Rodney Hall of Fame Music Group speaks out Part 1

November 13, 2009
rodney hall

Rodney Hall (left) with Wilson Pickett (right)

Reaching its half-century mark, the FAME Music Group with offices in Nashville and Muscle Shoals, Alabama remains a family-owned company whose survival as a studio and as an independent publisher–rests heavily on the shoulders of Rodney Hall, president/co-owner of FAME Publishing, House of FAME, and Muscle Shoals Records.Hall, who is also the studio’s manager/engineer, has spent years at the complex supervising demos to masters of such artists as Alabama, Marie Osmond, Clarence Carter, Jason Isbell, Drive-By-Truckers, Bettye Lavette, Russell Smith and others.He also oversees the catalogs of FAME Publishing (BMI), and House of FAME (ASCAP).

FAME—its name derived from the acronym for Florence Alabama Music Enterprises—was founded in 1959 by Rodney’s father Rick, along with Billy Sherrill, and Tom Stafford. Its in-house writers, Hall, Sherrill, and Dan Penn soon wrote songs that were covered by such artists as Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, and Tommy Roe before Hall assumed sole ownership of the firm.A native of Freedom Hills in Franklin County, Alabama, Rick Hall rose from a humble background to come to the Shoals’ region in the late 1950s. By 1960, he had moved FAME across the Tennessee River to Muscle Shoals.In 1961, Hall produced Arthur Alexander’s breathtaking “You Better Move On” at an old abandoned tobacco and candy warehouse. Issued by Dot Records, the single reached #24 on Billboard’s pop chart. “You Better Move On” was later covered by the Rolling Stones, the Hollies, George Jones & Johnny Paycheck, and Mink DeVille. Alexander’s follow-up hit “Anna” was later covered by the Beatles.

The first song recorded at FAME’s Avalon Avenue studio location, and the first release on the FAME label (after sitting on the shelf for three years), was Jimmy Hughes’ signature hit, “Steal Away.” It reached #17 on Billboard’s R&B and pop charts in 1964.The FAME label roster would grow to include Clarence Carter, Dan Penn, Arthur Conley, Mac Davis, Paul Anka, and Candi Staton.World renowned for creating “The Muscle Shoals Sound”–along with such powerhouse studio players as Norbert Putnam, Spooner Oldham, Jerry Carrigan, Earl “Peanut” Montgomery, Terry Thompson, David Briggs, Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, Eddie Hinton, David Hood, Jimmy Johnson and others–Hall has attracted and worked with an astonishing number of great acts to his FAME studio.

Lynard Skynard’s “Sweet Alabama” famously paid tribute to the region’s musicians“Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers And they’ve been known to pick a song or two,Lord they get me off so much,they pick me up when I’m feeling blue, now how about you”?Among those who have made the trek to the FAME studio are Aretha Franklin (her sole session there yielded her breakthrough“I Never Loved A Man”that the band Aersosmith released 4 years ago on their album”Honkin on Bobo”,an unfinished version of “Do Right Woman Do Right Man”,Wilson Pickett,Etta James,Otis Redding,Joe Tex,the Staple Singers,the Tams,the Osmonds,Tom Jones,as well as such country acts as the Gatlin Brothers,Jerry Reed,T.G. Sheppard,Shenandoah and many others.It was Hall who,after catching guitarist Duane Allman playing a session with his band Hour Glass,hired him to play on Pickett’s 1969 album,“Hey Jude” (1969). Allman was then quickly hired on as a full-time session player.While at FAME only less than a year,Allman was featured on releases by Clarence Carter,King Curtis,Otis Rush,Ronnie Hawkins,Percy Sledge,Johnny Jenkins,Boz Scaggs,and jazz flautist Herbie Mann.

Along the way,Hall’s publishing companies FAME Publishing and Rick Hall Music signed writers like Walt Aldridge and Tommy Brasfield who scored country hits with Ronnie Milsap,Earl Thomas Conley,Alabama,and Ricky Van Shelton.After selling the publishing rights to songs in the FAME Publishing and Rick Hall Music catalogs to EMI Music Publishing in 1989,Hall began to rebuild his publishing interests with his three sons,Rodney,Mark,and Rick Jr.FAME Publishing and Rick Hall Music continued to have hits throughout the ’90s.Writers,including Walt Aldridge,Gary Baker,Mark Narmore,Brad Crisler,Bruce Miller,Tony Colton,and Mark Hall had songs recorded by John Michael Montgomery,Pam Tillis,Blackhawk,Tim McGraw,Reba McEntire,All 4 One and Shenandoah.In 1996,Mark Hall co wrote “I Like It I Love It” which reached #1 on the Billboard country charts.In 1999,Rick Hall sold chunks of FAME Publishing,and Rick Hall Music to Los Angeles-based publisher Music and Media.Rodney and Mark Hall then bought the unrecorded songs,and assets of the two publishing companies from their father Rick,and renamed Rick Hall Music as House of FAME.Afterwards,FAME began to replenish its writing staff with a batch of new young writers.Today,it’s roster includes James LeBlanc and his son Dylan,Jason Isbell,Gary Nichols,former“Nashville Star”winner Angela Hacker,and members of the Mobile,Alabama band,Ugly Stick.In the past decade,FAME has had songs recorded by the Dixie Chicks,Tim McGraw,Leann Rimes,Reba McEntire,Rascal Flatts,George Strait,Jason Aldean,Joe Diffie,Martina McBride,Travis Tritt,Sara Evans,Aaron Tippin,Billy Ray Cyrus,Alabama,John Michael Montgomery,Chris Ledoux, Rebecca Lynn Howard,Kenny Chesney,Gary Allan,and Bo Bice.In 2001,Rodney Hall established the subsidiary label, Muscle Shoals Records which has released albums by Russell Smith,James LeBlanc,and the Muscle Shoals band the Decoys.

