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Randy Bruce

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A 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.

 His 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.

Randy’s 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.

As a 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.

Over 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.

After 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.

He 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.