Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues.

One of my favorite things about our town is it's rich musical history. The Shoals area is famous for recording some of the most popular hit songs ever produced. Locally, both FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound have been an integral part of American popular music from the late 1950s to the present, producing records from a multitude of artists, such as The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, and many more. And our own Florence, sister city to Muscle Shoals is commonly known as The Birthplace of the Blues, as it is the home to the Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy. Since the year I was born, in 1982, the annual W. C. Handy Music Festival has been held in the Florence/Muscle Shoals area, featuring a week's worth of live music in the form of blues, jazz, country, gospel, rock & roll, and R & B.  On the opening night of our hometown blues festival, the three of us braved the stifling heat of the humid Friday evening and trekked through downtown, anxious to hear some wonderful local music with friends. We made our way to Wilson Park in the center of downtown, carefully navigating our way through the patchwork melange of colorful blankets spread flat upon the green grass. The park was full of happy faces who, despite the heat, listened intently to the sound of The Midnighters perform a fun variety of dance-a-long music, a la Mustang Sally and Play That Funky Music. Near our spot in the park, energetic kiddies danced the night away, long past their bedtime, while some adults grooved along with the music and others sat in lawn chairs singing along to the tunes.  Will and I joined a few of our friends, and Hudson enjoyed crawling around on the blankets, alternating his time between his old buddy Landon and new friend Madelyn. As usual, the Handy Fest had begun with a bang, and as we trudged home through the stale humid air we were already planning our next Handy Night Out as a family.

{Friday Night Handy Fun}

{Landon is checking out Hudson's fun shoes....}

{....and Hudson is checking out Madelyn! "Ooooh, a little girl!"}

{Apparently, it's really hard to get 3 babies to pose for the camera. Who would've guessed?}

{a great night in the park}

On Wednesday night we met our friends, the Newberns, at the North Wood United Methodist Block Party to hear my Handy Fest favorite, Eric Essix. His instrumental jazz performances are highlighted by his amazing guitar work, and his music is a perfect mix between fun and relaxing. Will and I usually try to hear him when he annually plays at Red Lobster during Handy, which is always filled to the brim with people packed in tightly to hear his sweet sounds while enjoying seafood and, my personal favorite, cheese biscuits! This year we decided to forgo the visit to the local seafood staple, instead opting for the block party, which we knew would probably be a bit more baby friendly for our sweet boy. Hudson definitely enjoyed his freedom in the outdoor early evening sunshine, while the jazzy sounds floated all around.

{Hudson checks out the schedule}

{Eric Essix}

{he's a happy boy when music is playing}

{nothing but blue skies}

{block party fun}

{the guys with their little boys}

{dancin' in the street}

{me & my sweet little angel}

{our 2nd night of Handy Fest fun!}

On the last Friday of the festival, we decided to have a laid back evening to ourselves, surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of the Tennesse River listening to the sounds of true bluesy music playing at lovely McFarland Park. Will and I usually frequent this spot at the end of Handy each year, and this time was enjoyable as always. With the three of us on our bright blanket, having a take-out Southern-style dinner, we relished in the warm night air and beautiful music. It was a perfect way to end a wonderful week. As a small summer storm rolled in over the river, we packed our things and headed home as thunder rumbled overhead.

{"I'm ready for the music!"}

{music by the river}

{having a bite of a biscuit}

{it's a wonderful life}

{picture perfect}

{love my sweet boy}

{watching the boats with DaDa}

{the boats head home as the storm moves in}

1 comment:

carlotta said...

sounds like a wonderful time! i love concerts :) beautiful photos!