Thursday, November 29, 2012
Jackson Highway return to Muscle Shoals
Jackson Highway return to Muscle Shoals
Alabama Music Office.com goes to PJ's in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to attend the "Asphalt" Tour 2012 performance of Jackson Highway.
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 ,
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