Mark Neill was in the middle of recording the album that would win him a Grammy when he started thinking seriously about returning home to south Georgia.
Neill, who was living near San Diego at the time, was in Alabama with The Black Keys working on the hit “Brothers” album at the famous but then-empty Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
“They were really impressed with the slow pace, the cicadas, the rain and all that stuff,” said Neill, a music producer and engineer who grew up in Hahira, just outside of Valdosta.
“I was like, ‘Dude, this is my home, this is what I grew up with.’ They were like, ‘Why aren’t you back here?’” he said.
That was all Neill needed to hear.
“That is an indicator that I need to go back home — right there,” he said he remembered thinking at the time. “Because if you can do it in abandoned building in Muscle Shoals, you can do it in Valdosta.”
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