Autumn Sets comes to Good People Brewing Company on Saturday, Nov. 1. A day filled with music, local beer and food will begin at noon. Birmingham’s own Mandi Rae, King Carnivore, Wray and Dead Fingers will be joined by other artists with deep Alabama roots such as Wess Floyd’s new project Radio Champion, his brother Blount’s fast-rising Great Peacock, Troy’s Fire Mountain and Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil from Muscle Shoals. The latter is an act broadly characterized as Americana, but hedging on a much purer country form that features pedal steel and violin; Dailey is much more Sturgill Simpson than Alabama Shakes.
I spoke to Dailey about a Muscle Shoals scene for modern times and how it compares to evolution of Birmingham’s.
Weld: There’s a new scene in Muscle Shoals that was nonexistent a decade ago, and you’re a big part of that. Birmingham is developing its own scene, and you’ll join a lot of those bands on Saturday at Good People. What do you think of Birmingham’s music growth and how does it compare to your own scene?
Doc Dailey: I noticed it going down there, even though I haven’t been traveling as much as I was a few years ago. There used to be maybe one band we’d go check out every now and then, but now there’s something to do several times a week. I keep up with everything through social media. I wish it was a little closer.
I’ve watched people like Lee Bains and Dead Fingers coming about for a while. It’s pretty exciting.
Weld: We’re a couple of years removed from the last record — how far are we away from new music?
DD: Well, I’ve got a whole bunch of songs written; a whole bunch that are finished and a whole bunch that are started. So hopefully, I’m going to start working on demos when I get home.
Maybe I’ll have some new stuff out by the end of the year.
Weld: Will you do vinyl again?
DD: Oh, I will definitely do vinyl again. I get a lot of interest in our first record, Victims, Enemies and Old Friends, and at the time I just never thought I’d get to press new vinyl, so I tried to cram a whole bunch of music on there and made it too long to go on one LP. So I’m having trouble trying to figure out a way that can contain an LP and maybe a 10″ or something – it just seems like a pain, so I don’t know if I’ll ever get it out on vinyl.
Weld: What is the makeup of the band you’re with now? Do you like what you have right now?
DD: Yeah, we’re getting tighter and getting used to each other. The other guys I used to play with all kind of started having babies and kids and they all have day jobs. I actually work for them in my day job. They all kind of decided, “We really can’t travel or anything for a while.” So I just got some people that I knew well, that I knew could handle it. Tom Risher Jr. is on drums now – he’s from the area. I’ve known him since he was a teenager. Josh Lynchard is on bass. He used to be in Nightmare Boyzzz and Satan’s Youth Ministers and a few other bands. That’s it for the new people. I still have Susan Rowe singing with me, Kimi Samson is still playing violin with me, and Daniel Stoddard is a multi-instrumentalist. He’s played pedal steel at times, but right now, he’s playing six-string electric and keyboards.
Weld: What is the most important thing to sustaining the new scene in Florence and how do you think it will evolve over the next 10 years?
DD: Well, I guess it really depends on how soon until all of this Muscle Shoals buzz dies down. It’s just hard to tell [because] when something becomes fashionable, it can also become unfashionable very fast. I’m not worried about it, but I can see it disappearing to the next big, cultural topic. Hopefully, things will continue the way they’re going.
It feels to me like, since UNA is trying to go Division I with their football team – since that stuff was ever seriously mentioned – the city has relaxed a little bit about the alcohol laws and stuff. Maybe downtown can continue to grow and become stable for a long time.
Weld: Do you think that buzz that was generated by the movie caught the attention of people within the community or are they still a little ambivalent toward the whole thing?
DD: I thought everyone would continue to be ambivalent, but I guess when they start seeing their town on the cover of magazines they buy and see other famous people to look up to, they start to see a real thing there. Growing up, it was “blah blah, Muscle Shoals,” you know? It just seemed like people playing in the local bars which were hard for anyone under 25 to access, it was just people rehashing that sound and trying to keep it going. And it kind of died out for a long time.
The city didn’t want to be anything but a retirement community. They were actually saying it – it was the plan: golf courses, nice houses for people to retire from up north into. And that tune has changed to, “Let’s have tourism. Let’s have draft beer.” It turns out that that’s what people really like.
Autumn Sets is an all-day event hosted by Steel City Sounds at Good People Brewing Company on Nov. 1. Music begins at noon and the cover is $10.