The roots of American music run deep in Alabama, where blues, rock, country and jazz all trace their origins. Today, the scene is vibrant as ever, producing superstar performers and an authentic vibe that music lovers travel the globe to experience.
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Mobile native Will Kimbrough (1964-) is a founding member of the popular 1980s band Will and the Bushmen and, more recently, the Bis-quits and DADDY. The singer-songwriter and producer’s interest in everything from folk and blues to punk rock and jazz is reflected in his own music and in collaborations with Todd Snider, Jimmy Buffett and a host of others. His latest solo album, “Wings,” reflects his instrumental agility, with cello, saxophone, trumpet, banjo and Hammond organ spicing up a classic folk-rock sound. Kimbrough was recognized as the 2004 Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association.
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One of the biggest soul stars of the 1960s, Wilson Pickett (1941–2006) was born in Prattville as one of 11 children. He grew up working the cotton fields on the family sharecropper farm and became fascinated by the “moan,” a vocal tradition in African American culture that was sung while working the fields. After becoming a solo artist, it was Pickett’s hit “In the Midnight Hour” that established him as a star. Known for his raw, raspy, passionate vocal delivery, Pickett recorded more than 50 songs that made the Rhythm and Blues charts. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Pickett recorded many of his hits such as “Land of a Thousand Dances,” “Mustang Sally” and a distinctive soul cover of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” at FAME Studios in Muscles Shoals.