Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First ever live music performance at OZ Music

First ever live music performance at OZ Music 

Alabama Music goes to OZ Music in Tuscaloosa, Alabama arriving in time to see Callooh! Callay! and Sparrow & the Ghost. This happened back October 29, 2010. Reed Watson played drums for both acts.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jackson Highway Reunion Concert at PJ's Muscle Shoals

Jackson Highway Reunion Concert at PJ's Muscle Shoals

Alabama Music goes to PJ's in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to attend the Jackson Highway Reunion Concert.

Jackson Highway was named by Muscle Shoals producer
Jimmy Johnson after the legendary address of the Muscle Shoals Sound Recording
Studio in Sheffield, Alabama....3614 Jackson Highway. With that name the band
certainly became a part of a special musical family.

The founding members of the band, brothers, Dennis and Russell Gulley, along with
friend, Tommy Patterson, migrated from Fort Payne, Alabama to the Shoals after
several years of working on the road with both regional and national acts, such as
Cross from Birmingham and Ruby Winters (Polydor Records recording artist). The
Gulley brothers came out of a background of Southern Gospel music, while Patterson
was a music student in college. All were searching for a future in music as artists
and /or songwriters.

Shortly after getting to Muscle Shoals Sound, the trio was joined by guitarist Britt
Meacham, and drummer, Ronnie Vance, a native of Florence, Alabama. Britt was a
native of Memphis, but had settled in Mobile, Alabama with his new wife, Cheryl.
Britt had previously worked with Bell Records recording act, Storm, a rock trio
produced by Barry Beckett at MSS (Muscle Shoals Sound).

Mike O'rear, the publishing administrator for MSS, was put in charge of demoing the
new arrivals for the publishing company and became instrumental in supporting the
band members by getting them a house band gig across the Ala.Tenn. state line at a
club called Johnny's Club. The band worked there from 1973 till about 1977, when
they released their first LP on the Muscle Shoals Sound label, simply titled ,
"Jackson Highway".

With the release of their first recording, Jackson Highway began a hard journey that
kept them constantly touring throughout the South , colleges, clubs, concert dates,
where ever anyone would listen to them.

In 1980, their hard work finally paid off with a second LP, produced by the same
MSS team of Jimmy Johnson and David Hood. This time the LP was on the
MSS/Capitol label. To support the record, the band toured with Ted Nugent, UFO,
Triumph, and opened for groups, such as Blackfoot.

When Capitol, did not pick up the band's option, the group then moved to Nashville,
at the suggestion of hometown friends, the Country Supergroup, ALABAMA. This
time, keyboardist, Tommy Patterson chose to stay in Muscle Shoals to do sessions
and work for the recording studios.

In 1986, after some 13 years together, the band officially disbanded. Since then, the
various members have remained in touch, even performing with each other on
occasion, and each continues to maintain a musical career.

Dennis, lives in Nashville, manages a recording studio with partner, Johnny Neel,
formerly of The Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule, and performs at Nashville clubs.
He's also toured with ALABAMA and The Moffits.

Tommy Patterson is still in Muscle Shoals, works at the recording studios in
computer programming, piano tuning, and sessions, gigs locally as well as on the
road, with such stars as the legendary, Little Richard.

Britt Meacham, lives in Mobile and tours/records regularly with Malaco/Waldoxy
Records group, The Beat Daddys. Britt has also toured overseas with Blues Legend,
Little Milton. Of course Britt is also famous for supplying some famous guitar licks
on the giant rock and roll recording by Bob Seger, Old Time Rock and Roll.

Russell Gulley continues to perform and record. He,also is involved with the arts
community as a folklorist and community arts administrator. He serves on the board
of the Alabama Folklife Association, is active in arts in education programming, and
has served his hometown of Fort Payne, as one of the organizers of an annual
festival, The Boom Days Heritage Celebration.

Ronnie Vance, still resides in Florence, where he is a successful businessman and

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Ramblers Induction into BRC Hall of Fame

The Ramblers Induction into BRC Hall of Fame

Alabama Music goes to the Cedars Club in Birmingham, Alabama to attend Birmingham Record Collectors' Record Show and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies. The Ramblers were a huge part of the garage band scene in Alabama.

