Muscle Shoals music is back in the news as two young duos grab everybody’s attention. You know that in the 1960s and ’70s, my town of Muscle Shoals was famous for its Southern-gritty rock-‘n’-roll sound, with dozens of hits coming from local recording studios. (You still hear stories about what happened with the Stones came to town.) Today, the Shoals is claiming some of its own young people as performers-to-watch … watch take off into meteoric success, that is. Such as The Secret Sisters, siblings Laura and Lydia Rogers, who are making waves as a 1950s-style new-age country-music duo. Their debut album, released this past fall, was produced by T-Bone Burnett. They’re touring and opening for folks such as Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn all over the country. Do not miss them if they come to your town. And don’t miss The Civil Wars, either. The duo of John Paul White, of the Shoals area, and Joy Williams, from California, is releasing its first full-length album this week. Known for a funky blend of Appalachian-folk and gospel and rock, Civil Wars first took off this past year when its “Poison and Wine” was featured on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Since then, they’ve been on Jay Leno, have collected accolades by the ton and are embarking on a nationwide tour with many venues already sold out. Give these two a listen and you’ll be able to say you knew them when.
Guess the city! Here are clues: The radio station WKDF call letters right center, the guitar painted on the side of the brick building on the left and a great view of the waterfront on the Cumberland River. Got it yet? It’s Nashville, Tennessee, shot from the downtown Shelby Street Walking Bridge, one of Nashville’s newest and coolest places to see and be seen. Close to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and restaurants and bars, the bridge shows up in countless country-music videos and is a convenient walkway to the LP Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans NFL team. I was in Tennessee this past weekend with Younger Daughter and my parents, who have season tickets for the Nashville Symphony pops series. They invited YD and I to come along to a Manhattan Transfer concert, which was … uh … well, let’s just say that two-and-a-half hours of doo-wop and jazz hands were plenty, thank you very much, although I could have listened to the symphony play by itself all night. But our pre-concert stroll along the bridge was perfect. If Nashville is on your summer-vacation list, be sure to check it out.