Muscle Shoals, there was a bustle in your hedgerow Tuesday.
Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant was in town, visiting Alabama recording meccas FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound.
In addition to being one of rock’s greatest singers ever and a creatively restless solo artist, Plant’s a super-fan of classic R&B. The Shoals, of course, is where many all-time R&B tracks were created.
On Tuesday, FAME posted images on the studio’s social media, of Plant inside the studio, with the caption, “He is a big Jimmy Hughes, Arthur Alexander, Wilson Pickett and Muscle Shoals fan in general. Very nice gentleman.”
Plant was in town with drummer Jay Bellerose, whose credits include “Raising Sand,” Plant’s 2007 Grammy-winning album with bluegrass star Alison Krause. Bellerose has also appeared on recordings by the likes of Elton John, Bonnie Raitt and Gregg Allman.
Bellerose is friends with Florence based singer/songwriter John Paul White, who hosted Bellerose and Plant and showed them around town. “What a day,” White wrote on social media. Among the images White shared on socials: Plant and Bellerose standing in front of Muscle Shoals Sound’s famous “3614 Jackson Highway” sign that adorns the front of the studio’s building.
The turquoise of Plant’s Zeppelin catalog includes songs like “Kashmir,” “Going to California,” “The Song Remains the Same” and, yes, “Stairway to Heaven.” Signature song cuts include “Big Log,” “In The Mood,” “Little By Little,” “Tall Cool One” and “29 Palms.”
With Zeppelin, Plant performed concerts in Alabama in 1973 (Mobile, Tuscaloosa) and 1977 (Birmingham). Among his solo shows in the state, a memorable 1990 UAB Arena show in Birmingham, with a then-nascent Black Crowes as the opening act.
Tuesday in the Shoals, Plant was clad in a navy-blue T-shirt, jeans and black suede shoes. His famous mane, pulled back into a man-bun. Golden-god-in-winter on a hot Alabama day. At FAME, Plant chatted with Spooner Oldham, the beloved Shoals session keyboardist and Neil Young sideman. He also checked out the green-carpeted upstairs office of late great FAME founder/producer Rick Hall.
In 2021, Plant and Krauss released their second album together, the well-received “Raise the Roof.” The duo’s world tour launches June 1 in Canandaigua, New York and ends Sept. 4 in Austin, Texas. The nearest shows to Alabama include a June 16 Atlanta show and June 17 Bonnaroo festival performance in Manchester, Tenn. More info at robertplant.com/timetable. How about (lemon) squeezing-in Huntsville’s fab new Orion Amphitheater too, Robert?