Muscle Shoals musicians will be featured tonight in an event that has become a much-anticipated prelude to the annual Sundance Film Festival.
The BMI Snowball, an invitation- only event in Park City, Utah, will showcase the Shoals' heritage with performances by Percy Sledge, who got his start in the Shoals in the 1960s, the legendary songwriting duo of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and John Paul White, half of the folk/Americana duo the Civil Wars.
On Saturday, the documentary "Muscle Shoals" will be shown at the film festival.
BMI Snowball is an annual musical event affiliated with the Sundance Film Festival. The festival has events in the Utah cities of Park City, Ogden and Salt Lake City. BMI, Broadcast Music Inc., collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to members whose works have been performed.
"Muscle Shoals" was produced by Stephen Badger and directed by Greg "Freddy" Camalier. The documentary examines the early history of the Muscle Shoals sound and its influence on the music world.
It's filled with interviews with local music pioneers such as FAME Recording Studios founder Rick Hall, three of the remaining members of The Swampers, and artists such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Aretha Franklin, Gregg Allman, Etta James and U2's Bono — all of whom recorded songs in the Shoals.
Rodney Hall, president of FAME Music Publishing, said the Snowball concert will be an intimate show for about 200 people.
Hall and his father Rick are in Utah to attend the premier.
"It will be Muscle Shoals night," Hall said.
A native of Leighton, Sledge is known for the hits "When a Man Loves a Woman," "Warm and Tender Love" and "It Tears Me Up."
Penn, who resides in Nashville, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Oldham, wrote "I'm Your Puppet," a hit for James and Bobby Purify, and "Sweet Inspiration."
Oldham still resides in the Center Star area. White is a Florence resident currently on hiatus from the Grammy winning Civil Wars, which also won the "Duo/Group of the Year" award from the Americana Music Association.
Blanchard is known for his work as a jazz trumpeter with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. In the fall of 2000, the Grammy Award winner was named the artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California.