THE RAMBLERS:   In 1961 the guitar playing Terrell brothers were in high school and found an 8th grade drummer, Johnny Robinson to play rock and roll music. It was decided that the eldest brother, Eddie would play bass and Tommy would play rhythm guitar. They practiced in Johnny's garage. Johnny's father had a Rambler automobile. Since a lot of bands in the 60's used automobile names, the Terrell brothers and Robinson became The Ramblers. The threesome played a few performances and soon realized they needed to add a lead guitarist. A classmate of the Terrell's, Van Veenschoten took that roll. The group played for local high school sororities, fraternities and dances. When Eddie Terrell received a tennis scholarship from the University of Alabama, the band was in need of a new bass player. Chris Convey, another high school classmate of the Terrell's, joined The Ramblers as the new bass player. In 1962, The Ramblers were working regularly on weekends around Birmingham and recorded their first record, 'Stop That Twisting' and 'Hundred Miles Away'. The recording was done at Ed Boutwell's Recording Studio in English Village, up the street from Johnny's house. Duke Rumore played 'Hundred Miles Away' regularly and added The Ramblers to the "Top 50" play list on WYDE from December 19, 1962 through January 8 1963. The band also performed at "Duke's of Dixieland" sox hops at the Ensley National Guard Amory. This was Duke Rumore's weekend dance party for high school students. The admission was fifty cents and the band was paid sixty dollars for three hours. Later that year, Chip Sanders joined the band as the piano player. This group, Tommy, Johnny, Van, Chris and Chip became the nucleus for the group that would become know as "the party band" to hire for your dance. Rehearsing in Johnny's garage, learning new songs off the radio, gave The Ramblers the real feel of being a true garage band. By 1965 the band was working primarily at fraternity and sorority parties around the southeast. Tommy, Chip and Chris were at the University of Alabama and members of Pi Kappa Alpha. Van was at Samford and Johnny at The University of Montevallo. In 1967, the group recorded their second record, 'Come Back, Come Back' and 'Whole Lot of Woman', also recorded at Boutwell Studios. Both songs were written by Chip Sanders. 'Come Back, Come Back' received moderate air play in the south. Also during this time, Ed Boutwell used the Ramblers as back up musicians for singers recording at his studios. The Ramblers were the first band to play at Dave Roddy's (WSGN) Airport Armory sock hop and made many more appearances over the years including backing up Bobby Goldsboro and Billy Joe Royal. In 1968, a 16 year old Vicki Hallman joined the Ramblers. Playing covers of Janis Joplin, Linda Ronstadt and other popular female vocalist added to the popularity of the band. Working 35 out of 50 weekends a year was common. Vicki later became a back up singer for The Buck Owens Band and was a regular on Hee Haw for 9 years in the late 70's and early 80's. As the sixties came to a close, the pressures of being married, raising children, and "real careers" began to take the place of the weekend performances. Johnny said "I don't remember the band really breaking up. We played our last band job in the summer of 1971. Then we just did not get any more calls. The band members just drifted apart." Van Veenschoten was killed in motorcycle accidence in 1972. He left a wife and a four year old son. The rest of The Ramblers spent the seventies raising families, working and reminiscing about the glory days of the sixties. In the summer of 1979, Johnny's mother died and the Terrell brothers came to the funeral. Johnny had not seen the Terrell's in years, but as they talked, the idea of getting the band back together developed. Jim Buford was brought in to take Van's place as the lead guitarist and John Livingston was added to play keyboards when Chip was not available. Chip had moved to Jackson, Mississippi and travel became an issue. Eddie Terrell was brought back because Chris had moved to Florida. The band rehearsed for a few months and played their first job with the new members in October 1979. The music was good, the people danced and the band was back. For the next 33 years, The Ramblers performed around the Southeast for hundreds of dance parties and events. Today in 2012 the group is still together playing music for the teenagers of the sixties.

Bunky Anderson Induction into BRC Hall of Fame

Bunky Anderson Induction into BRC Hall of Fame 

Alabama Music goes to the Cedars Club in Birmingham, Alabama to attend Birmingham Record Collectors' Record Show and Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies.Bunky Anderson helped shape the Alabama music scene both as a player and as a businessman.

