FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, AL has been one of America’s premier recording studios for over six decades. Earlier this year, founder of FAME Studios Rick Hall passed away at the age of 85 leaving behind an amazing legacy. Hall was known for working with artists like Aretha Franklin, Duane Allman, Otis Redding, and Etta James early in their careers. Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Little Richard are just a few of the many artists to record with Hall at FAME Studios. In honor of FAME Studios and the Muscle Shoals sound, a team of legendary artists ranging from the "Demon of Screaming" himself Mr. Steven Tyler to the incredible Aloe Blacc comes Muscle Shoals Small Town, Big Sound, an album dedicated to "The Father of the Muscle Shoals Sound."
On Oct. 4 the Grammy Museum brought together a panel of artists and crew members that contributed to the album. Led by the museums artistic director Scott Goldman, the panel included Tyler, Grace Potter (The Nocturnals), Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), producer/engineer/drummer Eric Valentine, Rick Hall’s son Rodney (who was an executive producer on the album), and Keith Stegall. Before the panel started, a video of scenes from the Muscle Shoals documentary and new footage from the recording sessions for the album showed.
The album truly is the definition of labor of love in that all the artists on it had one goal in mind; to pay homage to their idols. One example is that Tyler was greatly inspired by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards so he chose to re-rerecord “Brown Sugar” with his friend Nuno Bettencourt. Many of the songs have performances from the musicians who recorded on the original tracks, like bassist David Hood and keyboardist Randy McCormick.
In addition to discussing the album, there were six tracks played from the album. The songs played were "I’d Rather Go Blind" (Etta James) recorded by Grace Potter, "Respect Yourself" (Staple Singers) recorded by Mike Farris and the Blind Boys of Alabama, "Come and Go Blues" (The Allman Brothers) recorded by Allison Krauss, "Gotta Serve Somebody" (Bob Dylan) recorded by Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapelton & Lee Ann Womack, "Brown Sugar" (Rolling Stones) recorded by Steven Tyler and Nuno Bettencourt, and “Giving It Up for Your Love” recorded by Tom Johnston & Delbert McClinton.