Late, great record producer Owen Bradley built the first music business on Nashville’s now-famous Music Row and became an architect of the Nashville Sound through his work with country hitmakers such as Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee and Kitty Wells.
Soon Music Row will have a newly-decorated front door that honors the music industry pioneer.
A life-size bronze sculpture of Bradley sitting at a piano — created by nationally-renowned artist Gary Ernest Smith — was unveiled Tuesday morning at Owen Bradley Park. Located at Sixteenth Avenue and Division Street, the park currently serves as a gateway to Music Row.
The statue will be at the park permanently after the area undergoes a facelift in the next year. Meanwhile, the sculpture will be in the presidential lobby at Opryland Hotel.
Members of the Nashville music community surround the new Owen Bradley sculpture.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee spoke at the ceremony.
“Owen didn’t only father the dream, he stayed with it throughout his life, like a wise parent, a gentle mentor, a constant in a changing industry,” Lee said. “He helped give it direction, wisdom, energy and creativity until Nashville could proudly stand on its own as a recognized leader in the wonderful art of creating music that would be ultimately heard around the world.
“Owen was a producer, a musician, discoverer, innovator, creator, encourager, cheerleader, mentor, leader and trailblazer for an entire musical family within the industry, who love and appreciate his presence and so sorely miss him in his absence.”
Among those on hand for the unveiling were music stars Eddy Arnold, Ricky Skaggs, Mandy Barnett and Ray Stevens, in addition to Nashville studio musicians, Music Row executives and city dignitaries.