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The Ten Greatest Southern Rock Cities

by Michael Buffalo Smith


1. Jacksonville, Florida
    The birthplace of Ronnie Van Zant and Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special and Molly Hatchet, among others. In 1960 a band called The Escorts was formed here that would eventually become The Allman Brothers Band.

2. Macon, Georgia
    During the 70’s, Capricorn Records in Macon was the hub of the Southern Rock world. Phil Walden was the crown prince of the movement, which featured The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Wet Willie and many other greats. The old studio is being turned into a museum, and the Big House on Vineville Ave. is the official Allman museum, plus there is the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried in town at Rose Hill.

3. Muscle Shoals, Alabama
   A mecca of great recording during the 60’s and 70s, from FAME Studios to Jackson Highway to Muscle Shoals Sound. It was at Rick Hall’s FAME Studios that Duane Allman first began his rise to popularity. Of couse, Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded their first tracks here. "In Muscle Shoals they've got the Swampers..."

4. Nashville, Tennessee
The home of country music, and the home of Charlie Daniels (well, the Nashville “area,” anyway), Nashville was the birthplace of brothers Gregg and Duane Allman.
5. Austin, Texas
The great music scene of Austin is by no means a secret, from the PBS TV series Austin City Limits, to the legend of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Austin is also the home of The Armadillo World Headquarters, which became the Texas home of Southern Rock during the 70’s. Among the bands to take the stage on multiple occasions were The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop, Grinderswitch, ZZ Top, Goose Creek Symphony, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Black Oak Arkansas, Hydra, and Eric Quincy Tate, just to name a few.

6. Tampa, Florida
In 1972 Hughie Thomasson and company formed the legendary Outlaws in Tampa. These days, Tampa plays host to Charlie Daniels’ annual gathering of Southern Rock and country superstars at the Angelus benefit golf tournament and concert.

7. Spartanburg, SC
The birthplace of The Marshall Tucker Band and all six of it’s original members, as well as the long time home of Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle. Charlie Daniels attended school here, and Wet Willie discovered Marshall Tucker while gigging downtown at The Ruins. Oh, it’s also the birthplace of your’s truly.
8. Athens, Georgia
Besides being the home of rockers like R.E.M. and The B-52’s, Athens gave birth to Southern Rockers The Drive By Truckers and former Capricorn records recording group  Widespread Panic. The college town has always drawn great music to her venues, including the best Southern Rock. Clubs like The Georgia Theatre and The 40 Watt Club have become legendary venues.

9. Wilmington, NC
    The birthplace of Charlie Daniels. Need I say more?

10. Tupelo, Mississippi
     The birthplace of Elvis Presley, “the original Southern Rocker.” Also the birthplace of singer/songwriter/Southern entertainer Paul Thorn.

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