BUNKY ANDERSON :  Born in 1947, Bunky Anderson was like so many of the other boys growing up during this era. He attended church, went to school, and enjoyed playing baseball. It was in the mid-sixties that Bunky discovered a whole new piece of the puzzle for his life -- a love for music. It was at this time that he heard artists such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and James Brown. Birmingham had many venues that provided music including school dances, dances at local armories, band concerts, movies, night clubs, and bands playing anywhere that a proprietor would have them. And Bunky was right there. About this time he became best friends with Bobby Marlin, the drummer for a local band called The Counts. Together the two would go wherever the music was - mostly going to local night spots such as the Five O'clock Club, Charlie Brown's Lounge, the Boom Boom Room, the Gaslight Lounge, the In-Club, and the Cain Break. Bunky also spent time chasing the latest record releases at Rumore's Record Rack, the Psychedelic Shack, and even Sears where he bought his first Beatles record. It was not until after finishing high school at Ensley that Bucky became serious about the drums and would soon begin his career as a drummer in bands. Touring for a year with the Malibu's opened up the world of the music industry for Bunky. This began a career that has lasted for over 40 years in the business. During that time he has been a part of many bands - some for a few shows, others for many shows. The list includes such local bands as the Daze of the Weak, the Distortions, Freda Wallace, and the American Cyrkus. Nationally Bunky has performed with Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Oliver, the Swingin' Medallions, the Drifters, the Tams, the Box Tops, the Classics Four, and the Allman Brothers. Bunky's next stop was in 1970 when he made his best deal ever -- his wife, Vicki. In 1971 his first son, Wolfe, was born and so was his next career move. He founded Southeastern Attractions - SEA. Over the next 20 years, he and his business partner, Barbara Hallerman, ran what Bunky called the best minor-league booking agency ever formed. Southeastern Attractions provided bands for fraternity/sorority shows, high school proms, bars, country clubs, and anywhere else that would hire bands to play for their parties. Bunky was there in the beginning to book such acts as Poo Nanny, the Commodores, ZZ Top, the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Oak Arkansas, Wet Willie, the Grass Roots, Bob Seger, the Amboy Dukes, and Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds. SEA also booked hundreds of part-time cover bands. In 1990 he sold SEA and began playing again with the Big Chill, Topper Price and the Upsetters, and pick-up jobs and sessions. He also enjoyed an every-other-year deal with Johnny Sandlin to produce records for artists that included Gregg Allman, Pinetop Perkins, and Jimmy Hall, for which he won a Nammy Award. Over the years a lot has changed but probably more has remained the same. Bunky is still enjoying his best deal - being married to Vicki and, along with their 2 sons, Wolfe and Saylor, still lives in Birmingham. He is still in the music business although in a different way. He owns a backline company that provides gear for everyone from Aretha Franklin and the Blind Boys of Alabama to rockers like Everclear and the Flaming Lips. So even though he may not be playing music himself, he enables others to make music, and that interest has never and will never change.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Blue Devils at Gip's Place

Alabama Music goes to Gip's Place in Bessemer, Alabama. Gip's Place is all about the blues and one of the last true juke joints. The Blue Devils headlined the night we were there. Solid blues played by folks that love the blues.
Gipson, Henry (Gip)
Blues and gospel musician and Owner of Gip's Place, a juke joint in Bessemer, AL .
This year is turning out to be musically wonderful. Some of the greatest Blues musicians today have honored me with their company. Hard to imagine these great players at my little Juke. Over the last year we have personally welcomed Bobby Rush, Cedric Burnside, T-Model Ford, Elliott and the Untouchables, Gary Burnside, Kent Burnside, Duwayne Burnside, Davis Coen, Jimbo Mathus, Daddy Mack, and many more.

The Blue Devils
Location: Birmingham, AL
Business Contact: Leonard Watkins
Phone: 205-329-1294
The Blue Devils is a four piece blues band that plays the hell out of BLUES. A varied playlist that ranges from Tom Waits to Muddy Waters, as well as strong originals, The Blue Devils make every song their own. Embracing the untidy and unwashed element of the blues; The Blue Devils play their music with raw, unpretentious self expression. The Blue Devils are available for clubs, festivals, events and private parties around the Southeast.
Leonard Watkins: Leonard has been playing blues guitar over thirty five years. His introduction to blues was a Lightnin' Hopkins record as a kid and there was no going back. Leonard won the 2006 duo/solo category of the Magic City Blues Society's Battle of The Blues bands. He went on to compete at the 2007 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. An acoustic blues player for many years,aggressively playing slide on a 1932 National Steel, he fits right in with The Blue Devil's agressive style.
Joe 'Schu' Shumacher: The professor of rhythm, 'Schu' has been playing drums over forty years. In Birmingham, he played for SNACK and was drummer for the very successful blues band, The Polecats for over ten years, performing countless festivals, clubs and events. His drumming drives the groove and is an integral part of The Blue Devils gritty sound.
Philip Dabney: Philip is a multi-talented musician and has played various instruments with numerous bands for over twenty five years. Leonard and Philip have played together off and on for fifteen years. Prior to The Blue Devils, he played acoustic blues with The Leonard Watkins Trio. Philip's intense, expressive playing defines the Blue Devil's unrelenting attitude toward the blues. He plays every note with his entire being and in keeping with the Blue Devils motto, plays the hell out of the harmonica with each performance
Terry Waldron: Terry held the bass spot with the blues band, BIG PAPA and also played with The Leonard Watkins Trio, before becoming a Blue Devil. He spent several years playing and recording with the indie folk band, Menewa. He is very passionate with the music, occasionally getting caught up in the blues spirit; he will holler encouragement, pushing the intensity of the music even farther. Terry is an extraordinary musician and lays down an infectious groove on a custom five string long scale Hamer bass. Together, he and Schu keep The Blue Devils groove in the pocket.
Source: Official Website

