Episode 8: Walt Aldridge

Episode 8: Walt Aldridge

On Episode Eight of Through These Doors: A FAME Studios Podcast, Rodney Hall welcomes the great musician, singer, songwriter, engineer and record producer Walt Aldridge. Listen in as Hall and Aldridge discuss what it takes to write a #1 hit (Aldridge’s #1’s include “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” by Ronnie Milsap (1981), ‘Till You’re Gone by Barbara Mandrell (1982), “Holding Her and Loving You” by Earl Thomas Conley (1982), “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” by Travis Tritt (2000), and “I Loved Her First” (2006) by Heartland), and stories from his days working at FAME as a producer, songwriter and back-up musician, and what make Muscle Shoals such an incubator for hit records.

Watch Episode Eight

 

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8 Track Entertainment Opens Doors In Muscle Shoals

For Immediate Release

8 TRACK ENTERTAINMENT OPENS DOORS IN MUSCLE SHOALS

ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL PARTNERSHIP WITH HISTORIC FAME RECORDING STUDIOS
FOR FUTURE MUSIC PROJECTS INCLUDING THE

“60th ANNIVERSARY OF FAME AND THE MUSCLE SHOALS SOUND” ALBUM

SIGNS GRAMMY® AWARD-WINNING GROUP SHENANDOAH TO
8 TRACK RECORDS

Muscle Shoals, AL (April 12, 2022)….Newly formed global entertainment company 8 Track Entertainment has entered into an inaugural partnership with historic Fame Recording Studios for future music projects, reveals the signing of Grammy® award-winning country stars Shenandoah and plans to release the “60th Anniversary Of FAME And The Muscle Shoals Sound” album. All projects will be distributed by Warner Music Group’s ADA via 8 Track Records, a division of 8 Track Entertainment. 8 Track Entertainment founding partners Noah Gordon/President, Jeff Goodwin/Vice President, Marketing & Partnerships and Bill Harbin/Vice President, Corporate Partnerships announced that the Alabama Corporation will be based in Muscle Shoals with satellite offices in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I am absolutely delighted to sign Shenandoah to 8 Track Records as Muscle Shoals is where it all began for this group at the outset of their career. They will return to FAME to record their next project scheduled for release in the coming months,” stated Gordon. “New music will also be coming from Ira Dean, LeBlanc Family Band, BoomTown Saints, and Ivas John. In addition, 8 Track and FAME have numerous co-ventures planned for the future including music publishing, TV/Film, touring/live events and music programs for community schools. We will be intentionally working with outside studios as the bigger movement is about Muscle Shoals and Alabama…not only FAME.”

“We are very excited to partner with 8 Track Entertainment on this next chapter in Muscle Shoals music’s historic legacy. Our music is currently on fire with the Shoals represented on almost every major award show over the last few years,” commented Rodney Hall, Co-Owner and President of FAME Publishing/FAME Records/FAME Recording Studios. “We look forward to working with the entire Shoals music scene to bring opportunity to artists, producers, engineers, studios, songwriters, musicians as well as all the other music related businesses.”

The partnership’s first project, “60th Anniversary Of FAME And The Muscle Shoals Sound,” between the newly revamped storied FAME Records and legendary producer, Keith Stegall’s Dreamlined Entertainment, is currently in production and is set for release later this year. It will feature such artists as War & Treaty, Demi Lovato, Chris Stapleton, Shenandoah, Candi Staton, Willie Nelson, LeBlanc Family Band, Alison Krauss, The Fame Gang, Alan Jackson, Anderson East, Vince Gill, Billy D. Allen, Michael McDonald, and others.


