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Duluth lands new recording space in Spoon's Studio

“There’s a need to get your art out there, we just want to be a conduit for that."

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Solomon Witherspoon, right, jams with business partner John Farrell at Spoon's Studio on Dec. 29, 2021. Witherspoon recently opened the recording studio. Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Solomon Witherspoon’s fingers sank into his keyboard, as he belted out luxurious, melodic notes. “One, two,” he said, his voice echoing through the speakers.

That was just a warm-up.

Soon, Witherspoon and fellow musician John Farrell had co-created half a song in their 30 minutes at Spoon's Studio . This wasn’t part of the plan, but someone tends to pick up an instrument when they’re there. “That’s the power of music,” said Witherspoon.

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Solomon Witherspoon sings during a Dec. 29, 2021, jam session at Spoon's Studio. Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

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“And the studio lets you document it,” added Farrell, bass in hand. “It’s our clubhouse.”

The pair are behind the newly opened recording space at 6420 Redruth St., the former Pinnacle Pointe Studios.

Spoon’s Studio is his second recording space following Solace Studios, which opened in the basement of the Red Herring Lounge around 2017.

Witherspoon and Farrell plan for this to be an all-encompassing recording space, where bands from all genres can rehearse in one room and record in another. They’ll also offer vocal, guitar, piano, drum and bass lessons, among other things.

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As seen from a sound booth, John Farrell, left, and Solomon Witherspoon jam Dec. 29, 2021, at Spoon's Studio. Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

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Witherspoon said he’d bought the space nine months ago, but officially opened in December to record black country artist Tracey Blake.
People are looking to connect, personally, artistically. Everyone’s been isolated for essentially two years, Witherspoon said, and many musicians are practicing in their garages right now.

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“Artists were hit probably more than anybody. Everything ceased. My business stopped on a dime on a Thursday. Boom. You’re done,” said Farrell, who runs JDF Sound and Lighting , which provides full services for shows at Bayfront Festival Park, Pizza Luce and other Duluth venues.

“There’s a need to get your art out there, we just want to be a conduit for that,” Farrell said.

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Solomon Witherspoon talks about his plans for Spoon's Studio, which includes offering lessons as well as recording time, on Dec. 29, 2021. Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

Witherspoon is more the producer / businessman, and Farrell deals with the audio.

Their rehearsal space is plumb full of flutes, clarinets, drums, guitars, trumpets. “It made my wife really happy to get a little more room,” said Farrell.

Aside from a woodworker, Spoon’s Studio is the only other biz in the building.

The pair have known each other from the Duluth music scene for decades.

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Witherspoon, himself, has been playing music for more than 25 years.

He grew up singing in the Witherspoon choir at New Hope Baptist Church from age 8. “There were 10 of us in the family. I’m the youngest boy,” he said.

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Some of the walls at Spoon Studios are decorated with murals. Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

He’s started numerous bands — Soul Prophets, New Congress, 1017 — all with a neo-soul style.

He toured across the U.S., performing in California, New York and Texas and meeting his fair share of celebs. “I met Taylor Swift, Bieber, Justin Timberlake. I was with Prince for 14 years,” Witherspoon recalled.

Hitting the studio after leaving the stage is prime time for an artist because you’re already warmed up, your energy’s elevated from an audience and the creativity’s flowing.

Those are the best moments, Witherspoon said, and he hopes to offer recording time to musicians who require late-night hours.

Witherspoon hopes to expand this recording business, and for now, he’s out of the restaurant industry, he said, referring to the close of Spoon's Bar & Grill in August. “My focus has always been music, so I’m at home.

“I’m where the lord wants me to be now,” he said.

As Farrell and Witherspoon wound down their impromptu session, Witherspoon said he looks forward to sharing his passion and guiding others to improving their craft and creating.

“Through all of my best moments, all of my worst moments and all of my mediocre moments, music has gotten me through,” Witherspoon said.

“That’s my equilibrium.”

Online

Visit Spoon’s Studio's Facebook page at bit.ly/32Pqxun

Melinda Lavine is an award-winning, multidisciplinary journalist with 16 years professional experience. She joined the Duluth News Tribune in 2014, and today, she writes about the heartbeat of our community: the people.

Melinda grew up in central North Dakota, a first-generation American and the daughter of a military dad.

She earned bachelors degrees in English and Communications from the University of North Dakota in 2006, and started her career at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald that summer. She helped launch the Herald's features section, as the editor, before moving north to do the same at the DNT.

Contact her: 218-723-5346, mlavine@duluthnews.com.
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