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jerry Masters Interview Dick Cooper Party

Alabama Music goes to Shoal Creek near Florence, Alabama to attend Dick Cooper's After WC Hand Festival Party to honor Christine Ohlman. The interview with Jerry Masters took place in Dick Cooper's studio/library.
Jerry Masters
Born: Dec. 11, 1939
Lived in Muscle Shoals, AL
1960-1969 Bass Player Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Black Combo, Ace Cannon
1969-1970 Chief Engineer and Asst. To Rick Hall FAME Recording Studios
1970-1977 Chief Engineer and Session Bass Player Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
1978-1981 Senior Engineer Criteria Recording Studios Miami, Florida

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

With over 50 years in rock music, Jerry Masters went from sixties rock star to recording engineer, working with many of the most recognized performers in the world. He mixed and engineered some of the greatest songs and recordings of our time. What do Charlie Rich, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Burt Reynolds, Bob Seger, Liza Minelli, Donny Osmond, Jerry Lee Lewis, Steve Winwood, Paul Anka, Wayne Newton, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Rivers, Cat Stevens, Boz Scaggs, Ronny and the Daytonas, The Hombres, Clarence Carter, The Osmonds, Wilson Pickett, J.J. Cale, Bobby Womack, Leon Russell, Luther Ingram, Jim Capaldi, Canned Heat, Percy Sledge, Candi Staton, Simon & Garfunkle, Blackfoot, Mary MacGregor, Kim Carnes, Dr. Hook, Foxy, Mac Davis, Rita Coolidge, Andy Williams, Peter Yarrow, Traffic, and Will McFarlane all have in common? The answer is Jerry Masters! Jerry started his music career playing bass for the great Charlie Rich and before the first decade was over he had moved on touring with Ronny and the Daytonas supporting the hit song, Little GTO. From the musicians of that group he went on to form The Hombres who had the hit song, Let It All Hang Out, a song that has experienced a revival on You Tube and on the hit TV show, Cold Case. Jerry then moved on to make Rock and Roll history with the remarkably creative folks at Muscle Shoals Sound. Were it not for the incredible work at that North Alabama recording studio Rock Music would have a huge hole in its history. Jerry reinvented himself in the seventies and went from playing music to creating music with the greatest entertainers and musicians in the business. He quickly became one of the best recording engineers to sit at a console. Jerry's new book is a fabulous and fun read. While the news and the music magazines may have told you what the publicists and the handlers of the stars wanted you to know, Jerry shares wonderful behind the scenes stories of working with the world's greatest stars. This is not a "dirt" book or "tell all." It is clear in every chapter that Jerry had great respect and became dear friends with most all of the people he worked with in music. In fact he rat's himself out more than anything and shares honestly how he made his way through the alley's of the rock scene and survived. Hanging From A Tree By My Knees is a wonderful journey through the back door of Rock Music where we get to see how the people we don't know made success possible for the names we do recognize. Jerry Masters was just one of those hidden treasures and man what a ride he had.

About the Author:
With over 50 years in rock music, Jerry Masters went from sixties rock star to recording engineer, working with many of the most recognized performers in the world. He mixed and engineered some of the greatest songs and recordings of our time. Jerry started his music career playing bass for the great Charlie Rich and before the first decade was over he had moved on touring with Ronny and the Daytonas supporting the hit song, Little GTO. From the musicians of that group he went on to form The Hombres who had the hit song, Let It All Hang Out, a song that has experienced a revival on You Tube and on the hit TV show, Cold Case. Jerry then moved on to make Rock and Roll history with the remarkably creative folks at Muscle Shoals Sound. Were it not for the incredible work at that North Alabama recording studio Rock Music would have a huge hole in its history. Jerry reinvented himself in the seventies and went from playing music to creating music with the greatest entertainers and musicians in the business. He quickly became one of the best recording engineers to sit at a console. Jerry is now semi-retired and is preparing to make a new life back home in Florence, AL with the love of his life, the former Jan Stevenson, of Florence, AL.

