No two studios better captured the Muscle Shoals sound -- the now iconic, soulful energy of music recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala. -- than FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound. Opened in 1959 and 1969, respectively, both studios hosted greats like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Etta James. Come Sept. 28, songs by such legends will be covered on the 16-track tribute Muscle Shoals... Small Town, Big Sound. Curated by Rodney Hall (son of FAME owner-producer Rick Hall, who died in January) and producer Keith Stegall, the album features Chris Stapleton, Aloe Blacc, Jason Isbell and 22 others who visited the 16.5-square-mile town to rerecord classics originally tracked at the studios. Four contributors share how Muscle Shoals inspired their artistry.
“The first time I heard Aretha’s record ‘Respect,’ without knowing where it was recorded, I knew it was special. It was one of the most well-written R&B songs I had heard in a long time. There’s that B-section that lifts the whole song up in that great gospel way, which, to me, is the hallmark of Etta James.”