Chris Reali

No Depression listed Music and Mystique in Muscle Shoals on their list of  2022s most memorable books!


I combine my training as a cultural musicologist with my music industry expertise to study popular music by examining the relationships between local music scenes and the business of music. This line of inquiry broadens popular music studies to include how and why specific locales dominated portions of the musical landscape during certain historical periods. Through my research, I also seek ways to dialogue with scholars and students about issues related to the study of race.

Music and Mystique in Muscle Shoals (University of Illinois Press, 2022) is the first comprehensive examination of this seminal northwest Alabama music scene. The Muscle Shoals region provides a unique entry point to study the intertwining of people, music, race, and the American South. Combining extensive archival research and new interviews this book explains how and why the music recorded in Muscle Shoals became integral to the sound and culture of 1960s, ’70s, and ‘80s America.

My other publications include:

“‘Guided by Commercial Motives’: Selling Songwriting,”Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association 18, no. 1 (2018): 13-35

“The Allman Brothers Band: Conveying the Blues Idea,” Rock Music Studies, 5, no. 2 (2018): 105-123;

“Helping Pave the Road to FAME: Behind the Music in Muscle Shoals,”Southern Cultures 21, no. 3 (2015): 53-74