Archives for category: Benchmark Sound

Acklen Park, Nashville skyline, Photo- Melody Hood

 Acklen Park kicked off the radio launch of “Great American Song” on Otter Rapids Music with co-writer, Shantell Ogden, at The Nashville Downtown Indigo Hotel on January 24th. It was a low key evening with friends for a song that has already taken off on radio.

The single was released a couple of weeks early to selected stations and was included in the “Starting to Rumble Facebook Face Off,” at Thunder 102. After going up six times against other new Music Row Charts singles and winning, the song was retired undefeated and included into regular rotation a week before the official drop date on January 26th. Marcum Stewart states, “We ended up winning six face offs in a row. We recorded the most votes in Thunder 102 history.” Andrea Villareal, the other side of Acklen Park joins in, “The first round we went up against Warner Brothers artists, Her & Kings County. We also won against Bucky Covington who has been out for a couple of years now. We couldn’t be more excited. “

The same is happening everywhere the song is turning up. Most recently “Great American Song” won another contest at KBOE in Oskaloosa, Iowa by votes from local listeners. As an independent release, the success of the single will be dependent on the ears of smaller market DJ’s that have some flexibility as well as listeners calling in and requesting the new single.

“Great American Song” is really a summer anthem, originally intended for a later release,but, Acklen Park’s radio promotions team were anxious to release the feel good upbeat anthem that goes hand in hand with celebrating our freedoms laying a foundation for the potential of a big summer hit.

Marcum was given some serious advice, “Our Promotions team made a lot of really valid points and they’re the pros. They do this every day, their advice was, “Well, honestly it takes a good seven to eight months to really get big action to even have a chance to even make it to the top 30 so if you even want a chance to do that by the time its seven months from now it’s going to be July anyway. “We took these thoughts to our Producer, Chris Utley and he said, “I couldn’t agree more.”

Acklen Park, Benchmark, Great American Song, background vocal session, me on the back row.

“Great American Song” was recorded at Benchmark Sound, one of the best studios on Nashville’s Music Row today with Chris Utley in the Producers chair. There was one big difference going in this time around. Although, the last album released early last year was a great project, Chris Utley and Acklen Park decided to kick it up a notch with some of Nashville’s best session players that have performance credits on Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and other big time records. The sound is phenomenal with great lyrics, upbeat Country Rock with a solid hook.

Acklen Park has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the video for the song. In its first week, the campaign has reached 20 percent of its goal. Kickstarter mainly known for funding Indie Rock releases is starting to see some Independent Country Artists such as Kelly Willis looking to fund projects. It gives the opportunity for fans to be backers and even be a part of a project.

Marcum has a clear picture of what they want to do, “Alright we need to make a video so how about we just go with that. We need funds to make the video. Radio station promotion costs a lot of money. Publicity costs a lot of money. Videos cost money so we just kind of went with what Kickstarter would allow us to do. I’m actually happier with that. I think that people are going to enjoy doing the video more than radio promotion anyway. We’re going to enjoy that more. We can allow people to be in the video.”

As they say at NSAI, “Every great song will find a home.”

Photo Courtesy - Meldoy Hood

Country fans can make this a big song if they want to the old fashioned way by supporting their local Country station and requesting “Great American Song,” purchasing the song for themselves and being a part of “The Making of The Great American Song Video.”

If you want to be a part of the making of the video you can go to their Kickstarter page by clicking here I want to be a part of The Making of The Great American Song Video by Acklen Park.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Acklen Park with all-star cast at Benchmark, Me in Who T-shirt

I got a call from Shantell Ogden last Saturday afternoon asking if I was close to Music Row. I just happened to be at Centennial Park at TACA 2011. Acklen Parkwas in the studio finishing up their next single “Great American Song” slated for release next spring.

They needed some background vocals. Shantell said, “How soon can you make it?”

“I can be there in about fifteen minutes,” I replied, I had to get back to my car in Hillsboro Village.

Chris Utley at Benchmark Sound

When I got to Benchmark Sound on Music Row, a top tier studio with nothing but the finest, I found Chris Utley (co-Producer) manning the board and was handed lyrics along with about ten others, along with a sheet to sign off.

We were in the big room in about 10 minutes, singing along with Acklen Park’s Marcum Stewart and Andrea Villareal.  We overdubbed about three takes of the group singing on the final chorus. This was more fun than golf, at least if the studio is your second home.

When we got back into the control room, there was some amazing music in the playback.  There were tracks by some of Nashville’s finest session players, Ilya Toshinsky – Lead Guitar/Acoustic, Rhythm/Session Leader/ who is the Co-Producer with Chris, Danny Rader – Rhythm Guitar & some leads as well, Scott Williamson – Drums, Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass and Tim Lauer – Keys.

These players have hours of combined hit making experience, having recorded sessions for artists records that include: Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, etc. just to name a few.

I got to say, I am really excited about this one. I think it is going to be huge on mainstream Country Radio; in fact, it should be the theme song for Country Music channel, GAC.

We will have to follow up on this one later.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN