Back in 2018, a number of fantastic country music artists, as well as a number of talented musicians from other genres, got together for a stellar little project called Muscle Shoals: Small Town, Big Sounds.
In honor of the iconic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where legends like the Rolling Stones, Etta James, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and more recorded, these artists came together to pay tribute to one of the most creative spaces on planet Earth.
According to Rodney Hall, album executive producer, FAME co-owner, publisher, and son of Rick Hall, the Muscle Shoals sound is one of a kind:
“The sound is one-of-a-kind. It comes down to hooks, groove, quality, and vocals. The rooms are obviously a part of it. Mostly, it’s the people and the songs though. My dad used musicians like a paintbrush.
If a track called for a certain feel, he would hire the right players for that feel. We’ve got a pool of musicians here who have worked together for years. They’ve also got young guys learning under them.
When young artists hear about all of the music that came out of here over the past five decades, they want to check it out. They get here, and it’s a laidback atmosphere, we’re just here to make music. Everyone always says it feels like home.”
“That record was the seed for the whole album. It got everyone excited. Norbert Putnam had introduced me to the legendary Keith Stegall, who freaked out over ‘Gotta Serve Somebody.'”
You got country music royalty in that of Sir Willie Nelson, two of the best voices country music has ever seen in that of Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton, and cap it off with Lee Ann Womack, one of the all-time greats… ever.
This foursome took on Bob Dylan’s 1979 hit “Gotta Serve Somebody.”
Written and recorded by Bob Dylan, it was released as the opening track to his 1979 studio album Slow Train Coming. It would go on to win a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Male the following year.