Film | Muscle Shoals (2013)

Muscle Shoals is a quiet sleepy town along the Tennessee River in Alabama, USA that has had a dramatic and essential impact on the way music has been shaped over the years.

The documentary, titled after the name of the town, is a homage to the greatness behind some of the most popular songs to have been ever recorded.  

Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier brings together the who’s who of the music industry to retell the story behind the evolution of what was to become the “Muscle Shoals sound” and in doing so presents us with in-depth knowledge about not only the musicians and the producers who made music here, but also most importantly the story behind the region which has been an integral part in the development of this particular style of sound.

Muscle Shoals is about the mysticism that is at times attached with music; it is about the unknown magnetism that has brought musical talents such as The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, and Candie Staton to a small “unknown” town to make music; it is also about the mystery, if you may call it that, behind the energy that has made many a songs, produced here, hits, still engraved in the minds of music lovers to this day.

The documentary stands out because in between all the music talk and interviews with musical legends like Wilson Pickett, Bono, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the likes, it categorically explores the various events that were equally responsible for shaping of the Muscle Shoals sound; from Rick Hall forming the now legendary FAME Studios with The Swampers providing the music, to the eventual breakdown that led to The Swampers forming a studio nearby called The Muscle Shoals Sound.

Furthermore, the documentary doesn’t hide away from diving into the personal lives of these very men that were the backbone of the studios. In addition it also applauds the efforts of the same men who broke new ground by not differentiating between Black and White musicians at a time of critical racial tension in the country.

Muscle Shoals is about the love of music and that even though egos, business, and making money were influential decision factors, in the end it was always music that prevailed and brought together singers, musicians, and producers together to formulate something magical.    

If even an ounce of music flows in your veins, then Muscle Shoals makes for a must see documentary.

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