1/ Muscle Shoals Sound Studio
A $1 million gift from rapper Dr. Dre went a long way to bringing back that old time rock ‘n roll. The money helped restore this classic sound studio in Sheffield where the Rolling Stones belted out “Brown Sugar” and the Staple Singers crooned “I’ll Take You There” for posterity. The work wrapped up January, and today the space is one of the state’s chief attractions. Visitors will find vintage 1960s furnishings during the day, and budding artists can record their works in the evening.
3614 Jackson Highway, Sheffield. 256-978-5151, msmusicfoundation.org.
2/Alabama Shakespeare Festival
Though it has the Bard’s name in the title, this Montgomery facility is also the state theater, so its attractions go well beyond iambic pentameter. It recently hosted an evening with country star Clint Black, and the upcoming schedule includes performances of “Mary Poppins” and an evening with an Elvis tribute band. The theater also offers deals on weekend packages that include two shows.
1 Festival Drive, Montgomery. 334-271-5353, asf.net.
A recently addition to the state’s music venues, this space in Birmingham is in a two-story brick building with an interior reminiscent of the ’60s, with vivid colors, molded tables and chairs and replicas of Saturn rockets. Alabama native and musician Brian Teasley is the energy behind the stage that draws local and national acts such as Jump, Little Children and comedian Myq Kaplan, as well as dance, salsa, brunch and bingo parties.
41st Street S., Birmingham. 205-703-9545, saturnbirmingham.com.