Over the past two decades Mitch Mann has assimilated the music of his heroes. His songs offer the groove and feel of many styles of music. Being well versed in Blues, Folk, Country, Pop and Rock has allowed him to create a “roots music” totally Americana in flavor. He has tenure in several of the most successful bands in the challenging Muscle Shoals music community, and plays many solo dates.
Since Mann moved to Muscle Shoals in 1993, he has added his succulent guitar and smoky vocals to groups such as LSD-30, Blackwater Toad, The Fiddleworms, Donnie Fritts, Monkee and The Spank Daddys, and The Mojo Mixers. With these groups, he has shared the stage with The Temptations, Government Mule, Eddie Floyd, The Commodores, and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.
In addition to his own songs, Mann’s live performances include many of the songs of the artists who have influenced his music…Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle.
Mark has had a 25 plus year career as a songwriter. With over 80 cuts to his credit, he has had songs recorded by Josh Turner, John Michael Montgomery, Shenandoah, Blackhawk, Terri Clark, Craig Morgan and many others. His song “That’s What I Love About Sunday” was the most performed song in country radio in 2005 according to Billboard magazine, and it spent five weeks at number one. Also, it was the #8 Billboard Country Song of the 2000’s Decade. His first cut was on the Shoals super-group Shenandoah – “Moon Over Georgia,” and it became a top five hit nationally. Mark was also co-writer, along with Walt Aldridge, on the number two country hit by Blackhawk, “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday.” Mark was awarded a Bronze Star for his musical achievements which is on permanent display in the lobby of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. His songs have appeared on seven Gold or Platinum Albums.
Donnie Fritts began his career as a musician at the age of 15 playing drums and keyboard. In 1965, Fritts began writing songs and had songs recorded by Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson and others. As a songwriter, Donnie had several songs appearing on the national charts including songs that were performed by Charlie Rich (You’re Gonna Love Yourself In the Morning-1980), Dolly Parton (We Had It All-1986), Waylon Jennings (We Had It All-1973); and UB40 (Breakfast In Bed-1988);
In 1967, Fritts began playing keyboards for Kris Kristofferson, a relationship that spanned more than 40 years and in locations both nationally and internationally. Donnie appeared in several movies with Kristofferson, including ‘The Last Years of Frank and Jesse James’ (1986-TV), ‘Songwriter’ (1984), ‘Convoy'(1978), and ‘A Star is Born’ (1976); ‘Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid’ (1973) and ‘Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia’ (1974). On February 22, 2008, Kristofferson was on hand in Montgomery to induct Donnie into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. In 1998, Donnie released an album ‘Everybody’s Got A Song’ which includes guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Tony Joe White, Kris Kristofferson and John Prine, as well as many others.
Singer-songwriter Scott Boyer is the founding member of the Capricorn Records group Cowboy that recorded several critically acclaimed albums in the ’70s. After leaving Cowboy, he joined the Locust Fork band and then spent eight years with The Convertibles, a band popular along the Gulf.
As a session musician, Boyer has recorded in studios throughout the South with music legends such as Gregg Allman, Percy Sledge, Billy Joe Shaver, Kitty Wells, Bonnie Bramlett, Johnny Rivers, Arthur Conley and Alex Taylor. His writing credits include songs recorded by Eric Clapton (“Please Be With Me”) , Randy Meisner, Alex Taylor, Bonnie Bramlett, and Gregg Allman (“All My Friends”). He moved to Alabama, to join former Cowboy producer Johnny Sandlin as guitarist-vocalist with the group The Decoys.
Bring your favorite fiddle, banjo, guitar, etc., and join us for an Open Bluegrass Jam.
Bluegrass, as a distinct musical form, developed from elements of old-time music and traditional music of the Appalachian region of the United States. The Appalachian region was where many English and Ulster-Scots immigrants settled, bringing with them the musical traditions of their homelands. The music now known as bluegrass was frequently used to accompany rural dancing styles known as buck-dancing, flatfooting or clogging. From its earliest days, bluegrass has been recorded and performed by professional and amateur musicians alike.
