I know I’m late to the party writing this one up… but after watching Muscle Shoals for the third time recently (yes, it’s that good), I decided we should discuss its brilliance.
I’m a north Alabama girl. Florence is very dear to my heart and I consider it one of the most beautiful places on earth. The expansive Tennessee River never ceases to amaze me. And if you have never spent a few late summer days enjoying the annual W.C. Handy Music Festival, well, you’re missing out.
I grew up on Stevie Ray Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Jeff Walker and the Allman Brothers, to name a few. It’s very rare to be at my parent’s home when it is not flooded with music coming from my dad’s handcrafted speakers (although these days on visits home I recognize that he’s added in bands like Kings of Leon and Black Keys to the mix). Some of my earliest memories involve music. Now, walking through the front door and having tunes greet me, often before my folks can, is something I always look forward to.
Needless to say, I grew up with a passion and serious appreciation for music, and am proud to say that the Shoals nurtured that in a real way. Many times I heard the Swampers play around town, had a casual conversation with Spooner Oldham or heard stories about “that sound”… but I can say that until Muscle Shoals documented just how important these guys were, I didn’t know. I hadn’t understood the depth by which they impacted the music industry as a whole. The sheer number of bands they encountered, the lines or cords they tweaked that became some of the most famous portions of these classic songs, and the struggles Rick Hall was enduring all the while… that’s what Muscle Shoals brought to light.
Producer Stephen Badger and Director Greg “Freddy” Camalier created something beautiful, fun, enlightening and incredible and, through an all-star cast from Bono to Mick Jagger, told this story exactly the way it needed to be told. So this is our gracious thank you to those men. We hope everyone, especially Alabamians, takes the time to watch this important film if you haven’t already!