FLORENCE – The biennial induction dinner for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame will be held in the Shoals area for the first time on Feb. 28, 2014, board chair Bill Newton announced today. He said six music veterans with strong ties to Alabama will be honored during a black-tie gala at the Florence Conference Center adjacent to the Shoals Marriott Hotel & Spa.
The event had been scheduled for Birmingham, where numerous induction dinners have been held, he said. “We are moving it to the Shoals area in keeping with Gov. Robert Bentley’s directive to strengthen the Hall of Fame.” Previous dinners also have been held in Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile. Newton said the shift to Florence takes advantage of the momentum surrounding the critically acclaimed “Muscle Shoals” documentary about record producer Rick Hall and the thriving music industry that surged in the 1970s. The awards dinner will be held two nights before the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
The Hall of Fame will induct country music legend Hank Locklin of Brewton, singer Candi Staton of Hanceville, record company executive Charlie Monk of Geneva,
singer, songwriter and producer Dan Penn of Vernon, Lauderdale County songwriter and session musician Spooner Oldham, and jazz musician Sun Ra of Birmingham.
Florence’s Grammy-winning John Paul White of the Civil Wars will emcee the event, said Newton, the acting state finance director. Show producer Judy Hood, who was involved in a fundraiser screening of the “Muscle Shoals” documentary earlier this year, will announce ticket information in January. The event will be limited to 750 guests, she said.
The Marriott hotel, which is part of the Retirement Systems of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, will host the inductees and VIPs. The hotel will complete a renovation of guest rooms and public spaces in February, officials said. Newton said the dinners have been a fundraiser for the music attraction since it opened in 1990. The state-owned museum closed about a year ago due to a reduction of funds. It was reopened on Oct. 18 after Gov. Bentley directed the Alabama Tourism Department to prove support. The “Muscle Shoals” documentary began a lengthy run at a local theater the same night.