When first meeting my husband, Bob, he introduced himself as a native of “Muscle Shoals.” He thought I would recognize Muscle Shoals rather than Sheffield, the Shoals town where he was raised. Like any other Yankee, I responded, “Muscle who?” That’s when he began to tell me about the Muscle Shoals Sound, and its legendary music. He told me about the likes of Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones recording there.
The recent documentary, Muscle Shoals, highlights the pioneers and the soulful music they produced from this small town community. Here’s the trailer:
That sound was created by musicians and artists in a southern town. It was created during a time when it should not have been possible for blacks and whites to work together. They transcended prohibitive codes, and they MADE MUSIC! Today, there are new sounds heralded in the Shoals area — some famous, like the Civil Wars, Alabama Shakes, and Dillon Hodges, and some on the brink, like the Valley Roots and The Local Saints, and Billy Allen. Recently, I got to hear some local music.
I was at an annual holiday party at a studio. It was really great, with good food, conversation, and stellar music folks who performed. I heard the funk of the Muscle Shoals sound and the new urban, folk, country, eclectic sound from rising artists. I really like this music and loved listening to all the sounds that evening, but I pondered, “Where is the mixture of spices I saw in the Muscle Shoals movie?” In other words, “Where are the black folks?” Everyone kept asking me if I was a singer. (I have shower status.)
For whatever the reason, they just weren’t there that night. That doesn’t mean they aren’t HERE, making music the way all Shoals musicians used to — in a melting pot. Oh yes, we got it going on here. So, come on! Let’s applaud all Muscle Shoals sound(s), including every shade and ALL genres of SECULAR music. (We’ll hit the gospel/spiritual music another time.) LET THE GARDEN PARTY BEGIN!! ‘You got someone you want to invite? Let me know, and I’ll post their video.
The Valley Roots
VERY SPICY…waiting for the video!