There are currently many up and coming rising stars & inspiring songwriters based out of Muscle Shoals,Alabama & surrounding areas that are paving their way into the Music Industry.Some which are making not only local headlines but National headlines and I would’nt be surprised at all if a few of them becomes the next history hit makers from Muscle Shoals Alabama.While reading this article,Soundbitenew’s conducted a quick search on the area and let’s just say we’ve been more than inspired. We’ve been knocked off of our feet with information that’s not in this article. So we will be bringing you more stories and hopefully a few of our own candid interviews from other Muscle Shoals artist very soon.One duo group specifically called “State Line Mob” has already agreed for an article,so they can tell their side of the legacy and talk about their music that seems to keep growing called “The Muscle shoals Sound”!

 This concludes part 1 of this article. Part 2 below this article will include an candid one on one up to date interview with Rodney Hall of Fame Recording Studio and Fame Music Group.You don’t want to miss reading it!

Credits: The ENCORE Digital Weekly Magazine  , revised by Soundbitenews                                                                             taken from the original article posted by Larry LeBlanc


Rodney Hall of Fame Music Group speaks out Part 2 Interview

November 13, 2009


The Historic Fame Recording Studio located in Muscle Shoals,Al

We hope you enjoyed part 1 of the Fame Music Group article as much as we did.So now we begin with part 2 of the artcicle,Rodney Hall of Fame Music group speaks out,in this very recent candid interview.

As a company, you have a strong brand name.

Absolutely. We really have two brand names, FAME and we have Muscle Shoals. We’ve come to the conclusion that the Muscle Shoals brand is probably bigger than the FAME brand. Just because it is a bit more famous. Lynyrd Skynard didn’t say “FAME’s got the Swampers.” (in “Sweet Home Alabama.”) They said “Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers”.

How did you come to work at the studio?

When I was younger, I would come in and do odd jobs. After I graduated, I got a masters from (University of) Alabama in business, and I went to work in Huntsville (Alabama) selling computers for a corporate computer company. We sold to NASA, and The Boeing Company. The 486 computer had just come out, and it was screaming (selling well). It’s a funny story today, but I sold a 486 computer to NASA for $20,000. It had a gigabyte of hard drive, 4 Megs of RAM on the video card and, maybe, 12 or 16 Megs on the RAM. Now, you couldn’t even give that away.

I’m surprised with your business degree that your dad didn’t seek you out to work in the family business. At that point, he was busy producing country acts like Shenandoah and T.G. Sheppard.

When I got out of college, the last thing I wanted to do was go to work for my family.

Well, it’s often hard for someone to work for their father.

Especially, if he’s mine.

Those stories of your dad being pugnacious are true?

He’s definitely one of a kind. He’s got his own way of doing things. That’s the way he wants it done. Of course, a lot of that (attitude) has changed over the years.

How did you jump from selling computers back to Muscle Shoals in 1990?

I was doing well selling computers, but I wasn’t very happy doing it. I was sitting an hour away (in Huntsville) thinking, “My family has a world famous business, and that is what I want to do, if I can just put up with the whole family business thing.” One day, I just said, “I’m going to try it.” (The music business) is what my passion is. Even though I was making good money selling computers, it was not what I wanted to do the rest of my life.

Did you then have to establish ground rules of conduct with you dad?

I’m doing that now (laughing). At the time, my brother Mark was in Nashville, and he was pitching songs for us. We needed someone to come back here and take the reins. Mark didn’t want to move back to Muscle Shoals. So, I went ahead and made the plunge.

You didn’t sit down with your dad and say, “I will come if…..”?

Well, we had some of those conversations. At that time, he wasn’t in every day. He was kind of doing his own thing. He had just sold the publishing catalog to EMI, and we were rebuilding the catalog. So, it was a good time to get into it. He produced Alabama in 2000, and he did some things that never came out. He did some things with Marie Osmond on Curb that never came out. He did Vern Gosdin, Billy Joe Royal and other things. The real big act that he was working with was Shenandoah.

Muscle Shoals had once seriously challenged Memphis’ claim to be the capital of southern soul. But the glory days had gone by the time you returned.

