Mick Hayes Road Trip Part 5: Muscle Shoals

This is the fifth entry of Mick Hayes' road trip that will take him through some of music’s most cherished and respected cities

We left off at Royal Studios in Memphis.

After saying thank you and see you soon to Boo Mitchell, we drove on to Muscle Shoals, Alabama. We drove right through Iuka, Mississippi. And you better believe I cued up “Going Back to Iuka” by Albert King.

We arrived safely in Muscle Shoals at check in time. I settled into my room and we got boots on the ground right away! One thing about traveling at this unique time in history is that places have been closing a little earlier than usual. So, we ventured over to Yumm Thai, Sushi, and Beyond, because my 40-year-old tummy needed a break from fried chicken and BBQ for dinner. After a saké toast John and I were still talking about how exhilarating it was to see Royal Studios in person, all the while comparing notes all through dinner. We made sure not to stay out too late or drink too much. Instead we turned in early and got ready for the next day.

If you’ve been following along on this journey, I mentioned in an earlier entry from Nashville that there was an Easter egg hidden among these along with a statement about the importance of branding of Move The Needle Music which is my new multimedia music company and record label (please forgive the re-plug). When we met with Mark Agnesi in Nashville I gave him a tee shirt along with the LP copy of MY CLAIM TO FAME. Well, I woke up in the morning to find that he wore the tee for an upcoming episode of GibsonTV,and that episode will feature pieces from Joe Bonamassa’s Nerdville East Collection. The two posed for a photo and both shared it on Instagram; I was and still am honored and completely flabbergasted. 

First stop of the day was to Shoals Guitar Boutique. I love visiting Don Parker’s shop every time I’m in the Shoals, he’s always got something in there I’ve only seen in books and not with my own eyes. This time was no different, hanging in the showroom was a 1962 Fender Jaguar in custom Olympic White, 1966 Fender Stratocaster, 1967 Gibson SG Special, and a beautiful 1965 Gibson Country and Western. He’s got a terrific online store like most these days, so please check it out for all your guitar needs.

Afterwards we went over to Champy’s Chicken for some fried chicken and sweet tea, this is another MUST if you are in the area. Why the very first night I was in town I went there on a Saturday to see Funky Donnie Fritts,and it was an intoxicating memory I’ll cherish for life! Lunching with John on this day was no different although we both miss Donnie the same. Terrific food, great blues on the radio, and the southern hospitality are all highly recommended! I’m sure I’ll eat there again before I leave!


Then I rounded out the night down at Flobama! Yes, that’s Flobama. Not the Florabama — Flobama! Short for Florence, Alabama where my friends have a weekly residency there and they kindly asked me to join them. To be honest, it was my first time playing guitar and singing on stage since March 5th. It felt so good to play and see folks I haven’t seen in a year, especially Will McFarlane and Justin Holder who of course both played on MY CLAIM TO FAME. Also in the crowd that night was Rodney Hall, co-owner of FAME Studio and son of Rick Hall. When the night was over, the last note was played and all the gear was loaded out. Rodney and I had 2-3 drinks over at Wildwood on Mobile street to talk about the state of the industry today, as well as the impressive FAME back catalogue. A moment I’ll remember and cherish was when Rodney told me that his Dad would have loved my music. 

And with that touching sentiment, I’ll close. Throughout this trip, I’m learning to be more “VOCAL” with my appreciation toward people. One by one, I’ve told each of them what they mean to me and how much I appreciate their commitment to my music. I needed to work on that and feel that I’ve succeeded this time around.

Mick Hayes Music




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