Betty Cantrell and Jonathan Wyndham kickstart Capricorn restoration
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Betty Cantrell and Jonathan Wyndham are two southern artists who have recorded new songs to help restore the historic Capricorn Studios.
Former Miss America and Mercerian Betty Cantrell recorded a cover of Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind.” Jonathan Wyndham, a South Carolina native who was featured on The Voice, recorded a cover of The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See.”
These artists became the first to record at Capricorn Studios since the building was donated to Mercer last fall. The producer of the recordings was Grammy-nominated Mercer alumnus Steve Ivey, who reached out to both artists for their assistance.
Cantrell and Wyndham followed in the footsteps of famous bands like the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. Both of these groups recorded in Capricorn Studios, which is credited as the “birthplace” of Southern Rock.
Both singers said they were excited to help.
“It was such an honor to record where the Allman Brothers and so many others have recorded their music.” Cantrell said in an email. “As an up-and-coming country music singer, I was thrilled to stand where such famous and accomplished artists have stood.”
Wyndham, who grew up on the Allman Brothers and The Marshall Tucker Band, said “it was a blast” to record “one of my favorite songs.” Wyndham cut the song using Dwayne Allman’s 1957 Goldtop Les Paul that Allman recorded the first Allman Brothers album with.
The artists were joined by former Capricorn musicians Paul Hornsby and Leroy Wilson, who performed with the Marshall Tucker Band. They were also joined by radio personality Charles Davis, and local music producer Rob Evans.
Both songs are available for purchase on iTunes and can be found under the name of the artists or under “Save Capricorn.”
The profits from both the songs will go towards the “Save Capricorn” fund, which was created by Mercer University through a partnership with Newtown Macon, Sierra Development, Southern Pine Plantations and Piedmont Construction. All proceeds will help build lofts and renovate the studio, which will be used by the university.
A representative from the Office for University Advancement, Larry Brumley, said in a phone interview, “Students will have the opportunity to work in the studios and even have internships there.” The studio will also feature offices for “music-related businesses such as MaconPops,” and 13 practice rooms offered for musicians to rent for the month.There will also be a venue for concerts and a mini museum on the history of Macon and music in Macon.
“Capricorn Studios will become a vibrant music center,” said Brumley. “Construction will be done in about 12-18 months.”
Mercer is also helping to raise money for the “Save Capricorn” fund. Mercer has committed to raising an additional 1 million dollars. This will be funded primarily through donations, which can be made at www.savecapricorn.com.
There are opportunities to name various parts of the studios if you donate. These opportunities include the ability to name instruments, recording rooms, stages and equipment. These donations start at a minimum of $15,000.
Capricorn Studios is now part of the “largest market-rate residential development in the history of downtown Macon,” according to a Mercer University press release.