Source: Hanging From A Tree By My Knees (9780981965741): Jerry Masters: Books

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bottletree Performs at Dick Cooper Party

Bottletree performs at Dick Cooper Party

Alabama Music goes to Shoals Creek near Florence, Alabama to attend Dick Cooper's Spring Party 2012. Bottletree is a Alabama band to watch. Bottletree is a new band from the Shoals area of north Alabama, consisting of Angela Hacker, James Leblanc, Scott Boyer, Jon Davis, Byron Green, and Zac Thomas. Bottletree, taking the ever evolving Muscle Shoals Music into the future.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Kelvin Holly Interview Dick Cooper Party

Alabama Music goes to Shoals Creek near Florence, Alabama to attend WC Handy Festival as well as Dick Cooper's After WC Handy Festival Party to honor Christine Ohlman. I interviewed tele-master and road warrior, Kelvin Holly in Dick Cooper's studio/library.
His bio:
"I'm very fortunate to be able to work doing what I love. I've made my living for over three decades playing the guitar. Many one nighters, a lot of hard work, a lot of long nights, long flights, endless drives, but still the same joy as the day I started. I've played everywhere from Edna's Chicken Shack to the Vienna Opera House. I play guitar for Little Richard, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Pegi Young, and The Decoys. I also do recording sessions, and i've had the oppurtunity to record with some of my favorite artists.
I've had the good fortune to play live or in the studio with, Bobby"Blue" Bland, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Hall, Little Richard, Tina Turner, Bo Diddley, Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, Billy Bob Thornton, Klaus Voormann, Don Nix, Jerry Joseph, The Drive By Truckers, Bettye Lavette, Mac Davis, Marty Stuart, Eddie Levert, Donnie Fritts, Lee Roy Parnell, John Fogerty, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Tony Joe White, Percy Sledge, Little Milton, Ruth Brown, Billy Preston, Russell Smith, Marty Raybon, T. Graham Brown, Steve "Bubba" Bassett, Chuck Leavell, Eddy Mitchell, Johnny Haliday, The Decoys, The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Phil Driscoll, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Swan, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, Jerry "Boogie" McCain, B.B King, James Brown, Bonnie Bramlett, Bekka Bramlett, Ron Wood, Reggie Young, James Burton, David Foster, Ricky Minor, Sheila E., Beth Nielson Chapman, Tommy Shaw, Aslyn, Paul Thorn, Jerry Butler, Lloyd Price, Steve Cropper, Booker T., Tommy Talton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Wilson Pickett, The Commodores, Lionel Ritchie, Eddie Hinton, Eddie Floyd, William Lee Golden, Waylon Jennings, Tim Wilson, Delbert McClinton, Clarence Carter, and a lot of great musicians!
Also appeared on TV shows such as The Tonight Show, David Letterman, The American Music Awards, The Grammy Awards, The TV Land Awards, The Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame grand opening on HBO, Rosie O'Donnell Show, Wayne Brady Show, Celebrity Duets, Motown Live, CBS Early Show, The Today Show, PBS, The History Channel, MTV and VH1...and, oh yea, Bozo the Clown show when I was about five!" ~K

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mule Day Parade with Alabama Country Music

Mule Day Parade with Alabama Country Music

Alabama Music goes to Winfield, Alabama to attend their Mule Day Celebration which happens the 4th Saturday in Oct. every year. Alabama country music is provided by Tim McCool (Mark Bullington, David Daniel, Jason Lee, Don Jones, Chuck Tilley, Ray Reach, Ricky Reed, Don Collier and Janna Wiggins), Glenn Templeton, Jacky Jack White (Clark Williams, Doyle Grisham, Dan Dugmore, David Russell, Walt Cunningham, Kirk "Jellyroll" Johnson and Delnora Reed), Jeff Whitlow and The Old Barn Band (Porter Dutton Jr., Dr. Mike Thompson, Wayne Reburn, Gaylon Parker and Ryan Gilley), The Wayne Mills Band (Trey Evans, Adam Guthrie, Will Hudson, Stacy Morris, and Dave "Peso" Woest) with Rollin In The Hay (Rick Carter, Barry Waldrep and Stan Foster) and The Kenneth Brian Band (Travis Stephens, Dickey Pryor and Zach Graham).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Scott Boyer III Interview Dick Cooper Party

Scott Boyer III Interview Dick Cooper Party

Alabama Music goes to Shoal Creek near Florence, Alabama to attend Dick Cooper's After WC Hand Festival Party to honor Christine Ohlman. Scott Boyer III is a band member of Bottletree which has just released their self-titled EP. Bottletree is James LeBlanc, Angela Hacker, Scott Boyer III, Byron Green, Jon Davis & Zach Thomas. Their website:

The Southern United States have for centuries been known for their colorful people, vivid imagery, and soulful music. In line with these longstanding values, we are proud to announce the formation of a new collaborative effort between six hardworking, established young musicians here in Muscle Shoals, AL which we have decided to name 'Bottletree' after another interesting southern tradition. Together, the six of us (Angela Hacker, James LeBlanc, Scott Boyer, Byron Green, Jon Davis, and Zach Thomas) pledge to continue to put our full efforts into consistently writing and producing new original material as well as delivering an outstanding live show every time we step onstage. We are immensely excited to be able to come together in such a compelling way, and look forward to many good things to come.

