THE PARTY: New York premiere and after party for the critically-acclaimed documentary Muscle Shoals
THE DEETS: What's so special about Muscle Shoals? The southern city takes up a mere 12-square-miles and has a population smaller than 14,000 making it virtually nonexistent on any radar. But for those familiar with its Singing River and storied past, it's a magical place where music is embedded in the mud.
On Thursday, September 19, Boardwalk Empirecastmates Michael Shannon and Paul Sparks; jewel pushers Danielle and Jodie Snyder; and fashion designer Nanette Lepore filed into SoHo's Landmark Sunshine Cinema for the NYC premiere of Greg Camalie and Stephen Badger's booming documentary. The film paints a portrait of Rick Hall, the prolific producer who overcame poverty and harrowing circumstances to put FAME Records and the defiant Muscle Shoals sound on the map.
Out of that small town came “When A Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, and “Tell Mama” from Etta James in the 1960s. Thereafter, Muscle Shoals and “The Swampers” carved out a bigger place in musical history by giving Mick Jagger, Greg Allman, and Keith Richards a little grease, a whole lot of funk, and a grain of grit... and that's only the beginning.
The electric screening—which doubled as a sing-a-long for a nostalgic packed house—emptied out into The General, one of GLAM's hottest Manhattan haunts. Swampers Spooner Oldham, Jimmy Johnson, and David Hood backed up Sledge and Candi Stanton on stage while bourbon flowed from the bar and heavy bass resounded throughout the night; it made the whole “small town, big sound” majesty that much more real.
Muscle Shoals lands in select theaters today. For a sample of what awaits when the theater lights dim, watch a trailer of the body-rocking, toe-tapping feature below: