Singer-songwriter James LeBlanc was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. James picked up the guitar at age seven, inspired by his father James Sr. By the time James was 18, he knew he wanted to make a life and living in the music business. After many years of struggles, trials and tribulations, James finally got an opportunity when he was “discovered” by Rick and Rodney Hall. They were and still are the proprietors of FAME Studios/Publishing Co. in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. James signed a production agreement and a publishing contract with FAME. Soon thereafter, he began getting songs recorded by the likes of Martina McBride, Bryan White, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Thompson Square and more. James co-wrote the hit song “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” for Travis Tritt. He also co-wrote the hits “Relentless” for Jason Aldean and “Learning How to Bend” for and with Gary Allan. James’ songs have been on records which have sold over 25 million copies. “I’m ready for what comes next! I’m so excited to be a part of the FAME/Dreamlined Entertainment team!” James is working on his forth album which should be out this spring.
Month: September 2018
For the past half-century, Muscle Shoals, Alabama has produced some of the finest musicians of our day. From W.C. Handy to Percy Sledge and the immortal Muscle Shoals Rhythm Sections otherwise known as “The Swampers”, Muscle Shoals has always been a hotbed of talent.
Gary Nichols is the next in line of the great Muscle Shoals songwriting performers. Even though he is only 30 years old Gary has been playing professionally for nearly 20 years. The hotshot instrumentalist, singing wonder and songwriting champ fits the classic definition of a “guitar slinger,” but he’s no novice.
This is a role he was born to play. Gary has been playing guitar and singing since the age of 6. As a teenager, Gary played with his uncle Larry Condrey, who subbed on gigs for the legendary Muscle Shoals guitar great Travis Wammack.
I am a proud mother of the most awesome son. I have amazing family and friends in my life and I am so blessed to have them.
Music is my passion. It has always been a huge part of my life. Being surrounded by my family who were all singers and musicians, my brother, sisters and I were born with the love for music. I wrote my first song at the age of 10. At the age of 13 I won my first school talent show and I was hooked.
I am so lucky to be able to do what I love. I have signed with Rick Hall at Fame Recording and Publishing Company in Muscle Shoals, Alabama as a writer. I have been fortunate to have written with some great writers such as, Billy Lawson, James Leblanc, Walt Aldridge, Gary Nichols, James Slater, Kris Bergsnes and the late Ava Aldridge.
My style of Country, R&B and Rock and Roll has strongly been influenced by the Muscle Shoals Sound.
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
When Jason Isbell was a teenager in the Muscle Shoals area, many musicians took him under their wing. He got to know session bassist David Hood, the father of Drive-By Truckers co-founder Patterson Hood, because Hood was in the Florence, Alabama area and played around town on Friday and Saturday nights in local restaurants and bars. By this time, Patterson Hood and his future Drive-By Truckers co-founder, Mike Cooley, were older and had moved out of town. Isbell would go watch David Hood and others perform. It took a while, but once he finally got up the nerve to tell them he played, they’d have him sit in with them, which resulted in friendship and mentorship.
Around 2000, Jason submitted demos and eventually got a publishing deal with FAME Publishing of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, when he was 21 years old. He worked for FAME 15 years, up through the “Southeastern” album. Jason has recorded many of his albums at FAME as well. Including the Drive By Truckers “Dirty South”, his solo debut “Sirens of the Ditch”, “Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit” and “Here We Rest”. Jason has also produced a couple tracks at FAME, “Christmas in Dixie” on the Blind Boys of Alabama as well as a duet with John Paul White on “Old Flame”. Both of which were included on a tribute to the country supergroup Alabama.
Isbell has stated on the importance of his northern Alabama roots: “I definitely don’t feel like I would be the musician that I am, or the type of songwriter, had I not come from that particular place,” he says now. “The soul music that came out of there, and a lot of the soul-influenced rock and roll and country music that came out of the studios in north Alabama in the ’60s and ’70s had a big influence on me.” Isbell said that working at FAME Studios was everything to him, that it was a gateway towards the music that he wanted to play.
Here’s the story of the band name, because it’s a good story and deserves telling, and the telling says what needs finishing here. Jason begins, “There is a mental treatment facility here in Florence, AL called The 400 Unit. About once a week they would drive downtown and take, I guess, the six or eight healthiest people in the facility and let ’em go downtown. Give ’em all like $15 apiece to go get some lunch. You’d immediately recognize who it was and why they were there; they all had nametags on, saying kinda strange stuff to everybody. And trying to get a sandwich at the same time.
“When I started thinking about a band, and how we get to a new town and everybody gets $15 and gets out of the van, goes out and tries to get a sandwich, it kinda reminded me of that.”
Although the Golden era of Alabama’s fabled Muscle Shoals sound had passed by the time Dylan was born in 1990, his ancestral roots and family background connected him to one of the most significant sources in the rich tapestry of American music. His father’s position as a Muscle Shoals session player and songwriter meant that early in life Dylan was privy to the sights and sounds of an unvarnished, vanishing epoch and such legends as Spooner Oldham.
“I grew up around a lot of the session players… when I was 11 or 12, I would watch and ask a lot of questions, so for me it was like going to music college,” is how the tall, gentle voiced, lank haired Shreveport, Louisiana native remembers it. “It seemed like a much simpler world – it was romantic to me the way everyone sat in a circle and “took it from the top”. They just played and hit the record button.
That’s the path I followed when I made this album.” Dylan expands… “for me music is about getting together with a group of people who feel like family – you create a bond, feeding off each other. Just a look or a hand gesture and they know what you’re talking about.” Dylan’s progress was natural, organic – learning the ropes as a young sideman helped define his own worldview and artistry through his teens.
Just like the twinkling blooms of southern Star Jasmine, singer Holli Mosley’s voice infuses the air with sweet, sultry melodies that are taking this artist straight to the top. From opening the stage for the likes of Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton & Travis Tritt and into the hallowed halls of Muscle Shoals’ FAME Recording Studios, Holli has positioned herself alongside some of the most venerated southern rock & soul performers of the last 50 years. Under the tutelage of FAME Studios President Rodney Hall, Holli is perfecting her sound with hand-picked writers and seasoned session players dubbed the new FAME gang – a modern day version of the studio’s legendary rhythm section.
The combination of Holli’s soulful lyrics, powerful voice and company she keeps will make her one to watch. Capturing the essence of the Muscle Shoals’ sound. Collaborations on the project feature guest writers and performances by The SteelDrivers’ former lead vocalist Gary Nichols, Larry Byrom of Steppenwolf fame and Grammy Award winner John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars, as well as ten time CMA musician of the year Mac McAnally
Holli’s musical talent is seemingly genetic, passed straight down through her grandfather’s country & bluegrass lineage, directly into her soulful sound. At the tender age of 8, she knew she wanted to sing, began competing and has been climbing the ranks ever since. Crediting country as an early influence in her life, Holli now looks to southern rock & soul as a source of inspiration. As her musical tastes have matured, so has Holli’s voice – the result of which leaves her a rising star on the Country and Americana landscape.
Her drive and determination has taken her from humble beginnings in Mobile, Alabama to opening for major music industry stars.