The actual bottle tree concept was originally brought to the southern states by slaves who had brought it with them from the Congo region. Colorful bottles are either slipped over bare branches or sometimes hung from them with twine, and the bottles dance around in the sunlight when blown by the wind. Legend has it that evil spirits, upon seeing this take place, will become entranced by the swaying bottles and will be helplessly drawn to them. Upon entering the bottles to appease their curiosity, the spirits become trapped and are unable to find their way back out, and eventually succumb to the intensified rays of the sun. These festive works of art have evolved from a very simple design in the beginning into an elaborate individual statement today, with entire groups dedicated to acquiring antique bottle for their trees and current artists taking things to a whole new level with customized trees made out of fabricated metals (see links on site for examples).

The story of the bottle trees not only adds another layer to our production, but in a large way embodies our spirit as well. All of the members of the band bring a distinct voice and a seasoned musical background to the group, and when blended together we have found that the result is a unique and quite alluring sound that has few limitations in terms of style and form. All have also stood alone as singers and songwriters prior to banding together. To fully capitalize on this, we will all be pitching in on vocals and writing duties, egging each other on in the studio, and encouraging each other to play our best onstage and have a good time doing it. We hope that you will decide to come on board, and promise to deliver the best experience we possibly can if you do. Thanks for checking us out and with any luck we'll see you at a show soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Karen Gruber Interview Dick Cooper Party

Karen Gruber Interview Dick Cooper Party (unedited)

Alabama Music goes to Shoals Creek near Florence, Alabama to attend Dick Cooper's After WC Handy Festival Party. Karen Gruber does traditional jazz much like Julie London.

Karen Gruber was born in Florence, Alabama -- right across the river from Muscle Shoals, the "hit recording capital" -- and she has lived most of her life there except for brief adventures in New Orleans and in Texas. She grew up on the banks of the Tennessee River listening to a wide variety of music. Her earliest influences were Elvis, James Brown, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and anything R & B. Later, she moved on to such artists as Julie London, Peggy Lee, Billie Holiday, the Allman Brothers Band, Bette Midler, Santana, and later Sarah Vaughn, Ella, and k.d. lang. 

Karen performed in community theater in Florence, and at the University of North Alabama. She was the vocalist for the Little Big Band, and she has sung with the Tommy Martin Group, the Sonny Harris Group, the Charlie Rose Trio, and Nice 'N' Easy. Karen has performed at the W. C. Handy Music Festival in Florence in the early 80s and again for the past three years as well. 

She has been married since 1982, and has one daughter who was born in 1984. Karen retired from her singing at this time to devote her time and energy to her family, until the year 2000. She couldn't hold it in any longer -- she HAD to sing again! 

As Karen says, "I made a mistake by denying myself the release of expressing my emotions through music for so long. Although I reached a point where I had to sing again, I had locked my voice deep inside and protected 'her' for so many years that I had to fight with myself to let her out. Now when someone asks, 'What do you do?' with some lingering sadness in my eyes, but a huge hopeful smile, I can finally say, 'I'm a singer.' The title I chose for this CD, Into My Own, reflects all those things -- the heartbreak, the joy, the hope for what the future may bring, and finally being comfortable with the little bit of my true self that I'm leaving behind. I've come into my own."

Karen's album "Into My Own" available at CD Baby.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Funky Donnie Fritts and The Decoys at MSMA Party

Funky Donnie Fritts and The Decoys at MSMA Party

Alabama Music goes to Muscle Shoals to attend Muscle Shoals Music Association's (MSMA) Christmas Party 2011 at Cypress Moon Studios (formerly Muscle Shoals Sound). Funky Donnie Fritts was on hand to join The Decoys and does it like no one else can.

Donnie Fritts (born November 8, 1942, Florence, Alabama) is an American session musician and songwriter. A recording artist in his own right, he has been Kris Kristofferson's keyboard player for over twenty years. In 2008 he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

He began playing drums in local bands such as the Satellites and Hollis Dixon at age 15, and later developed into a session keyboard player.

