No two studios higher captured the Muscle Shoals sound — the now iconic, soulful vitality of music recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala. — than FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound. Opened in 1959 and 1969, respectively, each studios hosted greats like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Etta James. Come Sept. 28, songs by such legends will likely be lined on the 16-track tribute Muscle Shoals… Small Town, Big Sound. Curated by Rodney Hall (son of FAME owner-producer Rick Hall, who died in January) and producer Keith Stegall, the album options Chris Stapleton, Aloe Blacc, Jason Isbell and 22 others who visited the 16.5-square-mile city to rerecord classics initially tracked on the studios. Four contributors share how Muscle Shoals impressed their artistry.
“The first time I heard Aretha’s record ‘Respect,’ without knowing where it was recorded, I knew it was special. It was one of the most well-written R&B songs I had heard in a long time. There’s that B-section that lifts the whole song up in that great gospel way, which, to me, is the hallmark of Etta James.”
“At 15, I began gathering albums from Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Phoebe Snow, Clarence Carter, Aretha. And it was solely later, studying the advantageous print within the liner notes, that I noticed virtually all my favourite information had been recorded at Muscle Shoals. That’s clearly not a coincidence. That place is a vortex of soul.”
“We spent just a few days recording [The Rolling Stones’] ‘Brown Sugar’ with three feminine singers, a bass participant from The Swampers and a piano participant from Fame Gang. It was sick that we gathered all these guys to play on this monitor that they performed from means again when. I had no thought how good the music would prove — I used to be overwhelmed.”
“My mother traced my household roots again, and my household is from Muscle Shoals, proper throughout the Tennessee line. I selected to document ‘True Love’ as a result of Glenn Frey [who recorded some of his third solo album at FAME] and I have been nice pals for 35 years. His passing [in 2016] was devastating. I used to be informed it was one in all his favorites.”