Richard Florida has an interesting post about how, contrary to the notion that modern technology frees musicians to work from anywhere, musical talent has actually become quite concentrated. Most interesting, it's become most concentrated not in New York or L.A., not in Austin or Atlanta, but in Nashville:
Today, it's home to over 180 recording studios, 130 music publishers, 100 live music clubs, and 80 record labels. It's turned into the Silicon Valley of the music business, combining the best institutions, the best infrastructure, and the best talent. And, like Silicon Valley's broad reach across many high-tech fields from hardware to software, biotech to green energy, Nashville has become the center for multiple musical genres from country and gospel to rock and pop, attracting top talent from across the United States and the globe.
The coolest thing about this broad reach is when it allows for some cross-pollination, like Jack White recording with Loretta Lynn or Will Oldham covering a bunch of his early Palace songs with some of the city's most polished sessions musicians. I suppose this has been going on in Nashville at least since Dylan and Cash got together in 1969, but it seems as if it's happening more and more these days. Maybe David Berman will come out of retirement and record a Jewish gospel album. Here's hoping.