Juke Joints, Hangouts and Honkytonks, you’ve heard the legends of the Deep South, now hop on board and share the passions of its natives. Quirky venues... well there’s one in every town!
Did I hear someone say Mardi Gras? Well New Orleans may be the most famous, but Alabama started the ball rolling in Mobile back in 1703. In fact Alabama’s passion for enjoying life has rolled through the times, snowballing a whole host of famous and not so famous names that have influenced the music we listen to today. Did you know Natural Blues, the smash hit Moby tune is sampled on a Vera Hall classic?
Music has spanned time and reached across the state. Take Tuskegee, which has enjoyed a rich music heritage since the 1930’s, when its Golden Voice Choir appeared at the opening of the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Flip to more recent times, and Tuskegee gives the world a multi award-winner in Lionel Richie. Born here, raised here and later forming the Commodores here.
Montgomery has its own history. Perhaps best loved as being the 1919 birthplace of Nat King Cole, who’s renowned for his devotion to music resulting in music sales of over 50 million records, but he’s not the cities only inspirational figure. Clarence Carter, a blind guitarist, taught himself to play by listening to the blues and went on to spellbind audiences wherever he played. And did you know Montgomery native Willie Mae “Big Mamma” Thornton was the first to record ‘Hound Dog’ – later to be made legendary by Elvis Presley?
The largest city in the state is home of the 100 year old Birmingham Music Club, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and Ona’s Music Room, which is listed in the top ten jazz clubs in the USA.
Birmingham simply hums with jazz, gospel and soul sounds. Does it sound a little far-fetched to be a grave digger by day and a musician by night? Not in Alabama. Gip’s Place, located at
the back of grave digger Henry Gipson’s home, has hosted some of the world’s most influential musicians over the past 50 years.
Muscle Shoals in the Northwest corner of the state has hosted top artists since the 1960’s including Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones. If you fancy some fun, head to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and test your vocal skills at its small recording studio. Then see how the experts did it! Visit one of the areas many recording studios where the likes of Sam Philips started as a radio DJ and producer, and was later to be credited with discovering both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, earning him the title “Founding Father of Rock and Roll”.
Blues, Boogie-Woogie, Country, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Big Band, Jazz and Soul – it’s a mixed jumble of sounds, spanning across the era’s, but there’s something for every taste and all packaged in
genuine southern hospitality. You’re always welcome in Alabama – anywhere and anytime.
When you visit you won’t want to miss:
- Peerless Saloon, Aniston – the ‘Oldest Little Rockin’ Saloon’ is on the US Register of Historic Places. Built in 1899 as a brothel, its clientele has changed but its lively spirit has not.
- The Bottletree, Birmingham – greeted by bottle trees on the porch and live music, this electric arts haven also serves as the location of a US television music programme.
- Rattlesnake Saloon, Colbert County – built in the shadows of a cave close to Seven Springs Lodge. Bands flock to play its eerie setting.
- The Smokehouse Billiards & Grill, Florence – an 1890 pool hall, still boasting six original tables. Visitors can have their shoes shined whilst eating a burger and listening to the nightly bands.
- Fred’s Pickin’ Parlor, Loachapoka – from humble beginnings as an old feed & seed store to a thumping hub for music jam sessions.
- Flora-Bama, Orange Beach – a cultural landmark on the beach, claimed as being America’s “Last Great Roadhouse”, named for its legendary location on the Florida Alabama state border.