FLORENCE-Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area director Judy Sizemore glanced around the room as legendary music producer Rick Hall chatted with local musician Spooner Oldham and former Grateful Dead singer Donna Jean Godchaux McKay traded notes with gospel singer and retired state senator Bobby Denton while Alabama Music Hall of Fame director Dixie Connell-Griffin talked archiving with a National Trust for Historic Preservation staffer.
“You don’t get these people together in the same room very often,” Sizemore said, smiling.
She had invited the 30 or so folks to lunch at Florence-Lauderdale Tourism and Visitors’ Center in appreciation for their help with the nearly completed Roots of American Music Trail.
Developed by MSNHA and the Historic Trust’s Nashville field office with a national Scenic Byways grant, the trail includes studios and historic sites as well as festivals and performing venues in Colbert and Lauderdale counties that are key to the area’s musical heritage. It features a cell-phone tour – signage will be installed soon, Sizemore said – as well as
a video and a website, http://musictrail.una.edu.
“One of the best parts of the website is the oral histories we’ve posted,” Sizemore said. “These are video interviews with people we’re calling ‘Music Makers’ – the people who made this area the ‘Hit Recording Capital of the World’.”
Other guests included Peanutt and Charlene Montgomery, Will and Janet McFarlane, Kelvin and Tonya Holly, Jimmy Johnson, David Briggs, Dick Cooper and Jimmy Nutt.
At the luncheon, Sizemore thanked those gathered there for their support of the Roots of American Music Trail website and video. Carolyn Brackett, senior field officer with the National Trust, discussed the background of the trail and the economic impact of heritage tourism.
MEDIA RELEASE/Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area/University of North Alabama/CATHY WOOD