Studio Dunlap is the Sequatchie Valley's only recording studio.

Studio Dunlap is an Award-Winning Production Company in the Sequatchie Valley

Cody McCarver, Dunlap native and former member of the country band Confederate Railroad, is making waves in the music industry. With a new award-winning album and a television series, he’s a force in the entertainment industry. However, it’s his work in Dunlap that is perhaps the most intriguing. Along with partners Lewie and Becky Card, he opened Studio Dunlap, which is a recording studio and video production company. The trio is also behind numerous other projects in Historic Downtown Dunlap, and each one is changing the valley’s tune.

“I couldn’t have asked to grow up in a better place,” Cody shared.

After an exciting career on the road, Cody moved back home and focused on his solo career. Even more, he opened Studio Dunlap with the Cards to help other artists. The recording studio and video production company is a launch pad for the wealth of talent in the Sequatchie Valley.

These projects and a myriad of special events lure visitors and have solidified the town as one of Tennessee’s top new places to visit.

Cody’s Time with Confederate Railroad

Cody McCarver
Photo courtesy of Cody McCarver

Like many singers and musicians, McCarver began his musical career at church.

“My mama said, “You’re going to play the piano, and you’re going to be the church pianist.” So, at age 9, I became the church pianist,” Cody shared. “I grew up in a Pentecostal church, so we had music.

He joined a band in college and aimed to make a career out of music. His goal was for his band to become the next Confederate Railroad, which is still his favorite band of all time.

“Danny Shirley was my favorite singer, and he was local to us,” Cody said. “He and the Confederate Railroad band inspired me to get into the music business.”

While Cody was paying his dues in the music industry, he got a call that Danny Shirley was looking for him. The rest is history and he spent more than a decade touring with his favorite band.

“Everything about the experience was great. I learned so much from watching Danny work on stage and while recording, and the way he carried himself. It honed my songwriting, and I met so many people that I never would have met, like John Schneider, who I work with every day now,” Cody said.

After his time in Confederate Railroad, Cody moved back to his hometown and began building his solo career. Meanwhile, he also became involved in the town’s exciting restoration. Just a few years ago, many of the downtown buildings sat vacant. Cody began changing that with projects like Studio Dunlap.

Studio Dunlap

Recording Studio

Book a recording session at Studio Dunlap in Dunlap, TN.
Photo credit: Hannah Glover

Cody produced his award-winning new album, Small Town America, at Studio Dunlap. His signature style of outlaw gospel stems from his roots in Dunlap, his time with Confederate Railroad, and his deep faith in God. Hear Cody’s latest singles here and listen for the clear sound quality of the vocals and music.

Studio Dunlap offers 3 isolation booths and professional tools. Artists can use the studio’s 5-piece drum kit, B3 organ, and Yamaha CP88. Plus, they have access to a full line of microphones, headphones, and personal mixers. With Cody’s vast network of musicians, he can provide talent to customize the recording experience to whatever the client wants.

Cody McCarver wins song of the year.

Cody recorded his single “God Did That” at Studio Dunlap. It won 2024 Song of the Year at the Inspirational Country Music Association’s (ICMA) awards ceremony.

Video Production

Studio Dunlap offers video production for both music and commercial projects. Corporate clients like Tri-County Bank use Studio Dunlap for commercial advertising projects. Cody produced music videos for all his latest singles including “Small Town America”, “My Song”, and “You and Me in Tennessee” at Studio Dunlap. That’s also true for his award-winning single “God Did That”. The Inspirational Country Music Association (ICMA) nominated his video “God Did That” for 2024 Music Video of the Year. Additionally, Cody earned nine other ICMA nominations for his Small Town America album.

Cody and the team have finished producing season one of Small Town America – Dunlap, TN. The 12-episode docuseries focuses on Dunlap’s incredible growth. It takes viewers through the revitalization of the Dunlap Mercantile, Studio Dunlap, Dolce in Dunlap, and many other exciting businesses in town. The series is currently available on DVD; purchase it here. Viewers can watch the series on Pure Flix beginning July 4, 2024. The second season is underway, and the team is producing it at Studio Dunlap.

View Studio Dunlap’s video production portfolio here.

Exciting Growth in Dunlap


Cody, Lewie, and Becky are changing the face of Dunlap with the restoration and repurposing of vacant downtown buildings. The Dunlap Mercantile now occupies the oldest building in Dunlap. Formerly one of the town’s general stores, today the Dunlap Mercantile sells western wear and offers a hat customization bar. It also offers an array of other apparel, home decor, and gifts. The partners are behind other exciting restorations like Dolce in Dunlap, and they have many more projects in the works. It’s an exciting time to visit Dunlap!

The Silver Eagle is one of the most interesting places to stay in Dunlap. The four-unit collection of suites sits above Studio Dunlap. Each one is themed to honor some of classic country’s most influential stars including Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, and Dolly Parton. These overnight accommodations were thoughtfully designed to inspire artists visiting Studio Dunlap. However, anyone can stay at The Silver Eagle.

Guitar mural at Studio Dunlap
Photo credit: Hannah Glover

Cody commissioned the captivating Guitar Mural outside Studio Dunlap. Painted by artist Ron Sweeney, the mural is based on a Gibson J200 Bob Dylan Series acoustic guitar. Sweeney has also painted murals in Nashville.

Songwriters Festival in Dunlap TN
Photo Credit: Songwriters Festival

In addition to the new businesses opening in Dunlap, the town puts on some amazing special events. The annual Historic Downtown Dunlap Songwriter Festival happens each June. Cody is involved in the event’s planning and many of his businesses host entertainment and songwriter sessions.

Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway

Photo credit: Sean Fisher

Along with downtown Dunlap’s ongoing revival, the burst of tourism growth has also been spurred by the designation of the Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway. The 70-mile stretch connects Dunlap with other small towns in Tennessee’s Great Valley like Pikeville, Whitwell, and South Pittsburg.

Because of the valley’s dramatic landscape and natural appeal, new visitors are flocking to Sequatchie Valley for hiking, biking, camping, and other outdoor adventures. Family-owned businesses like Little Tail Farms are welcoming guests with fresh experiences. Additionally, the towns along the byway are working hard to provide the influx of guests with the very best shopping, dining, and historical and cultural experiences. Also, the region offers a variety of places to stay including hotels, cabins, campgrounds, treehouses, and more.

“I feel good about our tourism; it’s a good thing for us,” Cody said.

Touring Dunlap and the Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway

Spanning from Pikeville to South Pittsburg with plenty of small-town stops such as Dunlap along the way, the Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway presents a new destination for travelers. Top destinations in Tennessee include the Smoky Mountains, Nashville, and Memphis. However, discover the hometown charm of Dunlap and other Sequatchie Valley towns for a new experience. This area is soaring to the top as a new and exciting Southeastern destination.

Use our website to start planning an epic adventure along the Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway and be sure to visit Historic Downtown Dunlap during your trip!

Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton


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