About 8 Track Entertainment:

8 Track Entertainment is a multi-faceted global entertainment company based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with satellite offices in Nashville, Tennessee. Under the 8-Track Entertainment moniker is a Sports and Entertainment Management division, a Music Production and Publishing entity, and a full-service TV/Film division. Since launching in 2021, 8-Track Publishing has celebrated its first #1 Billboard Hot Country Song (Aaron Lewis/“Am I The Only One”) and first #1 iTunes Country Album (Aaron Lewis/”Frayed At Both Ends”), and #7 iTunes Country Album (Eddie Montgomery/“Ain’t No Closing Me Down.”). The company has also partnered with the NHRA to produce an exciting live concert series launching later this year.

8 Track Entertainment founding partners are Grammy-award winning engineer/producer and ASCAP-award winning songwriter, Noah Gordon; Jeff Goodwin, Vice President Marketing & Partnerships; and Bill Harbin,Vice President Corporate Partnerships. Visit www.8TrackEnt.com for more information.

About FAME:

FAME Music was established in 1959 in Florence, Ala., and moved to Muscle Shoals, Ala., in 1961, where it became the indisputable heartbeat of the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound. FAME Music entities include FAME Publishing, FAME Recording Studios, House of Fame, FAME Records and Muscle Shoals Music Group. FAME has worked in the studio with some of the greatest artists in music history—including, but not limited to, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Alicia Keys, Jason Isbell, and Etta James—and has been involved in recording and/or publishing records that have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. Visit FAME at www.famestudios.com.

About Shenandoah:

Shenandoah originally formed in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1985. The band has charted 26 singles on the Billboard Hot Country charts, including #1 hits “The Church on Cumberland Road,” “Sunday in the South” and “Two Dozen Roses” from 1989, “Next to You, Next to Me” from 1990, and “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too)” from 1994. The single “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart,” which featured guest vocals from Alison Krauss, won both artists a GRAMMY® Award for “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.” To date, the group has sold millions of albums worldwide.
Visit www.ShenandoahBand.com for additional information.

8 Track Entertainment
PO Box 120755
Nashville, TN 37212
Claire@8TrackEnt.com

FAME Adds New Backstage Tour Experience

FAME Adds New Backstage Tour Experience

 

Introducing the FAME Recording Studios Backstage Tour Experience:

Beginning on March 1st, 2022, FAME Recording Studios will be adding a special Backstage tour at 3:30pm every Monday through Friday and on Saturdays at 2:00pm. The Backstage Experience offers a behind-the-scenes look at selected areas of the studios not available on standard tours. Indulge yourself in an exclusive experience masterfully guided by a member of the FAME team with Backstage groups limited to 10 people. The Backstage tour price includes the normal studio tour.

The Backstage Experience takes you behind the velvet rope including, FAME’s Publishing Office, Rick Hall’s personal office, exhibits showcasing FAME’s multiple awards including Gold Records and Song-of-the-Year awards, and exhibits focused on instruments played in historic sessions including the legendary Aretha Franklin sessions and instruments from Rick Hall’s personal collection.

Cost: $30 (includes general admission tour attractions)
We encourage you to book your Backstage tickets through our online store to ensure your spot.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Episode 7: Clayton Ivey

Episode 7: Clayton Ivey

On Episode Seven of Through These Doors: A FAME Studios Podcast, Rodney Hall welcomes legendary producer and musician Clayton Ivey. Listen in as Hall and Ivey discuss Ivey’s over 50 years of hit records as a keyboard player at FAME and his own Wishbone Studios in Muscle Shoals to recording with some of the biggest acts in the world from Rod Stewart to Little Richard and producing acts like The Commodores, The Supremes, and The Temptations.

Watch Episode Seven

 

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Little Richard

The Innovator. The Originator. The Architect of Rock and Roll.

These are just a few of the names bestowed upon the legendary Richard Wayne Penniman, better known to the world as Little Richard, one of the most influential recording artists in the history of popular music. Few have left a more indelible mark on our culture’s fabric than Little Richard. One only needs to listen to The Rolling Stones (who toured with Richard in the early-60s), Jimi Hendrix (who played in Richard’s band for a short period) and The Beatles (who also toured on a bill with Richard in the early-60s).

According to Richard, as quoted in his biography, The Life and Times of Little Richard by Charles White, The Beatles’s manager, Brian Epstein, told him, “These boys worship you. You’re the only famous artist they’ve ever met. They’ve never met a famous person in their life. They want their picture taken with you.”

Sometimes, however, when we extol an artist for their influence, we can diminish their greatness somewhat by viewing them only in a light shined by others. It is not only because he influenced so many other rock and roll bands that we should remember how great Little Richard’s music is — because, in fact, there are so many aspects of his performance style and playing abilities that are still untouched by others — to this day.

Little Richard was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1932, the third of 12 children. Obsessed with music in his early years, he was given his first big break at the age of 14 opening for Sister Rosetta Tharpe at the Macon City Auditorium after hearing him singing her songs prior to a performance.

By 1949, he was performing in minstrel performer Doctor Nubillo’s traveling show and was later inspired to don some of the more flamboyant outfits worn by Nubillo — like capes and turbans — that would come to define the signature, electrifying, live performances he would become known at the apex of his career.

After years of touring and performing with little traction, Little Richard scored his first smash hit, “Tutti Frutti” in 1955, continuing to deliver an unprecedented string of hits in the late-50s, including “Long Tall Sally,” “Slippin’ and Slidin,’” “Ready Teddy,” “The Girl Can’t Help It,” (the title song for the 1956 movie of the same name starring Jane Mansfield) “Rip It Up,” and “Lucille,” to name only a few.

This record run of hits would come to an abrupt end, however, as in the middle of his 1957 tour with Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, Richard announced that he would be leaving popular music behind and following a life in the ministry.

Cutting the tour short and returning to the U.S. ten days earlier than expected, Richard learned that his original flight had crashed into the Pacific Ocean, further cementing his decision to stop performing secular music and he enrolled at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, to study theology, following a “farewell performance” at the Apollo Theater and a “final” recording session with Specialty Records.

His break from secular music would prove to be short-lived, and Richard embarked on several successful rock and roll tours throughout the sixties — although due to the arrival of the Beatles and other British bands as well as the rise of soul labels such as Motown and Stax Records, Richard’s new releases were not well promoted and found little airtime on the radio.

By 1970, three years had passed since the last new material from Little Richard. Wanting to cross over to both black rhythm and blues and white rock audiences, Richards signed with Reprise Records (having turned down offers from other labels, including The Beatles’s Apple Records).

Hoping to meld his signature sound with the hit-making power coming out of Muscle Shoals in the early 1970s, Little Richard decided to record his next album, The Rill Thing, at FAME Recording Studios under the direction of Producer Rick Hall.

“I worked with several of my early rock and roll idols who’d had a profound effect on the shape of my musical ideas. Little Richard was one.” said Hall (in his autobiography, “The Man From Muscle Shoals.”) “After Little Richard visited FAME, he made Muscle Shoals a part of his musical identity. A number of my best studio musicians, including guitarist Travis Wammack and bassist Jesse Boyce, later joined Richard’s road band and toured the world.”

Although The Rill Thing was not the commercial success Richard was hoping for, the album received near unanimous critical acclaim and delivered Richard his last Billboard Hot 100 hit, Greenwood, Mississippi, written by Travis Wammack and Albert Lowe Jr. Billboard Magazine described the album as a “stomping, swinging, soulful leap backwards in the rock ‘n’ rolling ’50’s with the Muscle Shoals gang” and Joel Selvin of Rolling Stone considered the album “a major artistic triumph for Little Richard” that “faithfully exhibits Richard’s maturity as an artist both through the selection of material and the contemporary instrumental setting”.

Little Richard continued to tour and record throughout his life and, in 1986, was a member of the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and the Everly Brothers.

On May 9, 2020, Richard died at the age of 87 at his home in Tullahoma, Tennessee after a long illness.

