Episode 147: Tawny Ellis
Air date: 11.4.2015
Tawny Ellis was on tour in 2014 when she and and her band passed through Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Unlike other small southern towns, Muscle Shoals is well known due to its rich musical history that is anchored by legendary recording studios. Both FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio - as well as the group of local musicians that became the back up band for the equally legendary artists that recorded there - call the sleepy, backwoods southern town home. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Paul Simon, Bob Seger and Rod Stewart are just some of the names from the list of musicians who have made the trek to Muscle Shoals to make music. Knowing this history, Ellis had some time in her schedule for a stop and decided to take a tour of FAME Studios. The building at FAME isn’t very large and at the end of the short tour Ellis asked if she could meet FAME owner and co-founder Rick Hall, who she had caught a glimpse of as they walked around the facility. Hall agreed to meet them, and after a short chat he asked simply, “Are you going to record here?” What started out as an afternoon diversion set Ellis on a challenge to finish the tour, write some new songs and return to FAME to record them ten days later. The result is Ghosts of the Low Country, a new four-song EP that captures Ellis doing what she does best - singing Americana-esque songs with her sultry Emmylou-meets-Patsy Cline voice and playing ethereal lap steel, accompanied by her musical partner, Gio Loria.