I grew up in Macon, a teen in these 1970’s. And today, I get to revisit many of my music influences – Otis Redding Foundation and a tour of Capricorn Studio and Museum.
Otis Redding Foundation
Growing up on the late 1960’s through 1970’s, Otis Redding was recognized as one of the greatest soul singers from this era. Every teen had at least one Otis Redding album or a stack of 45’s in their collection and each had been played many hundreds of times. While we all knew Otis in the south, it wasn’t until 1967 when he performed at the Monterey Pop Festival that he took the world by storm. Here’s an excerpt from that performance. Now fast forward to 2021. My son Joel and I are returning the downtown Macon and visiting the legacy of this great artist.
We visited the Otis Redding Foundation located in Macon’s historic area at 339 Cotton Ave. We received the warmest of welcomes from Justin Andrews, grandson of Otis Redding and now a Director at the Foundation. Watch the video below of our tour and a short back story of a visit I had with the Redding Family from years past. Also learn more about the great work of Justin, the Redding Family, and the Foundation team giving back to the community with teen outreach projects steeped in the great Otis Redding tradition. Learn more about the Otis Redding Foundation at https://otisreddingfoundation.org/.
Joel and I stopped by the Douglass Theatre located at 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., but unfortunately the building was closed for tours on this day. We would be remiss if we did not include the theatre in our Macon music history tour. Charles Douglass opened the theatre in the 1920’s as a premier movie theatre and vaudeville hall for the African-American citizens of the city. Years later in the 1960’s, the theatre became a showcase to launch new music artists including Little Richard, James Brown and Otis Redding. The theatre has been restored to its former glory and reopened in 1997 serving everyone in the area and welcoming music acts worldwide.
Joan and I have attended concerts at the Douglass spanning a wide range of music talents including bluegrass performances by Clair Lynch and Rhonda Vincent, plus the great rock and jazz guitarist Larry Carlton. Learn more about the Douglass Theatre at https://www.douglasstheatre.org/.
Capricorn Studio and Museum
After the tragic air plane crash that took the life of Otis Redding, his manager Phil Walden continued to pursue new musicians with the creation of Capricorn Records. Phil, his brother Alan and local engineer Jim Hawkins built the Capricorn Recording Studio in downtown Macon at 540 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The studio became famous as the home base for many artists including the Allman Brothers, Greg Allman’s solo projects, Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, Cowboy, Jonathan Edwards, Livingston Taylor, Sea Level to name but a few. It was also the location where many artists from the 1970’s recorded for the unique sound produced by the studio. Learn more about Capricorn Studio and Museum at https://capricorn.mercer.edu/.
Joel and I toured the museum and had the fortunate opportunity to be invited for a quick tour of the studio during a break in a recording session where a number of past Capricorn studio musicians were working. For me, a kid from the 70’s, this was a dream come true.
There is so much more to see and experience in Macon, GA. Great history, music, food and more. Below is a list of videos where we have highlighted interesting places to visit in Macon. From Joan and I, we hope you have the opportunity to visit the area and experience what Macon has to offer.
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