MACON – Mercer University, in an effort to raise awareness and funds to restore Macon’s legendary Capricorn Studios, partnered with alumnus and Grammy-nominated producer Steve Ivey for a recording session on Dec. 7.
During that session, former Miss America and Mercerian Betty Cantrell recorded “Georgia On My Mind,” and South Carolina native Jonathan Wyndham recorded the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See.” These two recordings will be available for purchase, starting Feb. 28, with all net proceeds going directly to the “Save Capricorn” campaign.
A host of musicians came together for the one-day session, which was the first official recording session at Capricorn since the building returned to Mercer’s ownership last fall.
The two tracks feature former Capricorn session musician Paul Hornsby on keyboard; Leroy Wilson, who has shared the stage with the likes of Kid Rock, Blues Traveler and the Marshall Tucker Band, on drums; and local talents Charles Davis on backup vocals and Rob Evans on rhythm guitar.
All who participated – from producer to artists, tech and crew – donated their time to the “Save Capricorn” revitalization effort.
The two songs will be available for purchase on iTunes as a set under “Save Capricorn,” or as singles under each artist’s name.
About Mercer Music at Capricorn
Capricorn Studio, co-founded by the late Phil Walden, a Mercer alumnus, during its heyday recorded such acts as the Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop and the Marshall Tucker Band and was the epicenter of Southern Rock.
For more than a decade, the facility sat vacant and fell into disrepair until it was purchased and stabilized by NewTown Macon with a grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation. In 2010, it was named one of Georgia’s most endangered historic buildings. Along with local developers, the historic Capricorn Studio is now part of the largest market-rate residential development in the history of downtown Macon.
Mercer University has committed to raising an additional $1 million to complete restoration of the historic structure, which will be known as Mercer Music at Capricorn. Gifts may be made online at www.savecapricorn.com.
About Betty Cantrell
How does someone go from growing up in a doublewide trailer outside of Warner Robins, Georgia, to becoming Miss America 2016? Well it sure ain’t “luck.” At a young age, Betty was influenced by artists such as Linda Ronstadt and began singing songs like “Harper Valley PTA” with her dad’s band. Betty began taking professional vocal and stage lessons at 14, continued studying in Mercer University’s music school and never looked back with her nonstop drive and determination. Because of her singing talent, a friend suggested she enter a pageant at age 19. Although she had never participated in a pageant in her life, she stepped up and just 24 months later, after only three pageants, she was crowned Miss America 2016.
Now this has become just part of a growing story, as Betty moves to the next step with the same determination and confidence in her career as a singer and country music entertainer. Betty’s family and fiancée Spencer Maxwell (a graduate of The Citadel) both have deep roots in the military, and due to her experience as Miss America, she has performed around the world for the military’s USO tours. Her first recording and video for the song “Soldier On” reflect her values and heart for the military. The song is available now on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. www.BettyCantrellmusic.com
About Jonathan Wyndham
While it makes a good media hype story, “overnight music success” just doesn’t happen, because it starts typically with a young kid picking up an instrument or singing. Jonathan spent many days playing electric guitar and developing his style and technique as a country music “guitar slinger.” He recently completed a degree in commercial songwriting, and then “overnight success” happened when he walked out and sang on the hit show “The Voice.” All four judges wanted to work with Jonathan, and he made his choice and survived a while longer on the show. Last fall, Jonathan was the guitar slinger on the opening act slot for the national tour of Pentatonix. He recently completed his first EP, which is available internationally, as well as videos for his popular songs “Six Pack and 20 Bucks” and “Beach House.” Recording “Can’t You See” at Capricorn was an honor to his musical heritage and a great stepping stone on the path of “overnight success.” www.jonathanwyndham.com