I grew up visiting the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama throughout my life. It was the one area that was a constant for me and my family when I was a kid, because we moved often.
My grandparents – both set s– lived here and some of my best memories in life, even in recent years, were made in their small Northern Alabama town.
During my visits, I frequently passed a building with the word “FAME “ on the front. At some point, as a child, I realized that it was a recording studio. I imagined people within the walls, singing into a microphone and wondered who would come to this small town in Alabama to record. Little did I know the rich history.
Fast forward many years later, and here I am with a career in music, something that young girl never planned on. Now, I know and appreciate the incredible story of Muscle Shoals music – how Aretha Franklin truly found her voice here, recording Never Loved a Man, how this is the place that Percy Sledge recorded the iconic song, When a Man Loves a Woman, and how one of the world’s most famous rock bands ever, The Rolling Stones, came here to get a piece of the Muscle Shoals sound and they did indeed with Wild Horses and Brown Sugar.
I’ve been thinking about recording at FAME in Muscle Shoals for the past few years. When my granddad died recently, it became very important to me. I wanted to honor my family and make a connection between my personal history and the incredible musical history of this place. On some small level, I wanted to be a part of it.
I decided to do a number of covers songs, all originally recorded in Muscle Shoals. After digging in to a great library of music, I chose You Better Move On by Arthur Alexander (recorded by the Rolling Stones and The Beatles), You Left the Water Running by Rick Hall and Dan Penn (recorded by Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding), Starting All Over Again by Mel and Tim and a much more recent song, Tighten Up by the Black Keys.
I brought some great players with me from Nashville – Lex Price (KD Lang, Mindy Smith), Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell) and Paul Griffith (Jason Isbell, Todd Snider). It was their first time playing at FAME, and it was clear that it was a special experience for them as well.
One person who played with us that day is not at all new to FAME. In fact, it probably feels like a second home to him because he’s spent so much time there. Spooner Oldham started with FAME when he was in his late teens. If you’ve heard any of Aretha’s big hits, you’ve heard Spooner. Well, I can attest that he is still a sweet player and a sweet person as well. It’s an honor to feature him on this EP.
The session was amazing. The songs turned out great. It was a perfect day that I’ll never forget – and now I have music to share with you.
To Muscle Shoals with love,
This EP is dedicated to my grandparents, Tom & Violet Jones and Taylor & Edith Presley for giving me large quantities of love and so many precious memories; and to my parents Tom and Sheila (Presley) Jones for their example of love, grace and contentment. I love you.