From The Desk Of Laura Cantrell: “Muscle Shoals”

LauraCantrellLogoLaura Cantrell was born and raised in Nashville, and even though she was surrounded by country music, she never thought about being a singer or songwriter when she was young. She relocated to New York to attend Columbia University before the performing bug bit her. After graduation, Cantrell worked full-time at a bank, hosted a country radio show on WFMU in Jersey City, put together a band, kept writing songs and started making records. She used traditional country songs as a template for compositions of her own that stretched the boundaries of the music and won her a legion of loyal fans. BBC DJ John Peel called Not The Tremblin’ Kind, her 2000 debut, “my favorite record of the last 10 years, possibly my life.” Cantrell made two more albums in the 2000s, balancing well-chosen covers with her original material, but on her new album, No Way There From Here, she presents 11 originals with only one cover. Cantrell will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new feature on her.


Cantrell: I’ve had the pleasure of spending a little time in Florence and Muscle Shoals, Ala., where so much great music originated over the last 40-50 years, spanning from Percy Sledge to the Alabama Shakes. If you want a survey of the major players in the Muscle Shoals scene, a good starting place is the film Muscle Shoals, which describes how Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett started making music there, eventually drawing artists from all over the world to come record by the shoals of the “singing river.” You won’t believe how many songs you’ve heard thousands of times were all made in this seemingly sleepy place somewhere on the axis between Memphis and Nashville.

Video after the jump.