book on who’s who from the Muscle Shoals
Music Scene might not list Randy Bruce, but
his legacy goes far beyond gold records on
the wall. As a musician, recording engineer,
and graphic arts teacher at Florence,
Alabama High School, Randy is empowering a
future generation with his wisdom, knowledge
and passion for what he teaches, spawned by
the glory days of The Shoals.
classroom is unique in that it contains a
recording studio where students have the
opportunity to learn their craft, hands on.
Every now and then he calls on long time
musician buddies like Larry Byrom from
Steppenwolf to pay the class a visit.
Coupled with graphic design skills, students
leave Randy’s class armed with a complete
package of practical tools to pave the way
for their future.
father was a guitarist who once played a gig
with Elvis in Sheffield, Al. His stepfather
was a country musician, so it was no
surprise that Randy was a drummer and
songwriter by time he was eleven. Early
influences include George Jones, the Gatlin
Brothers, and Waylon Jennings. By age 17,
the young artist had taken up guitar and
singing, and he was completely blown away
when he got to open one night for Waylon.
teenager, Randy and a buddy would
often drive up to The Vapors, a fancy club
in Memphis, where King Louis, his friend’s
uncle, performed. At show’s end, the two
boys were introduced as his nephews and
would get to sing. One weekend they arrived
to find that King Louis wasn’t playing
because Elvis had booked the room the night
before. Somebody had burned a hole in the
piano, Louis was hot, and he called
Graceland to complain. He was told to come
over. Talk about the right time and right
place! Randy and his friend got to
tag along. The piano situation was resolved,
the pressure was off, and Elvis asked Louis
to play a gospel tune on piano. Elvis
remembered the elder Bruce, and once again
Randy was in disbelief when he got to sing
harmony with the real king.
the years, Randy worked on demo sessions and
had the opportunity to play with a number of
greats including George Jones, Percy Sledge,
and Tracy Lawrence. He also opened for acts
like Johnny Rodriguez, John Anderson, Mel
McDaniel, The Temptations, Tom T. Hall, Dr.
Hook, Sawyer Brown, and John Berry.
he was married and had a family, Randy
occasionally played a session, but his
greatest priority was spending time with his
boys. Music took a back seat until his kids
were pretty well grown.
credits Nashville songwriter Billy Lawson
for introducing him to ProTools, a
computerized recording software that helped
him get excited about recording again. Most
recently, Randy passed on the ProTools
knowledge to legendary Muscle Shoals
engineer, Gregg Hamm, and they are currently
working together on a project with Christian
Turner, a soulful new artist who has the
Muscle Shoals Music Scene all abuzz.