Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Grace Potter & More Aboard For Muscle Shoals Tribute Album


Earlier this year famed producer Rick Hall died at age 85. The influential “Father of Muscle Shoals Music” founded FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; a facility where many legendary songs and albums were recorded. Rick’s son Rodney and partner Keith Stegall recruited an impressive array of musicians in the months following Hall’s passing to re-record songs originally cut in Muscle Shoals at FAME for a new compilation. Muscle Shoals… Small Town, Big Sound, which comes in honor of FAME’s 60th anniversary and and remembrance of Rick Hall, is due via BMG on September 28.

Steven Tyler, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Grace Potter, Keb’ Mo’, Jason Isbell, Michael McDonald and Blind Boys of Alabama are among the artists that contributed to the 16-track effort. Tyler and Nuno Bettencourt lead a rendition of The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” a song Mick Jagger & Co. recorded in 1969 for inclusion on Sticky Fingers. “We knew we wanted to respect and pay homage to the original version, but we also dared ourselves to make it our own,” Tyler told Rolling Stone. “I had no idea the vibes I would feel being in those rooms at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals. So much more than an era was created there. These songs are the soundtrack of people’s lives. A world that could never be lived again.”

McDonald laid down Etta James’ “Cry Like A Baby” in Muscle Shoals for the compilation. “Returning to Muscle Shoals to record a track at Fame Studios was like being given the chance to return to my youth for a day,” Michael McDonald explained to Billboard. “So much of the music that shaped my consciousness was recorded right here, on this spot, in this building and with, for the most part, these very musicians. It will always rank among my most cherished memories.”

Other tracks featured on the new compilation include Grace Potter’s interpretation of James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind,” Keb’ Mo’s take on Clarence Carter’s “The Road Of Love,” Alison Krauss’ cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Come & Go Blues” and Candi Staton teaming with Jason Isbell and John Paul White for James LeBlanc’s “I Ain’t Easy To Love.” Another highlight looks to be Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” recorded by Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Chris Stapleton and Lee Ann Womack.

A portion of Muscle Shoals… Small Town, Big Sound’s sales will go towards the Grammy Foundation and the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation. The compilation is available for pre-order here.

Watch a trailer for Muscle Shoals… Small Town, Big Sound below:

Listetn to Tyler and Bettencourt’s rendition of “Brown Sugar” which premiered via Rolling Stone:

Muscle Shoals… Small Town, Big Sound Tracklist

  1. The Road Of Love – Keb’ Mo’
  2. I’d Rather Go Blind – Grace Potter
  3. Brown Sugar – Steven Tyler & Nuno Bettencourt
  4. Gotta Serve Somebody – Jamey Johnson, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton & Lee Ann Womack
  5. Steal Away – Eli “Paperboy” Reed
  6. Snatching It Back – Kid Rock
  7. I’ll Take You There – Aloe Blacc
  8. Cry Like A Rainy Day – Michael McDonald
  9. True Love – Vince Gill & Wendy Moten
  10. Come And Go Blues – Alison Krauss
  11. Respect Yourself – Mike Farris with The Blind Boys of Alabama
  12. Wild Horses – Alan Jackson
  13. Mustang Sally – Brently Stephen Smith of Shinedown
  14. We’ve Got Tonight – Chord Overstreet
  15. Giving It Up For Your Love – Tom Johnston & Delbert McClinton
  16. I Ain’t Easy To Love – Candi Staton with Jason Isbell & John Paul White