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‘Muscle Shoals’ showing at Roxy this weekend

Rick Hall and Clarence Carter in MUSCLE SHOALS, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Rick Hall and Clarence Carter in MUSCLE SHOALS, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The historic Roxy Theatre in downtown Russellville will be celebrating its 65th anniversary this weekend by showing a popular documentary that highlights the rich musical history of this area.

Muscle Shoals, which has been well-received by critics and fans alike, will be shown at the Roxy at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Franklin County Arts and Humanities Council president Susie Malone said they were thrilled to be able to show such a prestigious film at the Roxy in conjunction with the theater’s anniversary.

“This is a wonderful film that music lovers young and old can enjoy,” Malone said.

“It especially hits home for many of our residents here in Franklin County because we are in such close proximity to Muscle Shoals and know all about the ‘Muscle Shoals sound’ and the scores of famous musicians who flocked to our area years ago.

“It is a great honor for us to be able to show this movie, and we hope everyone will come out for this special event.”

The council presented the very first movie to be shown at the Roxy Theatre in nearly 40 years last month during the annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival.

Showing a feature-length movie is major milestone that members of the council have been working toward for many years, and council member Wanda Myrick said the showing of Muscle Shoals is not only a celebration of the Roxy’s 65th anniversary, but a continuation of what they hope will be a monthly tradition of showing movies at the Roxy Theatre.

“Being able to show a movie at the Roxy for the first time in more than 40 years was a very special thing for us and something all of us on the council were excited about,” Myrick said.

“It is great to have movies once again showing at the Roxy. Getting to show the Muscle Shoals documentary is a special thing for us as well, and we think this will be a great night that you won’t want to miss out on.”

Muscle Shoals is a feature-length documentary, directed by Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier, about a place filled with magic and music, legend and folklore, where the river is inhabited by a Native American spirit who has lured some of the greatest Rock and Roll and Soul legends of all time, and drawn from them some of the most uplifting, defiant, and important music ever created. In Muscle Shoals, music runs through the hills, the river, and the spirit of the people. It is a place where, even before the Civil Rights Movement really took shape, the color of your skin didn’t matter inside the studio.

One particular native of Muscle Shoals, Rick Hall, is at the heart of this tale. His Faulknerian life of misery and hard work won victories includes the founding of FAME studios where he created a haven for black and white musicians to come together in service of music. Doing so at the peak of racial hostilities, he shepherded the creation of songs and even genres that have become seminal while also giving birth to the unique “Muscle Shoals sound” and the rhythm section The Swampers.

Jimmy Cliff, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Wilson Pickett, The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, The Staple Singers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Percy Sledge and countless other stars have all been lured to this remote and mystical place in Alabama to work with the musicians and producers there.

The music of Muscle Shoals has sold millions of copies and changed the world: “I’ll Take You There,” “Brown Sugar,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,”  “I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Loved You,” “Mustang Sally,” “Tell Mama,” “Kodachrome,” “Sitting in Limbo,” “Freebird,” and “Mainstreet” are just a few of the tens of thousands of pieces of music created there that also feature in the rich and soulful soundtrack woven throughout the film.

Raw and candid interviews, inspiring music and live performances (that include a new recording by Alicia Keys at FAME studios of a Bob Dylan track originally recorded in Muscle Shoals), convey this tale. Interviewees include Gregg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Jimmy Cliff, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Alicia Keys, Ed King, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, and Steve Winwood among many others.

Tickets for the event are $5 and will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the movie will be shown at 7 p.m. Concessions will also be sold. The movie’s runtime is 111 minutes and is rated PG. For more information, visit www.historicroxytheatre.com.