In 2005, Muscle Shoals Studio (www.muscleshoalssound.org) closed its doors due to a lack of interest in financing the studio and more interest in Muscle Shoals Sound Publishing. Now, studio owner/musician Noel Webster has reopened the facility. “When I realized all the history that had happened there,” he said, “I decided this place had to be preserved. I wanted to share it with the world. The music that was made here has been the music of generations, the theme of people’s lives. Everybody knows the records, but they don’t know the place where it happened.”
Webster has refurbished the studio (repairing water damage, installing new wiring, etc.), and rather than install up-to-date recording equipment, he ordered exact replicas of the vintage gear used during the 1970s — down to the same model numbers. “The way they construct studios now is very different,” he added. “But we did a sound test and recorded some stuff on different formats, and realized we didn’t need to change anything. The sounds that came out of this room can’t be duplicated. The building shakes when you play in it.
“Although I rebuilt it as a place to record my stuff, so many artists wanted to come here that I decided to open it and raise some capital that way, putting my own [music] career on the back-burner.”
This past June, the studio was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the public for tours.