Oh, the glory days were definitely gone. And I knew that. I knew that it was going to be up to me to rebuild (the business), and keep it going. I looked around, and everybody in Muscle Shoals was 10 or 15 years older than me, at best. Some were even older than that. There weren’t many up-and-coming talents around at that point. I think a lot of that was the fact that (our company) had gotten so big. It was a little different back in those days. It was a closed door situation. It wasn’t like you could walk over here and play someone a song.

Nashville, two hours away, had become the draw for young songwriters and musicians throughout the south.


Muscle Shoals isn’t Nashville.

Leaving (Nashville), I can’t wait to see the city limits sign in my rear-view mirror. They’ll chase their tail there (trying to come up with hits). It’s “Oh, we have to write a song for Taylor Swift.” By the time, the writers get the song written, demoed, and get it to her, she’s gone onto something else.I think the thing about Muscle Shoals is that we don’t put boundaries on people like Nashville does. A song has to have this or has to have that there. We just do what we like, and what we feel. We don’t worry about whether it’s country or rock and roll or whatever. We just make music that we like.

Memphis is the blues center; Nashville is a country center; but Muscle Shoals is part of the triangle with both soul and country.

We say that it’s “The crossroads of country rock and soul.” There’s a little bit of all of that mixed in whatever we do. No matter what we are doing, whether we are doing country or whatever, we feel that there is a thread of soul there.

George Jones recently said that new country stars have stolen country’s music’s identity. He said they should find their own genre name.

I know what George was talking about, but I think that it is also just evolution. You go look at who was considered pop in the ‘50s and ‘60s, artists like the Lettermen and Dion. All that was pop then, but what they call pop now doesn’t resemble that.I think there’s a market for a music that is not country, but has some country feel to it. Everybody throws (such acts) into the Americana (format) which is never going to work until they go to a singles’ driven market because you can’t get any kind of grip at radio or anywhere else. There’s nobody playing the same songs.

It’s a shame that Delbert McClinton, Lucinda Williams or Roseanne Cash aren’t heard more on mainstream radio when their music is so popular with a segment of the population.

It’s the same thing with soul music. People love Wilson Pickett. They love that kind of music but nobody’s making it because there’s no way to make money on it anymore.

Have you heard Rod Stewart’s “Soulbook” album? It’s quite good.

I bet it is. He’s a singing fool. Always has been. I was a huge Rod Stewart fan with “Maggie May” and all of that. I hated his “American Songbook” series. But, he sold a bunch of them.

What’s happening with the FAME label?

We will probably be doing more records, but they will likely be on Muscle Shoals Records, and not on FAME. Digital is the way to go now. If you press up any CDs, a thousand is the most you need to press, most likely, unless you are going to get into Wal-Mart, which you are not.

The radio promotion game is too expensive to play.

We tried that on the James LeBlanc record. You spend $75,000 promoting one single. You can’t do it.

Your dad sold off the catalogs of FAME Publishing and Rick Hall Music to EMI in 1989, but he didn’t sell the studio.

No. The publishing side he sold to EMI in ’89, and then we rebuilt the catalog and sold it to Billy Meshel (CEO & owner, Music & Media International) in 1999. Dad never sold the studio. I don’t know of another studio that has been owned by the same owner for 50 years and is still in business.

Look at the recording studios that closed their doors during that period, like The Record Plant.

I know. Over the past 10 years, studio owners have been gnashing their teeth, and going under. We’ve had that (tight economic) situation for 25 years. We are used to it. We branched out long ago. We still do a lot of studio work. We just hired Tom Swift, who used to work at The Record Plant, as chief engineer. We long ago realized that we had to use the studio as a tool to build our publishing and production companies up rather than trying to make a living on the studio. That’s just not a possibility anymore.

[Tom “Swifty” Swift has won two Grammy Awards and worked with Eric Clapton, Don Henley, AC/DC, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, B.B. King, and Tania Maria. He has also worked on several soundtracks including “The Color Of Money,” “Postcards from the Edge,” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together-Rolling Stones.”]

Today, it’s tough to own a studio when so many producers have home studios with Pro Tools, and labels are hardly signing anymore.I know. It’s a scary time. However, we are in the process of revamping everything here, including upgrading our Pro Tools to HD. We have to hire some new people. We think that when the business is down that is the time to take advantage of opportunities. There’s a lot of talented people out there who are looking for gigs.

Over the years, have you collected much obsolete studio equipment?

I’ve got a roomful of stuff–ADATs, and DATs (recorders). We probably have every piece of studio equipment that has come along over the past 30 years. Even something like a Rhodes (electric) piano, every keyboard in the world today has a Rhodes’ sound on it, usually as good as the Rhodes. The only two things I have found that a synthesizer can’t emulate is a (Hammond) B-3 organ, and a Wurlitzer.

How many people work for the company?

On the studio side, we have three. On the publishing side, there’s five, including Steve Williams in Nashville. He was A&R head at Arista Records (Nashville) for years. We have 10 writers.

