Yes, Arlyn Studios boasts immaculate microphones, amps, audio gear, and a behemoth mixing board born out of grafting the vintage Neve from Willie Nelson's Pedernales Studio with an equally covetable API console. Still, glorious equipment alone doesn't make a studio special. Environment, space, vibe all add up to magic.
The 7,000-sq.-ft. space on Academy Drive, occupying onetime Austin Opera House territory, remains a creative nexus of South Austin: an elite facility that feels like a communal living room. The studio's eminent enough for superstars from Foo Fighters to Frank Ocean to drop in, yet accessible to homegrown artists working with Chief Engineer Jacob Sciba. Fans, meanwhile, witness intimate performances inside the homey Studio A: raging South by Southwest parties, nonprofit fundraisers, TV tapings from Willie Nelson and Gary Clark Jr. – the latter having recorded his last two albums there.
Arlyn's a family affair for Freddy and Lisa Fletcher. Son of Sister Bobbie Nelson, Freddy spearheaded the facility in 1984 at the behest of his uncle Willie and named it after his father Arlyn "Bud" Fletcher. Following an Aughts-era lease to the Media Tech recording school, the studio reopened commercially in 2012 with partners Will Bridges and the late T. Murphey. A home for gold records past and future. – Kevin Curtin
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