by Christophe Pauly
– Senior Photojournalist –
During the last Neal Morse /Flower Kings tour in Europe, I became friend with their tour manager and his father Edgel Groves Sr. Over the course of his career Edgel Groves Sr. has been a recording artist, songwriter, singer and producer. He had a number 1 hit song in the ‘80s and today he manages his recording studio near Nashville, Tennessee. Recently inducted into the Hall Of Fame of Country Music of Atlanta, Edgel Groves Sr. talks to Hardrock Haven about his beginnings as a musician and his first love which is rock music and provides insight into his music career.
Hardrock Haven: So I wanted to ask you what did you felt when you were inducted at the Atlanta Music Hall of Fame?
Edgel Groves Sr.: It felt great to be recognized by my peers and the city of Atlanta. Not surprised at the Music Hall of Fame induction, but they called about a month before and told me and it was a nice surprise and a great feeling.
Hardrock Haven: What did you enjoy the most, creating, producing or television?
Edgel Groves Sr.: I knew when I was 4 years old that I wanted to be a recording artist and so I started writing songs when I was around 13 and tried to find ways to record them and that led me into producing! I love performing and writing, but my favorite is taking a song and creating a production for that song in the studio. There’s nothing like it.
Hardrock Haven: Country music is a very interesting kind of music with so many variations possibilities and Country artists look very sincere. What Country music mean to you?
Edgel Groves Sr.: I was raised on Country, Gospel and Bluegrass music. My Father was a minister from the mountains of West Virginia in the USA and he played the guitar, mandolin and fiddle and became a minister. There was 5 of us kids and we all played instruments and sang in my Dad’s church, evangelistic camp meetings and other churches throughout Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. My siblings were Kenny, Della, Joanne, John and then my younger brother Jerry came along later. Kenny was very talented and played the guitar, banjo and became the Bluegrass mandolin Champion of Ohio. All were extremely musical and played several instruments. When Rock ‘a Billy and Sun Records came along, I knew that I had found my style of music at the time and started writing songs in that vein and later learned jazz and other genres. I became a Top 40 Rock artist and had several regional hits. I recorded “Footprints in the Sand” in the fall of 1980 as a Christmas present to my parents and it took off and became #1 in Country Music and crossed over to other categories in the USA. My Rock recording days where over (lol)! I love Country, but Rock is my love.
Hardrock Haven: You met many people through the years and music is about sharing too… so what’s your best collaboration?
Edgel Groves Sr.: Yes, I went to Hollywood/L.A. when I was 17 for the sole purpose of trying to become a recording artist. Walked into RCA Victor (you could do that in those days) with my guitar and told the secretary I’m here to record for RCA. She laughed and called out the A&R Director, Darol Rice and he said so you come to record for RCA and I said, yes. He said well do have anything that I can hear and I said no, but I can play my songs on the guitar and he said, no, but there’s a recording studio down the street called Fidelity and they can make some demos for you. So, I went down the street and found Fidelity and the owner by the name of Fred and told him RCA sent me down and his eyes got really big and so we recorded 4 songs of mine with Fred playing the piano, organ, drums and myself on the guitar. In those days they cut acetate records right then and there, so he handed it to me with a bill for $180 and that was a bunch of money back then. I said ok, I’ll be right back and went with my acetate and bill in hand down to RCA and presented Darol Rice with the bill. He said. “…what is this,” and I said, “well you told me to go record at Fidelity so you could hear my songs.” With a shocked look on his face he started laughing and said, “doggone I like you Son,” and listened to my songs and I ended up doing demo work for him and he asked my opinion on some cuts now and then. One day, I was driving looking at the sights on Coldwater Canyon Drive and picked up a young hitchhiker that turned out to be 14 and as we talked we came to his house and he invited in to meet his parents. It turned out that his Dad was the accountant for many movie stars and so his Dad told him to take me over to see Michael Landon “Little Joe” of Bonanza fame. So, he did and we hit it off and he got me a screen test for the movies (lol)!
Hardrock Haven: So you did that movie?
Edgel Groves Sr.: No, I had to leave and go back to Ohio before the screen test and never made it back there. Then joined the Air Force and was sent to the San Francisco area and found a recording studio by the name of Coast Recorders (no longer there) and started recording Rock tunes and met Sylvester Stone (became Sly and the family Stone) and we became friends along with Joe Simon (had big hits, “My Adorable One, “Drowning in the Sea of Love” and the “Choking Kind” and made appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show). Got out of service and went back to Ohio and started writing and producing for a small label, Tiretown Records and the other producer was Joe Walsh who a short time later became very famous with his band “The James Gang” and then left to go with the Eagles and is still with the Eagles as their lead guitarist. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia and started entertaining and became an artist for Bill Lowery (Lowery Music/SouthernTrack Records) and in that stable was myself, Billy Joe Royal, Tommy Roe, Dennis Yost and the Classics IV, The Atlanta Rhythm Section and the great writer/artist, Joe South. I produced wrote and was an artist for 12 years there and had many regional Top 40 hits just before “Footprints in the Sand”. I never collaborated much but did end up writing with a DJ friend of mine by the name of Les Reed and had some success in Europe with a song called “Dance With Me (Young Love)” and I still get royalties from Spain and France as they sometimes use it in movies or soundtracks.
Hardrock Haven: You have your own studio, how did that adventure began? Why did you wanted to move from musician to producer? How do you see yourself?
Edgel Groves Sr.: Always a musician, being a producer is just another facet of the business to produce what you personally like! As you know, my Son, Edgel Jr, is a very talented musician because you came to know him and his band, Sun Domingo, when they toured Europe with Marillion and he later became the A&R person for Glassville Records in the Netherlands and moved there and started doing tour management as well for Riverside, The Flower Kings, Liquid Landscape and a host of other Prog Rock bands. He told me he wanted to start touring with them in the USA and so I thought that he should have a presence in the USA on the East coast and this studio crossed my desk and I moved to the outskirts of Nashville in a town called Gallatin and here’s the studio www.goldenedgestudios.com.
Golden Edge Studios