Women of Muscle Shoals Music Speakers Panel – Carla Russell, Marie Lewey and Donna Jean Godchaux-McKay

By  | March 12, 2018 | Filed under: News

FLORENCE– Florence/Lauderdale Tourism and the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area will host the “Women of Muscle Shoals Speakers Panel on March 17 at 2 p.m. in the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Visitor Center located in McFarland Park. Carla Russell, Marie Lewey and Donna Jean Godchaux-McKay will be interviewed by Crazy Chester Music owner Andrea Werner to explore the ladies extensive experiences while performing and recording in Muscle Shoals.

Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Director of Operations Alison Stanfield explained, “We are working with the Muscle Shoals National Heritage area on funding to host special programs in the Visitor Center.  The programs will all focus on music, the river or Native American heritage.  March is National Women’s month and we wanted to feature several female singers and songwriters of Muscle Shoals.  The list of women contributors is extensive and we had to narrow it down to just three at this time.  However, this panel will offer a wide variety of fascinating stories and experiences of being involved in the Muscle Shoals Music Industry.”

Carla Russell is a well-known singer in the Muscle Shoals recording industry, and live music scene in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee.  In addition to KOZMIC MAMA, Carla also performs with “The Muscle Shoals All Star Band”, which includes members of the legendary “Swampers Rhythm Section”.  They’ve performed with an array of internationally known artists and at many prestigious events including “The Alabama Music Hall of Fame” induction ceremonies.

Marie Tomlinson Lewey has been a vocalist in the Shoals music community for more than 30 years. After high school graduation, she moved to Muscle Shoals and doors opened for a studio contract as a solo artist. Soon she had regular work as a session vocalist, and chronicled work with artists such as Amy Grant to Hank Williams Jr.  

Singer Donna Jean Godchaux was born in Florence. Godchaux worked as a session singer in Muscle Shoals and recorded with artists such as Boz Scaggs, Cher and Neil Diamond. While in Muscle Shoals, she appeared as a backup singer on two Billboard No. 1 hit songs, “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge in 1966 and “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley in 1969. She later became a member the Grateful Dead, performing as a backup and lead vocalist from 1972 to 1979.

The event will be held in the Gallery of the Visitor Center and seating is limited.  Please call the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism office for additional information at 256-740-4141

Media Release/Alison Stanfield, TMP – Director of Operations
Florence/Lauderdale Tourism

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