Working closely with Rick Hall, Billy Sherrill, Dan Penn, Arthur Alexander, David Briggs, Jerry Carrigan and Norbert Putnam, Fritts was involved in many of the early songs and recordings created in the Muscle Shoals music industry.

In 1965, Fritts signed with a Nashville publishing company. Songs which he wrote were recorded by Charlie Rich and Jerry Lee Lewis. He later met Kris Kristofferson who was just beginning a career in songwriting. When forming his band, Kristofferson called on Fritts, who continued as his keyboard player for over two decades, performing live, on recordings and in numerous movies.

Through his association with Kristofferson, Fritts appeared in three of Sam Peckinpah's movies: "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid", "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia", and "Convoy" as well as other movies including "A Star Is Born" and "Songwriter".

In 1974 Kristofferson and producer Jerry Wexler co-produced Prone To Lean at Muscle Shoals Sound. Everybody's Got A Song was released in 1998. The album included guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Waylon Jennings, Delbert McClinton, Tony Joe White, Leroy Parnell & John Prine. It would be another ten years before Fritts released his third album One Foot in the Groove in 2008 produced by Dan Penn with Ron Laury, recorded at Dandy Studio in Nashville.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rebekah Manley Interview Dick Cooper Party

Rebekah Manley Interview

Alabama Music goes to Shoals Creek near Florence, Alabama to attend Dick Cooper's After WC Handy Festival Party in honor of Christine Ohlman. Dick invites the old pros as well as the young up-starts. This young lady seems to have the poise, confidence and determination for a career in music. Rebekah Manley is an Alabama music artist to watch. Rebekah Manley is our music's future. Support our music by helping Rebekah and other young music artists along their way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mule Day Arts and Crafts with Alabama Music

(My early days with a camcorder.)
Alabama Music goes to Winfield, Alabama to enjoy their Mule Day Celebration. The music is by Eric The Red and Dudley Do Right's Mounted Brigade, Steve Norris and Topper Price (with Tim Boykin, Don Tinsley and Bunky Anderson). The songs are all originals, all Alabama.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NC Thurman Interview Dick Cooper Party

NC Thurman Interview Dick Cooper Party

Alabama Music goes to Shoal Creek near Florence, Alabama for Dick Cooper's after WC Handy Festival Party to honor Christine Ohlman. Dick has 2 party rules:1. If you hear about his party, you are invited. 2. Bring your own.
NC (Noble Clark) Thurman grew up in Pulaski Tennessee, where he started playing in bands back in the sixties. He plays keyboards, guitar, harmonica, writes and vocalizes. He has performed with such artists as Bettye Swann, The Forrester Sisters, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Hank Williams Jr, The Decoys, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Hall, Little Richard, Billy Dean, Percy Sledge, Donnie Fritts, Billy Swan, and Eddie Floyd to name a few. He has played on recording sessions with the likes of Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Kelvin Holly, Larry Byrom, Bob Wray, Russell Smith, Jack Pearson, Chuck Level, Tony Joe White, Butch Trucks, Robert Byrne and more. He has worked with legendary producers like Rick Hall, Dann Penn, Johnny Sandlin, and Jimmy Johnson. NC shares a nice body of songs written with Scott Boyer ("Please be with me"), some recorded by Gregg Allman, Jimmy Hall, Johnny Jenkins, Neal McCoy, Wayne Toupes, Chuck Levell, and more. He also has songs written with Eddie Struzick ("Sharing the night together"), Nancy Muse, Roger Hawkins, Bill Blackburn, Donnie Fritts ("We had it all"), Spooner Oldham, Terry Skinner, Don Von Tres, Kelvin Holly, Tonya Holly, and more His main gig these days is his own music and playing with his long time compadres The Decoys (Scott Boyer, Kelvin Holly, David Hood and Mike Dillon), Gary Nichols, Max Russell, and anyone who'll have him. He also plays on recording sessions and artist showcases.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The making of Stormin In Hoover

Steve Samples concentrates on the task at hand.

The Making of “Stormin’ In Hoover.”     By Jerry W. Henry

For downloads: Reverbnation: Alabama Music Office Jazz Allstars

“Stormin’ in Hoover” is a jazz song that showcases today’s Alabama jazz. Our intent was not to have intent. This song was 100% improvised. All involved gave their talent, time and efforts without compensation to help support the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. All proceeds from downloads of “Stormin’ In Hoover” will go to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Downloads will be available on the Alabama Music website.

