70 miles northeast of New Orleans, on 26 acres with pine forests, fields and ponds, sits Studio in the Country, one of the country’s historic recording studios. SITC was conceived by engineer & Bogalusa native William S.“Bleu” Evans, and designed by Tom Hidley of Westlake Audio of Los Angeles, George Augspurger, Bleu, and architect Tom Knight. The studio opened in the summer of 1973.
Many hits & classics were recorded at SITC throughout the 1970s --Kansas’s platinum albums Leftoverture (featuring “Carry on Wayward Son”) and Point of Know Return, featuring “Dust in the Wind”; Stevie Wonder‘s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants soundtrack; Professor Longhair’s Rock’n’Roll Gumbo; Maze’s gold Inspiration; The Neville Brothers’ 1978 eponymous debut produced by Jack Nitzche; Clifton Chenier‘s Grammy® winning I’m Here; The Wild Magnolias’ 1974 debut & They Call Us Wild; Louisiana Leroux’s “New Orleans Ladies.”
Other artists from the early days included Louis Prima, Pete Fountain, Perry Como, Mandrill, Betty Davis, Willie Nelson, Doc Watson, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Winter, Wayne Newton, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band & many others. In 1980 the studio was sold to engineer Gene Foster, who was chief engineer for the next two decades. More gold & platinum albums were recorded at SITC by artists including Marilyn Manson, Blues Traveler, Cinderella, Jimmy Buffett, Zebra and others. The diamond-selling (10x+ platinum) Dirty Dancing Soundtrack was done in-part, the Neville Brothers’ classic Fiyo on the Bayou, plus albums by Tony Joe White, Japanese stars The Privates, and the Grammy® winning Alright Again by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.
Gene sold the studio to current owner and Bogalusa native Debra Farmer in 1997, while continuing to consult & engineer. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina did major damage to SITC. Debra and Gene oversaw its complete restoration, including that of the 9-foot concert grand piano. The studio was ready to re-open in September 2007, with ProTools in addition to analog 24-track. Benjamin Mumphrey was added on as chief engineer and general manager in October 2007. Jay Wesley was added as a general assistant, engineer and tech in 2009.
In 2010 renovations were completed on the studio house, and the recording console was upgraded to a fully-restored Neve 8068 (circa 1975). Post-Katrina projects have included Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Ani Difranco, The Afghan Whigs, Anders Osborne, Garage à Trois , Dash Rip Rock, Supagroup, Cyril Neville, Jamie Lynn Spears, Maggie Koerner, Firebug, Sasha Masakowski, Rotary Downs, the Geraniums, Bonerama, Riffer Madness, Soul Asylum, The Morning 40 Federation, The Rough Seven, Ratty Scurvics, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, The Scoundrels, Ruby Rendrag, James Andrews, Jim Oertling, Thomas Jackson, Blue Mountain and the 2014 Grammy® nominee The Moorings, by Andrew Duhon. In 2013, SITC was a location for the HBO series Treme, which starred SITC engineers Ben Mumphrey and Jay Wesley.