Updated: Aug 6, 2019
There are countless tourist attractions in Nashville that showcase our city’s music scene. But only one gives visitors the unique opportunity to meet a star-caliber singer-songwriter who won first place on CMT’s Can You Duet? (as one half of Steel Magnolia in 2009) and was the runner up on The Voice (Season 8). Meghan Linsey and her producer, Tyler Cain, offer tours of their very own recording studio located in Berry Hill (a Nashville neighborhood that is home to dozens of studios).
Meghan says, “It is the real Nashville. This is where we record every day.” Tyler, who is a multi-instrumentalist and producer, adds, “The idea is for people who aren’t from Nashville to come to town and experience how music is written, recorded, and created -- what goes on behind the scenes. People get an overall sense of how it works.”
The concept for the Nashville Studio Tour was a “leap of faith,” although the studio has been a working studio for years (and was formerly co-owned with the Stella family, whose daughters Lennon and Maisy were the darlings of the hit TV show Nashville). The 90-minute tour starts with a live acoustic performance by Meghan and Tyler, followed by a chance to see how the recording process works and actually sing some “ooh la la” harmonies that get recorded as part of a song that participants get to take home as a souvenir mp3. The tour wraps up at a red-carpeted photo op area where tourists can get a group photo with Meghan and Tyler. They have been doing the tours for almost two years now, and Tyler says, “The process of it blows people’s minds, especially if they have a corporate job. They come into a place like this and it's like they’re walking into Alice in Wonderland.”
The studio has a warm, eclectic vibe and is furnished with many one-of-a-kind items and Music City treasures. “Our goal is to make it feel like you’re coming into our living room.” When visitors watch the live performance, they get to sit on sparkly church pews that were once used in scenes of the ABC/CMT TV show Nashville. Meghan and Tyler bought additional old wooden pews on Craigslist. When the owner delivered them on his flatbed truck, he told them, “Man, my brother sings; these are from his house.” When they asked, “Who is your brother?” he replied, “Billy Ray Cyrus.”
When they are not doing tours, Tyler and Meghan produce other artists or work on their own projects. Bold Like A Lion was released in late 2017, and the sound was a shift from the country hit Meghan had with Keep On Loving You (written by Chris Stapleton) when she was with Steel Magnolia. “It’s been a journey figuring out what my sound is as a solo artist. It sounds more pop but then it’s still written in the Nashville way of writing a story and talking about things that matter. I try to keep that element in my music, and keep the soulfulness in my voice.”
Meghan had some collaborations on the Bold Like A Lion album that she said were some of the highlights of her career so far. “Growing up, Love Shack was an iconic song. Fast forward 20 years later and I’m in the studio recording with Fred Schneider from the B-52’s!” Their collaboration on Freak For The Beat came about after they did a charity event together.
Meghan says another cool experience was working with Aloe Blacc in Los Angeles on Say It To My Face. She explains her inspiration for the song. “I get a lot of pushback online because I’m pretty vocal about things I believe in. People will say all kinds of stuff online, but if you were standing there with them, they’re gonna be really nice to you. They won’t actually say it to your face.”
This May, Meghan and Tyler will be putting out a new album that sounds more like their live acoustic shows. Tyler describes the project as “more stripped down, with a lot of piano, and focused purely on the voice and not as much instruments going on.”
After spending the last couple years launching their studio tour business, they are both “itching to get out on the road.” This tour will be different from ones in the past, when Meghan was doing 200+ shows a year with Steel Magnolia and Tyler was touring with bands like Big & Rich and Billy Currington. They just signed with a new college booking agent, and will be focusing more on the quality of life on the road. “With the label, sometimes we’d be on three planes a day and sometimes three different cities and three different radio stations, then going out on tour on the weekends. I’d be gone for 45 days at a time, and not sleeping (and getting sick all the time). Now when I do a show, I plan to stay a day to see something, whereas before you see your hotel room and then you’re on the next plane.” Tyler adds, “So now we’ll do a show in Buffalo, and stay an extra day to see Niagara Falls.”
After each having lived 15+ years in Music City pursing their dreams, they are trying to find the balance between studio tours, recording, and touring. Their true passion lies in sharing their music, especially in intimate settings. Tyler sums it up: “Having a #1 is awesome, but what does it really mean? It’s kind of like a credential, but it’s not really the value of music. The value of music is sharing it with people.”
For more information or to schedule a tour, go to Nashville Studio Tour
FUN FACTS AND TRIVIA
Favorite places to eat: Yellow Porch (Berry Hill), True Food (Green Hills), taco trucks on Nolensville Pike
Favorite concert: Jack White at Bridgestone Arena
Favorite contemporary artists/bands: Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, The
Meghan is an animal advocate; she feeds and rescues stray animals and is involved with “Pet of the Week” on Today in Nashville and the Rescue Freedom Project. She has a Beagle and a Maltese/Yorkie mix.
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