Do you have any access to the former FAME catalogs held by EMI Music?

No. I once went to them, and pitched the idea of letting us work the catalog and give us a piece of anything we got cut. They told me that they don’t do that kind of stuff. So (the publishing) sits there. It makes me sick to my stomach.

What was sold to Music & Media International in 1999?

That was the catalog that was built afterwards (1989-1999). We didn’t sell the entire catalog. We just sold what (songs that) had been recorded.

You then rebuilt the roster?

Exactly. With all new people that we signed. We basically gave them an opportunity.Very little in the way of advances. None of them had ever had a cut before or even a hold before they came here. Now, they are all doing well.

How many copyrights does the company have?

It’s a good size catalog with about 3,000 songs. The thing is that what we did in 1999 was that we sold only the songs that had generated income. So, we kept the catalogs on a lot of big writers that we had over the past 20 years.

How active are you in the day-to-day of the company’s publishing?

I am very active daily.I work with the writers.I work with the guys in Nashville.I pitch songs.I sign writers.So I am very,very active in it.I also produce and engineer (in the studio) some. But everything has changed so much that it is hard to keep up (with the technology).It is insane trying to keep up with Pro Tools, and all of the updates (on equipment).

Who are your writers?

We have James LeBlanc and his son Dylan. He’s 19-years-old, and he’s going to be a superstar. We’ve got Jason Isbell who was one of the Drive-By-Truckers for several years (2001-2007). Now, he’ a solo act (with accompanying band, The 400 Unit] who was up for Americana Music Album of the year (for “Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit”) this year. We’ve got Gary Nichols, who is a writer/artist with a James Otto cut out now (“Your Good Thing Has Gone Bad”), another cut on Bo Bice (“Ain’t Gonna Die”) and a few others. We have Angela Hacker, who won (USA Network talent show) “Nashville Star” two years ago.We’ve got Ugly Stick, which is a funk hip hop kind of a band. We also have two or three up and comers that are on their way.

You’ve recently have had some good covers.

Yeah, we had two hits this past year with James LeBlanc and Matt Warren scoring two cuts (“Learning How to Bend” and Yesterday’s Rain”) on Gary Allan’s “Living Hard” CD; and James LeBlanc and John Paul White wrote the title cut of Jason Aldean’s CD (“Relentless”). We’ve got three cuts on the Rascal Flatts’ CD (“Feels Like Today”).

Most of the songwriters you’ve worked with in the past decade, other than Canadians Victoria Banks and Bruce Miller, seem to be local writers.

Some are; some aren’t. It is probably about half and half. The LeBlancs are from Shreveport (Louisiana); Jason Isbell, Gary Nichols, and Angela Hacker are locals; and Ugly Stick are from Mobile (Alabama). For the most part, we are drawing from within the region.We had Tony Colton writing for us for awhile. He’s from the U.K. He was in Heads, Hands & Feet.They had that song “Country Boy” (by group members Colton, Albert Lee, and Ray Smith) that was not really a country song when they did it, but Ricky Skaggs covered it. Tony came over here (to the U.S.) to accept the Song of the Year Award, and never left. (Canadian) Bruce Miller had a cut (“Once You’ve Loved Somebody” with Thom McHugh) on the first Dixie Chicks’ album (“Wide Open Spaces”) that sold 15 million copies, and he had a hit single on Reba McEntire with “Fear of Being Alone” (co-written with Walt Aldridge).

At what age did you begin coming into the studio?

I was coming up here when I was a kid all of the time. Just hanging out, and playing in the baffles. We had these great baffles that were about 12 feet high. Some of them had windows, and some had doors. You could put them together and make little club houses. I was hanging out here but, at that point in time, my dad didn’t want us up here too much. There were some strange people hanging around here, like Duane Allman and other long-haired people.Probably,I was about 12 when I really started hanging around up here.I would come up here in the summer, and stuff records in envelopes and help the secretary ship them out.

You never were in the original studio?

No. It was torn down. I don’t remember seeing that building standing. Wilson Dam Highway was still standing when I was kid. Every time we would drive up my dad would say, “There’s my first studio.”

Were you aware by high school of what you dad was doing and how well known he was in the music business?

In high school? Oh, yeah, I knew. It’s a little different here probably than other places. In the ‘70s here, it was still a very small town, and we had very few hotels. A Holiday Inn and a Howard Johnson’s (hotel). So most of the (people) coming to the studio would stay at our house. I was hanging out, and listening to my dad talk to (Atlantic Records co-head) Jerry Wexler and talking to all of these guys who would come from all over the world. I had a pretty good grasp of what was going on by the time I was in my teens, simply because I got to spend a lot of time with him.I was 8 or 9 when the Osmonds came here. So that was big.

[In 1970, Curb Records’ head Mike Curb brought his new young act, the Osmonds to FAME where they recorded a string of hits including “One Bad Apple,” “Yo-Yo,” and “Down By The Lazy River.” Donny Osmond also recorded several solo albums at FAME.]

