featuring Motion Turns It On & Autumn Owls
WHEN: Thursday, March 18, 2010 from 7 - 8p.m. CST - http://www.outboundmusic.com/lfsh
MORE: For more information contact Gina Miller at 713.926.4431 ext. 1102
For more on Motion Turns It On visit: http://www.myspace.com/motionturnsiton
For more on Autumn Owls visit: http://www.myspace.com/autumnowls
For more on Ruben Dominguez visit: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/about_us/Ruben_Dominguez
For more on Live From SugarHill visit: http://www.livefromsugarhill.tv
For more on Zenfilm visit: http://www.zenfilm.com
For more on Outbound Music visit: http://www.outboundmusic.com
About SugarHill Recording Studios
The oldest recording studio in Texas is nestled in a Southeast Houston neighborhood that over time has been home to legendary producers, record labels, and artists who've produced some of the most historically important and widely recognized musical recordings. Beginning in 1946, musician Harry Choates, with producer Bill Quinn, laid tracks for the Cajun classic "Jole Blon" for Gold Star Records. Blues icon Lightnin' Hopkins recorded soon thereafter. In the 1950's the studio hosted Pappy Dailey's D label, George Jones cut "Why Baby Why?" and the Big Bopper recorded "Chantilly Lace." Willie Nelson, Bobby Bland and Arnett Cobb recorded sessions. In 1960s, the Sir Douglas Quintet tracked "She's About a Mover." The mid-1970s introduced Crazy Cajun producer Huey P. Meaux and his work with Freddy Fender and Clifton Chenier. Since the 1980s, SugarHill has hosted Tejano artist Little Joe, country great Johnny Bush, and urban powerhouse Beyoncé.
Motion Turns It On
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Steve Earle album Townes earns a GRAMMY at the 52nd annual awards
SugarHill Recording Studios senior staff engineer, Steve Christensen had much to celebrate after the award announcements of the 52nd Annual GRAMMY© celebrations. Steve Earle's widely acclaimed album Townes (New West)-engineered by Christensen--was the winner of the coveted award in the Best Contemporary Folk category.
While searching for an engineer, mutual friend Chris Masterson (ex- Son Volt) gave Earle examples of Christensen's work on the tracks "Best Thing Ever" and "The Other Side of Love" from Tody Castillo's unreleased album Windhorse. One listen gave him enough confidence to hire Christensen to engineer the project.
Besides spending an initial ten days tracking album in Earles' Manhattan home, Christensen also played percussion on the disc. He later traveled to Nashville to continue the record at Sound Emporium, alongside Earle's longtime engineer Ray Kennedy. In the May 26 issue of Rolling Stone magazine (RS 1079), featuring the story "Steve Earle Chases Ghosts", Earle quoted Christensen in describing the experience of the recording process "..like he was 'listening to something I shouldn't be listening to' because it seemed so personal." The album debuted at number 19 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, the highest Top 200 debut of Earle's career and at number 6 on the Billboard Country chart.
Christensen is no stranger to the nominations process; he recorded vocals on Ann-Margarets' 2001 album, God is Love: The Gospel Sessions, which was nominated in the Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album category.
Townes faced tough competition for the award; the other nominees for that category included Neko Case's Middle Cyclone (ANTI), Tracy Chapman's Our Bright Future (Elektra), Shawn Colvin's Live (Nonesuch) and Elvis Costello's Secret, Profane & SugarCane (Hear Music). Houston Chronicle entertainment writer Andrew Dansby featured a piece on Christensen in the GRAMMY preview section of this week's Zest. Read the article here.
Steve Christensen. Photo by Everett Taasevigen.