FAME is honored to have played a part in the extraordinary career of a truly original and singular performer. While Little Richard would have always reached the heights of Rock n’ Roll supremacy, FAME wouldn’t have been the same without his ground-breaking music and style.

A wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom

Episode 6: Norbert Putnam

Episode 6: Norbert Putnam

On Episode SIX of Through These Doors: A FAME Studios Podcast, Rodney Hall is thrilled to welcome Muscle Shoals music legend, Norbert Putnam, for a memorable trip down music memory lane. From his days recording in FAME’s first dozen hits to recording with Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Jimmy Buffet,  to being inducted into the Musicians and Alabama Music Hall of Fames, you’ll want to listen to every second of this enlightening and fascinating conversation.

Watch Episode Six

 

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IK Multimedia announces T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb

For Immediate Release

The officially certified collection from the legendary FAME Studios of Muscle Shoals, Alabama,
modeling the acclaimed live rooms, iso booths and more

 

November 4, 2021 – IK Multimedia announces FAME Studio Reverb for T-RackS, capturing the sound and vibe of FAME Studios and offering innovative controls for achieving the Muscle Shoals sound in any studio.

Among recording artists, it’s called the “hit recording capital of the world.” For over 60 years, FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, has produced an endless stream of iconic hits powered by a sound that simply can’t be found anywhere else in the world, until now.

An entire studio’s worth of spaces
T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb offers a total of 9 spaces, with 2 live rooms, 5 iso booths, an EMT plate reverb and FAME’s newly-restored echo chamber, plus Modern and Vintage modes for each, giving users a full suite of reverb effects in a single plug-in.

A newly-restored part of music history
In addition to the rooms and plate, IK is proud to have helped FAME’s Rodney Hall restore one of FAME’s original echo chambers. Long out of use, this newly restored chamber is equipped just as it was in the ’60s and sounds every bit as amazing now as it did then.

That exact sound, instrument by instrument
IK worked hand-in-hand with FAME to precisely capture not just the mic placement used on all their iconic albums, but where the performers were positioned as well. Users can select which instrument they’re processing and T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb instantly re-positions both the microphones and source in the room, right where the magic happened.

Iconic consoles for iconic spaces
Beyond using FAME’s extensive vintage mic locker, IK took care to capture each studio’s unique sonic signature.

Studio A boasts a Neve 8232 console, while Studio B, recently renovated and restored by Rodney and GRAMMY Award-winning producer Glenn Rosenstein, offers an SSL 6056 E formerly loved by Stevie Ray Vaughan and used on his most successful albums.

Or, for a more vintage sound, users can switch either studio to use FAME’s original Universal Audio 610 console, hand-built for FAME, to precisely capture the vibes of FAME’s earliest decades.

The deepest level of authenticity
To capture both the unique acoustics of each studio, IK used its unique Volumetric Response Modeling (VRM™), an advanced hybrid convolution technique, to deliver the highest-quality reverb effects possible.

T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb takes this to a whole new level, using proprietary new techniques to enhance the measurement process for a truly immersive experience. The new SPREAD control lets users broaden each room’s response to best fit the sound source.

Convenient tone shaping
T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb offers all the necessary controls to shape the spaces including reverb time, width and frequency controls, microphone controls (left, right, or both) and accurate leveling/monitoring of the mixed signals.

To offer even more realism, when using the two studio’s live rooms, FAME Studio Reverb offers two faders for mono room ambience, which can be mixed into the stereo signal or used alone, just as if recording at FAME itself.

The power of T-RackS
Like all T-RackS plug-ins, T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb offers two ways to work: as a single plug-in, or within the T-RackS 5 shell.

Pricing and availability
T-RackS FAME Studio Reverb is coming this November and is available for pre-order from the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide at a special limited-time introductory price of $/€129.99* (reg. $/€149.99).

*All pricing excluding taxes.