The Osmonds were regulars on Andy Williams TV show in the ‘60s. By the time they started to record at FAME, they were very popular.That was the only time we had to have a security guard at the studio. They were the Backstreet Boys of the ‘70s. I remember that Donny came over to our house once when they were taking a break. Him and my brother got on bikes and rode around the block. By the time they got back, there were girls chasing Donny. He was only 12 or 13. it was early on (in their careers).

The Osmonds have been here off and on for their entire careers. The brothers came here in the late ‘80s, and did a country record. It was kind of funny because you’d be out in the yard playing football with them, and it was funny to hear them arguing a little bit, “Dang you, Wayne.”

Marie Osmond recorded at FAME as well.

Well, I’ve known Marie pretty much my whole life. She recorded here when she was about 16. She did the album “This Is The Way That I Feel” here (in 1976). It didn’t do very well. It was when she was trying to go pop a little bit more. She’s a sweetheart. All of the Osmonds are. They are exactly what you see.

Working at the studio was a summer job for you and your brothers?

When it was raining, it was. When it wasn’t raining, our summer job was working on the ranch taking care of cattle, bush hogging (cutting pastures with a large mower attached to a tractor), mowing, and hauling hay. The ranch was about 15 minutes south from the studio.

When you are only young, 15 minutes by car anywhere is another world.

We moved out there when I was 12. it was hard. All of the sudden, I went from living right in the middle of town, literally three minutes from the studio, with all of my friends to a really isolated area. We had 1,500 acres, and we were right in the middle of it.

It was a working farm?

Oh yeah. It was a working cattle ranch. We raised our own food. The whole bit. My dad wanted us to be raised the way he was raised. He grew up very poor. His dad was a sharecropper, and a saw miller. He was a vagabond kind of guy who went from place to place, wherever he could figure out a way he could raise his kids and make some money.

You have two brothers?

Mark is in the music industry, and Rick is an attorney. I am the youngest. Mark is co-owner of our company, and he’s also a songwriter. He co-wrote a big Tim McGraw hit “I Like It, I Love It” in the ‘90s.

You being the youngest, everything fell on you?

Pretty much. They all left (home). I was still out there on the farm bush hogging and hauling hay as they went off to college having fun. But, it was a good experience for me. (Working on the farm) is something that I can never replace. I can do a lot of things that my friends can’t do. Like raising my own garden, and changing a tractor tire. We didn’t do a lot with the horses (we had). We ended up getting rid of them because we never rode ‘em. We were too much into sports to do that kind of stuff.

Were you any good in sports?

Yeah, I was a good baseball player.

What music did you listen to growing up? Were you a fan of R&B, rock, or country?

I was a little bit fan of all of it. I liked rock. I liked R&B and I even liked some dance stuff. I listened to a lot of country in my teen years. Mostly Randy Travis, Alabama, Clint Black, Hank Williams Jr. and, more importantly, demos of our great songwriters like Walt Aldridge, Robert Byrne, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Tommy Brasfield, and George Jackson.

You didn’t listen to any music that made your dad crazy?

He wasn’t crazy about my Kiss collection. He figured if you had to put make-up on, you didn’t have talent. He wasn’t crazy about Judas Priest either. I was really into the Eagles, and Toto. The Doobie Brothers were my number one band when I was growing up, from the time of “Black Water” (in 1974). I went back and bought their older albums. I was a fan all of the way through until Michael McDonald left.

Did you listen much to the records your dad recorded?

I listened to a lot of his records because I got ‘em free. But I loved them too. I have my favorites that he did. My favorites are (Wilson) Pickett “Land of a Thousand Dances,” “Mustang Sally,” “Funky Broadway,” and “Hey Jude.” That (Duane Allman) guitar solo on “Hey Jude” still gives me chills. And, I liked “Fancy” by Bobby Gentry.

It was the Wild West in the music business in the ‘60s. Producers and production companies had to beg labels to pay them.

Oh yeah, I’ve got hand-written letters here from my dad begging Vee-Jay to pay him for some Jimmy Hughes releases. It was right as Vee-Jay going under. He couldn’t get them to pay. The good news is that they gave him back the masters instead of paying him.

Your dad worked with various labels. including Chess Records. Etta James recorded “Tell Mama” at FAME in 1967 with your dad as producer.

Absolutely. She recorded “Tell Mama,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and “Security” here. That “Tell Mama” album was done here. There are some good stories around that. Leonard Chess came down with some friends.. My dad says they all went to the Howard Johnson’s and played cards all day while (the musicians) were cutting the session. From what dad says, he had to pretty much make Etta sing “Tell Mama.” She didn’t want to sing it. It ended up being one of her biggest hits. Later on, she thanked him.

[“Tell Mama” was written by Clarence Carter and published by FAME Publishing.]

FAME wasn’t always credited for the outside production done there. Stax recordings by the Staple Singers, and Otis Redding, for instance.

