NASHVILLE TIME MACHINE
Nashville Time Machine partners one-of-a-kind performances recorded through a late 1940s era tape machine with revealing, truly compelling stories from the artists we love. The goal of Nashville Time Machine is to revisit the art of capturing music and stories to a medium that allows artists to better communicate with their listeners. Mono-track tape is impossible to multitrack and difficult to edit, but refocuses the performer and listener on the current moment and event, note and lyric.
In the late 1940’s, magnetic tape was accepted as the finest storage medium for audio, but only a few companies made tape machines. A company in Chicago named Magnecord developed a tape machine that fit into two suitcases, and could easily be carried. It didn’t have the same pristine quality of the much larger, studio-based Ampex machines, but at one tenth of the price, it was affordable and portable. Song collectors like Alan Lomax and Bob Shad, who had previously used portable disc cutting lathes, could now capture higher quality recordings with a longer range of time, all while visiting musicians in their own homes. Iconic musicians, including Ray Charles, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, have been captured using Magnecorder tape machines.
THE NTM TECHNOLOGY
Recordists often set up Magnecorders in homes, yards, and sometimes prisons to capture music and stories. The approach was similar to that of photography. In the words of Alan Lomax: “Recording folk songs works like a candid cameraman.” The recordings of Alan Lomax are still compelling because they still communicate: they connect people from different times and cultures, they present the soul of the performer and invite the listener to open up and lean in.
MAGNECORD VIDEO FOOTAGE