Muscle Shoals musicians to play Italian festival

 

Florence TimesDaily

From one small town to another, a common musical thread has been established even though they are half a world away.

A 14-piece band of Muscle Shoals music veterans is travelling to the remote town of Porretta, Italy, for three performances at the Porretta Soul Festival, beginning July 17. Among the singers they will back are Denise LaSalle, Jimmy Hall, of Wet Willie, and Vaneese Thomas, daughter of Memphis soul legend Rufus Thomas.

"I've played the festival a couple of times," said Jimmy Johnson, guitarist with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. "It's a really big deal there. It's not a jazz festival, it's a soul festival, which is the kind of music we play."

Among other Muscle Shoals musicians who will make up the band are Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section bassist David Hood, FAME Gang keyboardist Clayton Ivey, percussionist Mickey Buckins, guitarist Will McFarlane and singers Marie Tomlinson Lewey and Cindy Richardson Walker.

The Porretta Soul Festival, founded by Graziano Uliani, is in its 27th year. The town is between Florence and Bologna.

"It is a small town, but they are fanatics about Muscle Shoals music," Buckins said. "It's a big festival and a lot of great artists have been there, including Dan Penn and Eddie Hinton."

The Muscle Shoals band and appearance at the festival were organized by Andreas Werner, a native of Switzerland, who fell in love with Muscle Shoals soul years ago. He recently moved to Nashville to get involved in the U.S. music business.

"I went to the soul festival when I was living over there, and I have been thinking for a while of what I could do that would be a little special for everybody involved," Werner said. "The only thing I didn't want to do is get a small band that could not do justice to the Muscle Shoals sound."

Werner said getting to know the Muscle Shoals musicians was easier than he imagined.

"It was easy to meet these musicians; they are so open and easy," he said.

"I've been invited in the past to play the festival, but it never was the right time," Hood said. "It's a small town, apparently, but the festival is so popular they even named a park after Rufus Thomas."

The rhythm section began rehearsing locally last week, and will rehearse again once the full band is assembled in Italy, Johnson said. The musicians will fly to Italy on Tuesday.

"Right now, I'm thinking about how tired we're going to be. Jet lag affects me going over there," Johnson said. "We must play three hours a day for three straight days. But it ain't like we don't know it. It will be fun."

Information from: TimesDaily, http://www.timesdaily.com/

Read more People Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category