So, bring your favorite instrument, join us, and help us celebrate this Southern and Appalachian tradition! Bluegrass Flyer
A native of Shreveport, LA, James LeBlanc, has earned recognition as a singer-songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. His delivery is what is called “soulful” in Muscle Shoals, with talents so broad, he crosses genres easily.
On top of his singing and writing abilities, James also is an amazing guitar player. He spent much of his youth practicing and playing in local bands throughout the South. He spent years developing his stage chops by playing and singing for up to eight hours a night, six days a week in the Shreveport casinos.
James has had dozens of songs recorded by major label artists, including the title cut to Jason Aldean’s “Relentless;” Gary Allan’s “Learning How To Bend” and “Yesterday’s Rain;” Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Don’t Give Up On Me” and “I Can’t Live Without Your Love;” the top 10 single “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” for Travis Tritt; and cuts by Rascall Flatts, Tal Bachman, Martina McBride, and Angela Hacker.
James’s critically acclaimed Muscle Shoals Records debut CD, “Muscle Shoals City Limits,” was released in 2004. His CD “I’m Here” was released in 2008 on Fame Records.
The Wildwood Ruminators is a group emanating from the fertile musical soil of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama area. Originally a trio comprised of veteran singer/songwriter and independent producer Eddie Martin, Tony Lee (formerly of the celebrated Celtic band, Full Moon Ensemble) and John Jackson (leader of the pop/punk band, Jessica’s Mistake), they have recently expanded by adding the dynamic rhythm section of Malcolm Singleton on drums and bassist Bill Williams.
The self-titled debut album from The Wildwood Ruminators combined each individual member’s various influences into a singular musical vision. The resulting unique brew of all-original music focused solidly on the songs themselves. In addition to Jackson, Lee, and Martin, Chris Fryar (from the highly successful Zac Brown Band) was the only other musician to make an appearance on the project.
The new album, ELEMENTAL, is a true band project with live tracks augmented by minimal overdubs, mostly by a small group of actual friends of the band including award-winning banjo player Scooter Muse, noted jazz cat Ken Watters, Muscle Shoals guitar virtuoso Barry Billings, and Grammy-nominated producer Kelvin Wooten, who adds soulful keyboard touches throughout the album.
Maxwell Russell was born and raised in northwest Alabama. He writes and plays music ranging from Country ballads and Country rockers to Blues and Jazz numbers and old time Rock ‘n’ Roll. His music is influenced by old school Delta music, Slide, Boogie, Shuffles, Swing and old Rock ‘n’ Roll. He plays songs by the likes of Howling Wolf, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins and newer artists like Tony Joe White and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Caught between the old school soul of the Muscle Shoals Sound and the current stream of Americana offerings, Blind the Sky celebrates an alternate sound bubbling up from the Shoals. The band creates a full sound of progressive edgy rock that renders dynamic drums mixed with melodic layering’s of guitar, vocals and bass. While a song sometimes clocks into the double digits, the stretch displays amazing craftsmanship and selective dynamics that make Blind The Sky a band not to miss live.
Dave Kelly has been playing guitar and singing in various bands for most of his life. He is the lead vocalist, guitar/synth player and is a major writing force in the group. From the beginning, Dave was influenced by electronic sounds blended with rock. This led to his discovery of guitar synth which added a new dimension to the band’s sound.
Mike Hollander has played guitar and bass most of his life. As a lover of music, Mike believes there is great music in many genres; you just have to look for it. Mike plays bass/synth, sings backing vocals and adds a Zen-like approach to the music.
Daniel Cole has been playing drums for many years. He has an openness to many genres and has a love for 80’s and 90’s rock as well as progressive music. With this background, he adds a progressive edge to the band’s sound.