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Jeff Powell Records You Me & Apollo at Ardent in Memphis

Started as a Single Then Moved to an Entire Album

Pictured in the Ardent Studios atrium are (L-R) Lucas Peterson, assistant engineer; Tyler Kellogg, drums; Morgan Travis, guitar; Brent Cowles, lead vocals, guitar; Jeff Powell, producer, engineer; Dave Cole, bass; and Jonathan Alonzo, guitar, vocals.

Popular Colorado band You Me & Apollo first visited Ardent Studios in Memphis to cut a two-song single with renowned producer/engineer Jeff Powell, but the results inspired them to return to record their new full length album.

Powell, who started out at Ardent 25 years ago answering phones, is now a successful independent producer/engineer and considers Ardent his home base. One of Powell’s specialties at Ardent is recording, mixing and mastering two songs in one day and also providing lacquer masters for the 7″ single.

“I just spent a 10-day run at Ardent with You Me & Apollo,” remarked Powell. “It all started with my one-day singles offer. if a band really has their act together, they can walk out at the end of the day with a two-song digital master and the lacquers for a seven inch.”

The group You Me & Apollo began with the musical exploration of Colorado-born Brent Cowles. His first EP, “How To Swim, How to Rot,” was released while he was attending school in Arizona. The band’s debut LP, “Cards With Cheats,” was a celebration of doo-wop, soul, blues, and alt-country. The band spent the following year touring nationally, supporting acts such as ZZ Ward, Third Eye Blind, Aaron Freeman (of Ween), and Dashboard Confessional. Following the success of the single recorded at Ardent, “I Don’t Want To Be Loved” and B-side “Finding Peace,” the band recently returned to record their forthcoming as-yet-untitled album, due out in May.

“Our experience with Jeff is hard to put into words,” commented Cowles. “We felt as a band that musically he brought out the best in us and we were just blown away when we finished the album.”

Jeff Powell’s enviable credit roster includes Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Tonic, Big Star, The Bottle Rockets, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Primal Scream, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, and The Afghan Whigs. His early years at Ardent landed him sessions working elbow-to-elbow with producer/engineer legends such as Jim Gaines, Glyn Johns, Rob Fraboni, John Hampton, Joe Hardy and Jim Dickinson. Getting the call to work with legendary Tom Dowd certainly was a career highlight.

“I got to do six records with Tom Dowd,” Powell recalls. “He put me in the engineer seat for my first major label record all those years ago after having me assist several engineers on a couple of projects with Leonard Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers. He gave me my big break, really. Most of my recording is done at Ardent, so that’s my family. I love those guys and I love the studio. “

In addition to working on numerous Gold and Platinum records, as well as six Grammy-winning projects, Powell currently chairs the P&E Wing for the Memphis Chapter of NARAS, and has been honored as a Legendary Producer of Memphis at the annual Blues Ball. Powell also been an Adjunct Professor, overseeing senior projects at the University of Memphis Recording Program.

Ardent Studios officially got its start in 1966, when the operation moved from John Fry’s home studio to a commercial space on National Street in Memphis. From there it was only a matter of time until nearly every artist on the Stax Records roster made their way through the doors. Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, and Booker T & The MGs all made hit records at Ardent. The success continued through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s into the new millennium with hits for Big Star, ZZ Top, The Replacements, Joe Cocker, REM, Soundgarden, Gin Blossoms, The White Stripes, and many more. For nearly five decades, Ardent has stayed at the cutting edge of recording technology, and currently features four full service studios with top of the line digital and analog capabilities, able to handle any and all recording needs.

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