Col. Bruce simply chuckled as he entered what was once the lobby of Capricorn Sound Studios one recent Friday afternoon. The twinkle in his eyes immediately gave away the flashbacks that entered his headspace at that moment.
He immediately blurted out, "I remember being here for a session when Gregg (Allman) decided to ride his Harley around in here."
His eyes then catch the sight of Newton Collier, and they greet each other like old war buddies, immediately running through a list of amazing (and mostly true) stories accrued during the past half a century in the music business. As the next few hours unfolded, we listened to Col. Bruce share stories of the Atlanta Pop Festival in Byron (he claims that it was hotter than 100 degrees), how incredible the Royal Peacock Club in Atlanta was and, most importantly, how crazy (and awesome) Macon was in the late '60s and '70s.
For those who don't know, Col. Bruce is known as the cosmic Southern gentlemen, the crazy uncle of Southern music who loves music almost as much as he loves talking about it.
Having the opportunity to hang out in the Capricorn Sound Studio last week, a studio that he visited and recorded in more than 40 years ago, reaffirms the need to restore the studio building that was originally purchased back in the 1960s by Otis Redding and Phil Walden.
The good news is that this process has begun in earnest. It was identified nearly a decade ago by the Georgia Trust Places in Peril Top 10 list. Currently, there are big plans involving Mercer University, NewTown Macon and several developers that will restore the building and make it the centerpiece for more development in the area surrounding the studio.
No formal timeline has been announced, but it seems as though things are moving in the right direction.
Another bit of Macon music history, and more importantly the continuing legacy of one, garnered some national attention recently. The Otis Redding Foundation, started by Otis Redding's family to continue his legacy, was invited to the White House a few weeks ago.
A few members of the foundation, along with several students from the Otis Redding singer/songwriter camp were invited -- as well as about 130 middle school, high school and college students _ to take part in a program at the White House celebrating the musical legacy of Ray Charles.
The whole thing was put together by Robert "Bob" Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum, who was joined by Yolanda Adams, Leon Bridges, Andra Day, Demi Lovato, Jussie Smollett and First Lady Michelle Obama.
I'm sure the experience was an incredible one and I can only imagine that all of them represented Macon well and will carry this legacy forward.
Chris Nylund is a founding member of Field Note Stenographers, a collective of local musicians who write about shows in Middle Georgia. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.