For more information about FAME Studio Reverb or to see it in action, please visit: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/trfame and https://www.ikmultimedia.com/trfame/video

Best regards,
IK Multimedia. Musicians First.

 


 

About IK Multimedia: IK Multimedia is a leading music technology company that harnesses advanced software and hardware design to make professional quality tools accessible to everyone-from its ground-breaking AmpliTube and T-RackS software and award-winning iLoud reference monitors, to its UNO range of analog synthesizers and drum machines. With millions of installations and registered users worldwide, IK also leads the way for mobile musicians with its acclaimed iRig series of music creation tools for use with iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac/PC. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

FAME Music was established in 1959 in Florence, Ala., and moved to Muscle Shoals, Ala., in 1961, where it became the indisputable heartbeat of the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound. FAME Music entities include FAME Publishing, FAME Recording Studios, House of Fame, LLC FAME Records and Muscle Shoals Music Group. FAME has worked in the studio with some of the greatest artists in music history — including, but not limited to, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Jason Isbell, and Etta James — and has been involved in recording and/or publishing records that have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. Visit FAME at www.famestudios.com.

Episode 5: Candi Staton

Episode 5: Candi Staton

On Episode FIVE of Through These Doors: A FAME Studios Podcast, Rodney Hall is honored to welcome the legendary First Lady of Southern Soul, Candi Staton, for a wildly entertaining talk about her life and hit-making career. From touring the Chitlin’ Circuit as a child to topping the charts and being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Watch Episode Five

 

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Aretha Franklin

“Aretha Franklin was one of the most phenomenal recording artists I have ever met, and in a short twenty-four hour period in my FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, she was to change my musical life forever.” — Rick Hall

 
It’s hard to fathom today, but there was a time when Aretha Franklin couldn’t buy a hit record. In 1966, after recording nine albums of feckless, light jazz, pop standards without a hit, she was released from her contract with Columbia Records and, at the age of 25, was at a crossroads in her career. That would all change in one electrically-charged, tension-filled, magical recording session on January 24, 1967.

Although she had yet to make her mark on popular music, Atlantic Records co-founder Jerry Wexler knew she had a voice and a once-in-a-lifetime talent that could transcend the musical boundaries that had been placed on her. She just needed the right songs and the right sound. She would find those songs and that sound in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Wexler had signed Franklin in November of 1966 and wanted to pair Aretha with the funky sound that was coming out of FAME Recording Studios, the sound and feel that was producing hit records for Jimmy Hughes and Wilson Pickett. On a mild January day in 1967, Wexler would get the sound he was looking for…and more.

As told by FAME founder Rick Hall in his memoir The Man From Muscle Shoals, “At around ten o’clock that morning, Aretha walked into the studio, then casually walked over to the baby-grand piano that sat in a corner of the studio in front of the large control room glass window, and sat down to do what she came to FAME to do – to cut a hit record and create her career on Atlantic.”

The session included a lineup of some of the best musicians Muscle Shoals had to offer: Roger Hawkins on drums, Tommy Cogbill on bass, Jimmy Johnson on rhythm guitar, Chips Moman on lead guitar, Charlie Chalmers and Ed Logan on saxophones, Ken Laxton on trumpet, David Hood on trombone, Spooner Oldham on electric piano, with Rick Hall engineering.

The first track they set out to record was “I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You),” a waltzy ballad that, according to Hall, needed a little something special to take off. That something special was provided by the great Spooner Oldham. As Hall recalled in TMFMS:

“We were looking for that special groove or hook that would set the record apart from the ordinary and it wasn’t long before Spooner Oldham filled that need. He started playing a funky, soulful blues riff on the Wurlitzer electric piano that set the mood for “I Never Loved A Man” – and became a signature piano blues riff forever

Like a Stradivarius violin, Wurlitzer pianos only mellow with age, and I still have two of them in my FAME Studios today, the one used on Aretha’s session and another one.

