Music News

Chris Pierce, on recording at Muscle Shoals

Long live soul music!

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Singer Chris Pierce traveled to Muscle Shoals to record You’ve Got To Feel It!, an album of classic soul songs, accompanied by many of the original artists. He found it a life-affirming experience, and shared his thoughts—along with some exclusive photos taken at the sessions—with Elmore.

The moment that I drove over Alabama’s O’Neal Bridge connecting Florence with Sheffield, I could feel a personal deep spiritual connection to Muscle Shoals beyond anything that I ever could have imagined. Growing up, Muscle Shoals music was served daily at the breakfast table in my house and often played all day and night, with my parents excitedly flipping vinyl and lifting the stylus to “play that one again.” I started listening to those albums over and over again, practicing on the tunes until I felt that I could simply feel them. Those albums demonstrate heart and emotion in its purest form and that’s what I was after. I still am.

The journey to Muscle Shoals was, for me, a dream realized. Sitting at the studio lunch table with The Swampers, Muscle Shoals Horns and Shoals Sisters, and hearing stories about their experiences recording legendary albums was surreal. That music helped define my musical vocabulary and has fueled my inspiration throughout my journey as a musician. The fine folks involved in the recording opened their hearts to me and to what I had to offer to the songs. For that, I’m eternally grateful. “Spiritual fellowship” may best describe the moments of sharing that happened in and out of the studio, an infectious soulfulness we all felt.

You’ve Got To Feel It! is a labor of love, made with the living legends that not only helped define my musical vocabulary, but also had a huge part in defining what human beings know as soul music.

The sessions were a time of pure fellowship in soul music’s history-filled “promised land.” The first single “Don’t Fight It” was written by Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper in 1965 at the historic Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. would later be assassinated in April, 1968.

The spirit in soul and rhythm & blues music was then—and is now—a way to get relief from the pivotal, troubling, violent times that we find ourselves surrounded by. This album comes at a time in our history when it may help to be reminded of the importance of letting go of inhibitions, if only for a few moments, and celebrating the soulful moments of life with pure, unique, authentic emotion, no matter what is going on.

David Resnik was the album’s producer, but many moons ago, in my first year of college, David hired me to sing with a band called Sonia Dada, for my first major tour. My first live show with the band was in the state of Alabama. David would later become a big brother, confidant and musical mentor figure in my life, and it was true honor and blessing, to continue full circle with an album recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Having the high honor of reimagining the songs on this album with the living legends involved is an experience that I’ll never forget on this continued path of life’s great, soulful journey.

—Chris Pierce

You’ve Got To Feel It was recorded at The NuttHouse Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and mastered by Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering in Los Angeles, CA. Producer David Resnik and co/producer Steve Bassett organized and orchestrated the sessions and the journey down to Muscle Shoals. The sessions included original members of the legendary rhythm section The Swampers, The Muscle Shoals Horns and The Shoals Sisters including Donna Jean Godchaux, from The Grateful Dead, on background vocals.

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