You go to the Stax Museum today in Memphis, and you’d think everything was recorded over there. A bunch of their big records were cut here with our rhythm section, including (The Staple Singers’) “I’ll Take You There,” and Let’s Do It Again.”Looking back at the quantity of material that came out of Muscle Shoals, not just at this studio, but the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Wishbone Studio (where Hank Williams Jr., the Commodores, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Thelma Houston, the Temptations recorded) and all of them, it is pretty astonishing, especially with the technology at the time. Man, I’m still running across records from here all of the time. I didn’t know until this past year that Laura Lee’s “Dirty Man” (released by Chess Records in 1967) was cut here. It really is phenomenal the amount of material, and hit material that came out of here.

With the former FAME studio guys leaving, and opening up Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, it was pretty competitive for awhile.

Oh yeah. They had a good run for about 10 years. They did some Rod Stewart stuff. The Rolling Stones recorded there.

The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio was in Sheffield, Alabama.

Yeah, that’s always been (an issue) between all of the (studio) guys. At 65 or 70, they are still arguing, “How could the guys from Muscle Shoals be the Muscle Shoals Rhythm section if they were in Sheffield?” And Jerry Carrigan, Norbert Putnam and all of the early guys will argue, “We were the first Muscle Shoals rhythm section.”

Do Muscle Shoals’ city officials appreciate the music legacy there?

No. It’s amazing. They have no clue. They don’t get it at all. There have been some big power players from the state (government) come in and point out to them, “Hey, you’ve got this music thing that you could tie tourism to.” And, the city is starting to look at that. The Alabama Hall of Fame is here, and the W.C. Handy home is in Florence.

Will you be celebrating being in business for a half-century?

This is our 50th year in business, going back to the drug store with the publishing. In 2011, it will be our 50th year since “You Better Move On” which was the first hit. That’s when we are going to celebrate. We want to put together some shows, and have some major artists come in, and sit in with the rhythm section. That’s something, we will be working on for the next couple of years.

Larry LeBlanc who conducted this interview was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, the London Times and the New York Times.

Soundbitenews looks forward to bringing you our own Exclusive one on one interviews with some of the best new talent from the Muscle Shoals,Alabama. The rich history of this area & the new rising talent has inspired us so much,that we hope to inspire you next. The duo group State Line Mob has agreed for an soundbitenews interview. Hold on to your seats.It’s gonna be a ride,literally.           Yee hawww!

Credits: The ENCORE Digital Weekly Magazine , revised by soundbitenews taken from the original article posted by Larry LeBlanc. 

ABC will deliver the 43rd Annual CMA Awards show live tonight

November 11, 2009


ABC & Covers the 2009 CMA Awards

The annual CMA Awards are hailed as being the biggest night in country music every year.This year’s 43rd annual show will be hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie will be covering news from the event as ABC airs the award show live tonight on Weds.November 11,2009  8/7 c .Kid Rock will perform a duet with four-time CMA nominee Jamey Johnson and will also present an award. The rap rocker is no stranger to the CMAs – last year, he performed his country hit “All Summer Long,” and in 2003 was nominated along with Sheryl Crow for vocal event of the year for their song “Picture.”Martina McBride will also join the list of show performers, who already include Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and show co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Newly announced presenters include Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack and the Judds.

Joe Perry says Steven Tyler has Quit Aerosmith?

November 11, 2009


In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, guitarist Joe Perry says that Steven Tyler has quit Aerosmith, supporting recent rumors that the band has been considering replacing its lead singer.”Steven quit as far as I can tell,” Perry told the Sun, speaking from his home in Boston following the band’s recent return from a performance in Abu Dhabi. “I don’t know anymore than you do about it. I got off the plane two nights ago. I saw online that Steven said that he was going to leave the band. I don’t know for how long, indefinitely or whatever. Other than that, I don’t know.” He added that Tyler does not return his phone calls.

Tyler has suffered illness and injury this year, most notably pulling a leg muscle and, in a separate incident, falling off stage during a concert in South Dakota in August, which resulted in a broken shoulder. Both mishaps forced the band to cancel several summer tour dates.Joe Perry was vocally frustrated about the situation, taking to the media and his Twitter account.”I was pretty (upset),” he told the Associated Press in September, “because right before [the accident], he had pulled a muscle in his leg. And we had to take two weeks off and we missed probably seven dates.” He added that he hadn’t talked to Tyler in over five weeks. “All I know is he’s got to get his act together. I mean, he and I haven’t written a song together alone in the same room in over 10 years, so there’s been some changes in paradigm of what Aerosmith is.”Last year, Tyler checked himself into a rehab facility for drug dependency and what he called the side effects of foot surgery. “I just put the brakes on and checked into detox and just pulled the plug on all of it,” he said in an June 2008 interview.

