Music in Alabama
Start your journey by exploring the roots of American music which are deeply embedded in Alabama. Visit The Shoals, the four musical quad cities in northwest Alabama of Florence, Tuscumbia, Sheffield and Muscle Shoals which are located just two hours southeast of Memphis.
Music in The Shoals, Alabama
The Alabama Music Hall of Fame, located in Tuscumbia, showcases the state's musical heritage. The annual W. C. Handy Music Festival is enjoyed by tens of thousands at various venues in the Muscle Shoals area the last week of July. The many Shoals area music studios figure prominently in the history of rock ‘n roll and R&B through the 1960s and 1970s. FAME, located in Muscle Shoals, and the original Muscle Shoals Sound, located in Sheffield, are studios that proved to be fertile ground for international superstars like Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones. The documentary film 'Muscle Shoals' is available on DVD or read the Telegraph article by Mick Brown on How Muscle Shoals Became Music's Most Unlikely Hit Factory.
The Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, highlighted in the documentary movie 'Muscle Shoals', has recently undergone a complete renovation and open again for tours and is also a working studio once again thanks to financial support. With it's close proximity to Memphis and Nashville, Muscle Shoals is a popular destination for tours of the Deep South. Johnny Depp is also developing a series based on the music documentary Muscle Shoals.
Read our 48 hours in The Shoals article and listen to this really cool album, Muscle Shoals: Small Town, Big Sound, including re-releases of 16 hit songs cut at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and sung by current artists such as Aloe Blacc, Kid Rock and Steven Tyler.
Music in Birmingham, Alabama
Jazz still echoes from nightclubs in downtown Birmingham at places such as Ona’s Music Room where founder Ona Watson, the youngest person to be inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, can often be heard. The Jazz Hall of Fame is also located in downtown Birmingham and offers tours and the nearby Carver Theatre is where jazz legends such as Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton once played and local jazz artists and comedy can often be heard. A new entertainment district called The Forge is coming soon and Alabama American Idols Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard each plan to open clubs there. Birmingham area music festivals include the Preserve Jazz Festival and the Freedom Creek Blues Festival. In nearby Bessemer you'll find one of the last remaining Southern juke joints - Gip's Place. Since 1952 Gip's Place has been bringing folks together with music. Gip's backyard is a sanctuary for people who want to meet new people and be a part of the love for Blues. Nationally known blues artists mixed with plenty of locally acclaimed blues acts play at this venue on Saturday evenings.
This great article The Gospel of Gip: How Alabama's last juke joint brings us together by Jeremy Burgess and explains the nature of Gip's Place and Gip himself!
Music in Montgomery, Alabama
The legendary Hank Williams is an American music icon and was country music's first superstar, selling ten million records from 1947 to 1953. Montgomery is the center of the Hank Williams Trail in Alabama. Hank became a well-known performer while living in Montgomery. It is also Montgomery were his final resting spot is located a mile from the Hank Williams Museum, which houses Hank artefacts including the powder-blue Cadillac he was riding in when he died. Montgomery area music festivals include the Hank Williams Festival and Jubilee CityFest.
Music in Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the hometown of Jimmy Buffett and his sister Lucy owns LuLu’s Homeport Marina in nearby Gulf Shores. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are resort towns with 32 miles of white sandy beaches where live bands perform at entertainment establishments including Florabama, the famous roadhouse beach bar right on the Alabama/Florida State Line. The historic port city of Mobile features an array of bar and restaurants and live music venues. Gulf Coast music festivals include Mobile’s Mardi Gras in February and Mobile Bayfest.
The Americana Music Triangle
The Americana Music Triangle is home to music's greatest story: nine distinct genres born in one tiny, mystical slice of the globe. The Deep South of American left its permanent mark on the world as the birthplace of Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock 'N' Roll, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Southern Gospel, Cajun/Zydeco and Bluegrass music. The Americana Music Triangle is overflowing with the stories and songs, legends and landmarks, struggles and triumphs that created the country’s most powerful cultural export with their music heard all over the world. More information...