As producer, part of my job was to get everyone together at the same place at the same time. We met in the parking lot where Ellis Piano is located in Birmingham, Alabama. We were to record at the home studio of audio engineer, Mack White.

I wanted a cross section of Birmingham/Tuscaloosa talent, young and old alike. The players that gathered that night were Ray Reach, Tom Wolfe and Ben Hill. Ray was to bring the rhythm section. He forgot. We decided to record the keyboards, guitar and trumpet. The rhythm section, drums and bass, were to be recorded later. This approach is in reverse order from normal recording sessions.

I hummed the melody to Ray and told him the basic structure. He began playing and directed the other players as we recorded the first take. This was a lot-of-firsts night for just-out-of-college, Ben Hill on trumpet, nervous in the beginning but held his own all the way through. After some microphone readjustments, the second take saw the song beginning to really fall into place. During the third and final take the heaviest downpour of that stormy night occurred. Thus the title.

Schedules postponed the rhythm section’s recording. On the chosen night, which happened as a storm was approaching, we met again in the same parking lot. Our rhythm section was Steve Samples on drums and Jeff Drew on bass. Recording the way we did proved to be very trying for all. After several takes and several approaches we finally finished before the storm began. I can’t say enough about how professional these players were in this situation.

Producer-Jerry W. Henry

Composition/Arranger-Ray Reach

Engineer-Mack White
Keyboards-Ray Reach  (find out more about Ray:

Guitar-Tom Wolfe          (find out more about Tom:
Trumpet-Ben Hill           (find out more about Ben:

Bass-Jeff Drew                (find out more about Jeff:

Drums-Steve Samples   (find out more about Steve:

All proceeds from downloads of “Stormin’ In Hoover” will go to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Christine Ohlman interview at Dick Cooper Party

Christine Ohlman interview at Dick Cooper Party

Alabama Music goes to Dick Cooper's Party. He lives on Shoal Creek near Florence, Alabama. This was Dick's after WC Handy Festival Party 2012 to honor Christine Ohlman. The Beehive Queen is truly the best in blue eyed soul. Dick's parties mix the young music artists with the older experienced music artists and is a perfect occasion for introductions to others in the Alabama music scene.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Red Mouth at Pegasus Records for WC Handy Festival

Red Mouth at Pegasus Records for WC Handy Festival

Alabama Music goes to Pegasus Records in Florence, Alabama to attend Red Mouth's album release party during WC Handy Festival, Doc Dailey (acoustic), The Pollies and Bele Adaire also performed that night. Red Mouth's new album is titled "The Old Original Saint Red Mouth Blues."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why won’t radio play my music? By Jerry W. Henry

I spent 7 ½ years making my living in radio. Therefore I feel qualified to answer a question musicians ask me often; why won’t radio play my music?

The process by which Commercial Radio gets paid is based on ratings. Ratings are a system for counting listeners, which is the factor that determines what radio can charge its advertisers. Most of radio’s revenues come from ad agencies. Ad agencies base their "buys" on a Cost Per Point ("CPP") basis. CPP is based on how many thousands of listeners a radio station can capture in a 15-minute period (cume).

Commercial Radio knows an “untested song” has the potential to cause listeners to tune out or leave the station. This would lower ratings thus they would have to charge their advertisers less. Commercial Radio hires consultants that tell the radio station’s program director what to play. The consultant makes their decisions based on the national charts provided by Radio and Records, Billboard and Broadcast Data Systems (BDS). Needless to say, big money or major labels by way of strategic alliances and promotions, control these charts.

Bottom line: Money is the reason radio won’t play your music.

There have been instances where music artists got so much attention from the Internet that radio was compelled to play their single. My advice, do what you can do. There are still some college radio stations that will play your music. Put your music on music submission sites and get a account so you can get your music on iTunes and start promoting. Make as much noise as you can on the net.

I remember when we were fed a bunch of BS about Clear Channel and partnering to aid new artists. There must not have been enough money in it for Clear Channel. In my opinion Commercial Radio is still operating in the analog world.

Success will come when you change your marketing model from analog to digital.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Zac Hacker at WC Handy Festival 2012

Alabama Music goes to Shoals Marriott's Swappers in Florence, Alabama to see Zac Hacker. Another packed house enjoyed one of the Muscle Shoals finest entertainers during a very successful WC Handy Festival.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Christine Ohlman at WC Handy Festival

Alabama Music goes to the Marriott Shoals Convention Center in Florence, Alabama to see Christine Ohlman and The Decoys perform for a sold out audience. The Beehive Queen is the adopted Yankee daughter of the Muscle Shoals music scene. Blue eyed soul at it's best.