2009 was looking up for the band, with a lengthy world tour scheduled, but Tyler wasn’t the only one with health issues: guitarist Brad Whitford suffered a burst blood vessel, and surgery forced him to sit out some of the summer’s U.S. dates.Following the eventful summer, Tyler declared he would not be leaving the band, though Perry suggested the move has been a long time coming. Last week, after the concert in Abu Dhabi, the singer suggested he would be focusing more on a solo career in the future.”I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but it’s definitely going to be something Steven Tyler: working on the brand of myself — Brand Tyler,” he told Classic Rock magazine.Meanwhile, Perry says he wants to keep Aerosmith alive. “Aerosmith is such a powerful band, I mean it’s like a steam locomotive. You just can’t disregard 40 years of four guys who play together as well as they do. We’re just trying to — at least I am — trying to figure out what direction the band should take,” he told the Sun.

On replacing Tyler, Perry said it’s “not just about that, it’s also four guys that play extremely well together, and I’m not going to see that go to waste … we’ll probably find somebody else that will sing in those spots where we need a singer and then we’ll be able to move the Aerosmith up a notch, move the vibe up a notch.”Perry later admitted the he won’t appreciate a Steven Tyler stand-in. “We’ve talked about getting someone else to sing in the band … but it can’t be Aerosmith; at least not the Aerosmith that we know.” Revealing that the band has an album’s worth of material they have yet to record, Perry continues, “I don’t know … We’ve really just kind of got knocked back on our heels, and everybody is just kind of settling back and figuring out what’s going on.”

We at soundbite news hopes that Aerosmith will be back in the saddle again very soon.

Article by Liz Colville

Steve Miller band mate Norton Buffalo loses his battle with cancer at age 58

November 2, 2009


Norton Buffalo, a singer-songwriter and the harmonica player for the Steve Miller Band since 1975, died Friday, Oct. 30, at the age of 58. Buffalo first wrote about being diagnosed with lung cancer in September after feeling ill following a concert. After his personal doctor mistakenly told him that his lungs sounded fine, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma of the lower right lobe, with a subsequent MRI revealing that it had spread to his brain.

Born Sept. 28, 1951 in Oakland, Calif., Buffalo played with the Steve Miller Band for 34 years and performed with the group on its 2009 summer tour. As a session player, Norton’s harmonica was heard on records by the likes of the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Mickey Hart, Commander Cody and Elvin Bishop.He also recorded several albums with the Stampede and appeared in several movies. He issued his solo debut, ‘Lovin’ in the Valley of the Moon’, on Capitol Records in 1977. A year later, he dropped ‘Desert Horizon’. Norton also led his own band, the Knockouts, and teamed with blues slide guitarist Roy Rogers for ‘R&B,’ which included the Grammy-nominated track ‘Song for Jessica.’

Just ahead of his passing, Buffalo wrote, “While the tumor in my lung has receded a little bit, a couple of the tumors in my brain have grown. My doctors are now talking about the next step being full brain radiation and believe that I should begin that ASAP. [We] are doing research into that as we speak and we are, as well, looking for insight, personal experiences and/or more knowledge or alternatives that any of you may have regarding that.”

Buffalo is survived by his wife; children, Aisah and Elias; stepchildren, Sierra Ruelas and Bo Winterburn; father, Ken Jackson of Paradise; and five brothers and sisters. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Credits: associated press

Bon Jovi Opens at Giants-Jets Stadium

October 23, 2009




Bon Jovi will play the kickoff concert next spring at the new $1.6 billion stadium that will serve as the home for the Giants and Jets. An official familiar with the plans for the new stadium spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement.The official announcement is expected Thursday.Bon Jovi opened the Prudential Center in Newark last year with 10 concerts. The band’s new album, The Circle, will be released next month. The group has sold more than 120 million albums and performed more than 2,600 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 34 million fans.

Kayne West and Lady Gaga Tour has been canceled

October 2, 2009



West’s North American tour with Lady Gaga has been canceled, the concert promoter Live Nation confirmed, reports.Although reps for West and Gaga have not commented, sources believe the ‘Paparazzi’ singer wanted out after West’s actions at the VMAs, even though she showed support for her now ex-tourmate just a few days ago.”I think it’s unfair to judge somebody on one mistake they’ve made. I felt like that moment kind of like really portrayed him in a way that he really isn’t. It was just a random moment. I think that everyone can get so caught up in gossip and stuff,” she told a Las Vegas radio station on Tuesday.

During the VMAs, Kanye jumped on stage and grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift after the country cutie had beaten Beyonce for best female video, prompting the ‘Heartless’ singer to proclaim that ‘Single Ladies’ was “one of the best videos of all time.”He later apologized several times to Swift

Credits Soundbite news,Popeater

MTV will air DJ AM’s drug intervention interviews as planned

September 28, 2009



After some debate about the timing and content sensitivity of their drug-intervention reality show, ‘So Far Gone,’ MTV has decided to move forward with plans to air the program, which stars the late DJ AM. AM,real name, Adam Goldstein, was found dead in his New York City apartment, just three days after MTV wrapped filming on eight episodes of the show. The reality series documents Goldstein as he enlists the help of an addiction specialist to counsel others through their battles with drugs, while still recovering from his own addiction problem.The show was originally scheduled for an Oct. 5 premiere date, but after AM’s untimely passing, MTV networks said that no decisions had been made on whether on not the show would air as planned. A toxicology report explaining the cause of death for the Philadelphia native has not yet been released, but with evidence at the scene pointing to a drug overdose, the credibility of Goldstein’s role in the show came into question.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, MTV has been in talks with the Goldstein family about setting an appropriate run date for the show, and despite the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, some believe that AM’s role in ‘So Far Gone,’ will help to project the necessity of anti-drug counseling.Before he passed away AM tweeted that he had wrapped filming on the show, and seemed excited to premiere the project.

