Grant Avenue Studio 38 Grant Avenue

By Zachary Strong

Hamilton’s musical heritage stretches back decades, and a Kickstarter campaign launched in late January by Grant Avenue Studio offers a chance for backers to be a part of history by contributing to some much-needed building repairs.

Since its beginnings in 1976 as a convergence of ideas between Bob Doidge, Daniel Lanois, and Bob Lanois, Grant Avenue Studio has become a cornerstone of the Hamilton music community with their focus on affordable rates and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.

Amy King, Bob Doidge, Dan Lanois, Emmy-lou Harris. Photo taken from Grant Avenue's Facebook page.
Amy King, Bob Doidge, Dan Lanois, Emmy-lou Harris. Photo taken from Grant Avenue’s Facebook page.

In addition to supporting the careers of countless local artists, the unassuming studio located in a converted WW1-era Edwardian home has also hosted some of music’s most recognizable names – U2, Gordon Lightfoot, Johnny Cash, Ani DiFranco, Bruce Cockburn, Los Lobos, Collective Soul, Prairie Oyster, The Tea Party, and Raffi have all recorded at Grant Avenue. It was also the birthplace of ambient music in the early 1980’s.

After 40 years of recording use, the century-old building is in need of extensive repairs, including a new heating and cooling system, foundation work, new floors, new ceiling panels, and plumbing upgrades. The capital cost of these repairs is close to $100,000, which has prompted Bob and Amy King to turn to Kickstarter in the absence of any federal or provincial grants.

Image taken from Grant Ave. Kickstarter Campaign
Image taken from Grant Ave. Kickstarter Campaign

Backer rewards for the campaign include a recording & production masterclass with Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel), as well as a masterclass held by Bob Doidge (Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn) revealing the techniques he’s perfected over decades for recording acoustic instruments such as the guitar, harp, and grand piano. Rare autographed albums from Daniel Lanois, Chantal Chamberland, and Gordon Lightfoot are also available.

Over ninety percent of Grant Avenue’s clientele are local musicians, and the ultimate goal of the campaign is to fully fund the restoration work through Kickstarter. This would maintain their fee structure – an affordable flat hourly rate, with no instrument use fees or equipment rental charges.

See Kickstarter campaign

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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