The Muscle Shoals Allstars consist of many of the legendary session players who created the Muscle Shoals sound as heard on timeless classics like “When A Man Loves A Woman”, “Respect”, “Old Time Rock & Roll” or “Still Crazy After All These Years”. Backing up artists like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Bob Seger, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and countless others, they played on dozens of the most memorable recordings of the 20th century. In a Vancouver Island MusicFest exclusive performance, get ready to celebrate wth some of the folks who ‘wrote the book’ on North American Blues, Rock, Country and Soul!
The band includes Musician Hall of Famer David Hood of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as the Swampers – remember the tribute to them in the lyrics of ‘Sweet Home Alabama?’), Clayton Ivey and Mickey Buckins of the FAME Gang, Will McFarlane, the Muscle Shoals Horns as well as singers Carla Russell, Cindy Walker and Marie Lewey. The band is fronted by vocalists Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie, lead singer for the Jeff Beck Band) and Carla Russell.
Since the early 1960s, Muscle Shoals has been one of the major recording capitals of the world. Artists like Percy Sledge, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, the Staple Singers, the Rolling Stones and many others recorded some of their most memorable songs at studios like FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound, Wishbone and the NuttHouse. The Muscle Shoals sound is still alive and well today as witnessed on current recordings by Jason Isbell, Alabama Shakes, Civil Wars, Drive-By Truckers, Secret Sisters and St. Paul & The Broken Bones.
David Hood, Bass
David Hood was the bass player of FAME recording studio in Muscle Shoals and later a founding member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section which started the MuscleShoals Sound recording studio. He has performed with Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Traffic, Levon Helm and many, many more. He’s also a member of The Decoys and occasionally performs with his son, the Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood.
Will McFarlane, Lead Guitar
Will McFarlane got his start as Bonnie Raitt’s guitar player in the 1970s. Collaborations with The Pointer Sisters and Jackson Browne followed before he became the lead guitar player for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. He then appeared on recordings by many artists including Joss Stone, Candi Staton, Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Etta James. Will is also a recording artist in his own right, releasing a handful of soulful Christian albums.
Clayton Ivey, Keyboards
Clayton Ivey is a keyboard player who was a member of the FAME studio rhythm section called “Fame Gang” and often recorded with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. He played keyboards on countless records like “Funky Broadway” by Wilson Pickett and “One Bad Apple” by The Osmonds and recordings by Joss Stone, James Brown, Roy Orbison, the Commodores, Chet Atkins, Toby Keith, Boz Scaggs and many more. Clayton also wrote and produced the Grammy-nominated song “Angel In Your Arms”. He co-founded Wishbone Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals which became the South’s hub for Motown.
Mickey Buckins, Percussion
As an artist, Mickey Buckins fronted the New Breed, playing venues throughout the Southeast during the mid 1960’s. In 1967 he joined FAME studios, where he worked as an engineer, producer and songwriter. In the early 1970’s, Buckins moved to Atlanta, Georgia to work for publishing legend Bill Lowery. Buckins has written 5 BMI award winning songs including Janie Fricke’s “Tell Me A Lie” which climbed to the top of the charts and earned a BMI Millionaire award. His “Double Lovin’” was a Top 10 Pop hit for the Osmonds; “The Feeling is Right” a Top 10 R&B hit for Clarence Carter. As a percussionist, Buckins has played on many sessions, including Bob Dylan’s platinum album “Slow Train Coming”.
Lynn Williams, Drums
Lynn Williams is an in demand session drummer and percussionist as well as the drummer of The Wallflowers. He’s also known for his work with Delbert McClinton, John Hiatt, Lee Roy Parnell, Marcia Ball and many others.
Harvey Thompson Jr., Keyboards
Harvey Thompson Jr. has performed or recorded with artists such as Percy Sledge and Denise LaSalle. He also performs with the Harvey Thompson Trio that also features his father, Harvey Thompson Sr. of the Muscle Shoals Horns, on the saxophone.
The Muscle Shoals Horns, led by Charles Rose
The Muscle Shoals Horns were established in 1970 and can be heard on countless hit recordings by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Bob Seger, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Jimmy Buffett, Phish, Oak Ridge Boys, Elton John and many others. They toured with Elton John, Lyle Lovett and Dobie Gray. They made three albums on their own with Born To Get Down (1976), Doin’ It To The Bone (1977) and Shine On (1983). They were inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2018, they toured the US with Lyle Lovett and can be heard on albums including Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station and Buddy Guy’s The Blues Is Alive And Well.
Carla Russell, Vocals
Carla Russell is a powerhouse vocalist. Influenced by Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples and Etta James, Carla has performed and recorded with Alicia Keys, Gregg Hall, Jimmy Hall, Gregg Allman and many others. She’s the singer of Kozmic Mama and a featured performer with the Muscle Shoals Allstars. Her solo album The Good Side Of Crazy came out in 2018.
Marie Lewey, Vocals
Marie Lewey sang on many of the great recordings out of Muscle Shoals as well as live performances with Amy Grant, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and many others.
Cindy Walker, Vocals
Cindy Walker sang on many recordings out of Muscle Shoals as well as live performances with Dan Penn, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, George Jones and many others. She is also an accomplished songwriter.
Jimmy Johnson, Rhythm Guitar (studio only*)
Jimmy Johnson was the guitar player of FAME recording studio in Muscle Shoals and later a founding member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section which started the MuscleShoals Sound recording studio. He has performed with Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Traffic, Levon Helm and many, many more. He also recorded the Rolling Stones (“Brown Sugar”, “Wild Horses”) and produced Lynyrd Skynyrd.
* Jimmy Johnson retired from the road in 2017. Andreas Werner will play rhythm guitar in the touring version of the band.
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