Credits: by Nadeska Alexis.The Boombox

The latest Headlining Tour News

September 25, 2009




The summer is indeed over but that don’t mean the fun has to stop.Here’s a few soundbites of the latest news in the world of touring musicians.We know Aerosmith had to cancel a heap of shows this past summer just when their tour with ZZ Top was giving a bang for your bucks due to Steven Tyler’s stage accident at Sturgis.Well you can no longer dream on because the band is back in the saddle seems this year was’nt the only year the band had to cancel shows. Concert producer Tom Moffatt has announced that Aerosmith is coming to Hawaii next month for two appearances and says Tyler is feeling great and everything is back to normal.The Oct.20 concert at the Maui War Memorial Stadium will help settle a class action lawsuit filed by disappointed fans after the band canceled a sold out concert on Maui in 2007.Lead guitarist Joe Perry in the next coming months will also be touring to promote his second ever solo album.Soundbitenews wishes all the guys in Aersomith the best & look forward to that new Aerosmith CD in 2010. For more news on Aerosmith visit & get pumped!


Environmentalist and singer-songwriter, Tracy Lyons, is joining Everclear on several tour dates throughout the month of October. The 11-city tour begins in New York City at the Highline Ballroom on October 5th and concludes October 21st at Showcase Live in Foxboro, MA.To kick off the tour,Lyons’ new single “These Days” is being released from her upcoming album entitled ‘Mercury Rising’ due in early 2010.The new single was written and performed by Tracy,produced by Juno award winner Greg Kavanagh and engineered by Grammy veteran Ed Cherney.Recipient of the 2008 Best Folk/Acoustic Artist Award at the Hollywood Music Awards,Tracy Lyons is preparing her new album as a follow up to her acclaimed 2006 release,”I Will,”which was co produced by Grammy winner KC Porter and Greg Kavanagh.


Singer Wayne Newton plans to come back to the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate a 50-year career.Officials for the Tropicana Las Vegas hotel-casino said Wednesday that the 67-year-old “Danke Schoen” crooner plans start a limited run next month.The show, titled “Once Before I Go,” is billed as a look back at Newton’s career and life story.Newton says in a statement that the show is exciting and artistically challenging, and “the kind of show I’ve always wanted to do.”In addition to stints at various Las Vegas casinos, Newton toured Australia in 2006 and also appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”Welcome back Wayne to Vegas!


Last but not least,we thought this would be some interesting news to know that,”Cat Stevens” has announced his first tour since 1976.Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, says this will be his first full tour in 33 years.He is set to play material old and new at the dates,which kick off in Dublin on November 15. A gig in London, at the Royal Albert Hall, has also been announced.He played a show of largely cat stevens songs in London back in May to celebrate the 50th birthday of his label Island Records.”Cat Stevens” which I still prefer to call him will also play material from his new musical,called ‘Moonshadow’,at the gigs.No signs of any dates here in the US,so until then I guess we got our old “Cat Stevens” albums to listen to.

Stay tuned as we release a special Album & Tour announcement very soon.We figured the news needed an article all by its’self.

Credits: Soundbitenews

Miranda Lambert hates beach balls.

September 25, 2009


Miranda can rest easy knowing Kenny Chesney has put his giant beach balls in storage for a while.Her days and nights on the Sun City Carnival tour got a little wild.Miranda explains that she reached her boiling point one night when a HUGE beach ball whacked her upside the face. So I dont blame her when she says,she popped the ball with her heel!I hate beach balls,” the singer tells Dial-Global. “I just feel like people are so distracted from the music when they’re trying to worry about a beach ball hitting them in the head and bouncing around like a volleyball. And people down front get hit in the back of the head, because they don’t see it coming.

Miranda Lambert says what led her to finally pop literally is that,a guy hit her in the face during ‘Gunpowder and Lead’ at a arena while out on tour with Kenny with this giant beach ball, and that’s when she decided to pop that ball with the heel of her shoe.I started keeping a knife on the drum riser for occasions just like that,she says!”Miranda’s preparing herself for next week’s highly-anticipated release of her third album, ‘Revolution.Can’t wait to get my copy and thank you Miranda for taking a stand.I hate it when people at concerts do that too!But for an artist to encourage it,well MR.Chesney,I think you need to find a new way to entertain your audience.If people are that borde at your shows,I don’t know.For starters you can try singing songs other than beach songs.really how long are you gonna punish us with em? Good Luck Miranda! 

Credits: Soundbitenews,Dial-Global