As soon as he hit it, everything about that track started coming together. The combination of Aretha playing her gospel-sounding acoustic piano fill lines and Spooner’s bluesy riff on the Wurlitzer glued the whole rhythm track together and set the tone for Aretha to belt out, “You’re a no good heartbreaker, you’re a liar, and you’re a cheat ….”

By the end of the day, Franklin would have the A and B sides of a number one record: “I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You)/ Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”.

Over 54 years on, the story of the tumultuous session that birthed those hits has morphed, distorted, and expanded into legend. To hear Rick Hall tell it, check out his aforementioned memoir, or see it depicted on the big screen in the upcoming biopic RESPECT, coming to theaters on August 13, 2021.

Although Aretha Franklin would never record in FAME Studios again after that historic session, we feel honored that our stories are forever intertwined. Aretha, of course, would go on to become one of the greatest singers who ever recorded and FAME continues to make hit records to this day. However, neither would be the same after that magical day in January.

Thank you, Aretha. For the music, for the soul, and for the memories. Thank you.

Join Us For a Once-In-A-Lifetime Evening of Dinner, Dancing, and an Exclusive Screening of RESPECT starring Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin

Join Us For a Once-In-A-Lifetime Evening of Dinner, Dancing, and an
Exclusive Screening of RESPECT starring
Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin

Get Your Tickets While They Last at: bit.ly/fame_respect

 

Be one of the first people in the world to see Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson bring Aretha Franklin to the big screen — then celebrate the Queen of Soul with an unforgettable evening of dinner and dancing benefiting the Muscle Shoals Music Association — preceded by an exclusive Pre-screening Q&A with Aretha session musicians and music legends: Spooner Oldham and David Hood.

Miss Franklin’s first smash hits were recorded at Muscle Shoals’s own Fame Recording Studios with producer Rick Hall and legendary Muscle Shoals musicians Spooner Oldham, David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, and Roger Hawkins.

Enjoy a spectacular evening of entertainment and fundraising with the Muscle Shoals Music Association! Included with your VIP ticket is a complimentary screening of the upcoming motion picture RESPECT, starring Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson as the legendary Aretha Franklin. This incredible story was written by Callie Khouri and Tracey Scott Wilson, with screenplay by Tracey Scott Wilson and directed by Leisl Tommy.

Complimentary VIP screening, Q&A, Dinner, and Singing River Dance Party donation: $150
$40 donation to MSMA receives a complimentary general admission ticket to screening.

Tickets can be purchased here: bit.ly/fame_respect

This exclusive package includes:

  • Pre-screening Q&A with Spooner Oldham and David Hood who played on the Aretha sessions at Fame Recording Studios and are portrayed in the film.
  • Music Shoals after-party including dinner and dance party with world-renowned DJ Russ “BoomBox” Randolph spinning Muscle Shoals classics from yesterday and today.

After Party starts at 9 pm at the Singing River Room & Terrace | Marriott Shoals Hotel Conference Center | 10 Hightower Place, Florence, AL 35630. Tickets are open to the public.
100% of your purchase is a tax deductible donation to Muscle Shoals Music Association (MSMA).

*Recording devices (including phones that have recording capability) are not allowed in the theatre during the screening. By attending, you agree not to bring any such device into the theatre, consent to a physical search of your belongings and person, and consent to monitoring during the screening. Any attempted use of a recording device will result in your immediate removal from the theatre and forfeiture of the device, and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. Thank you for your cooperation. The health and safety of our guests and staff is our top priority. We ask that all event attendees wear a mask while indoors to help protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Muscle Shoals Music Association Mission Statement:

Founded in 1975, The Muscle Shoals Music Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission of “preserving and promoting the legacy and future of Muscle Shoals Music, while creating educational and employment opportunities for a new generation of music makers.”
The MSMA’s purpose is built on the pillars of education, employment and awareness. The MSMA develops programs to educate through local, regional and world-wide educational systems and organizations. Go to www.muscleshoalsmusicassociation.com for more information.