Office of University Communications & Marketing

No. 1 Hit Musicians Stopping By To Play UNA Signature Benedetto Guitars
Nov. 6, 2009



FLORENCE, Ala. – Shoals musicians just can’t keep their hands off the new custom University of North Alabama signature guitars, handcrafted by Benedetto.

All this past week, the new UNA guitars have attracted to campus a long list of musicians, who have produced, written for and recorded with some of the biggest names in music.

The guitars are up for auction at www.una.edu/guitars. The auction will go through midnight Nov. 11, with the winner being announced at a special benefit concert with Mac McAnally Nov. 12. The proceeds will benefit UNA’s Commercial Music Endowed Scholarship.

The auction winners will also be presented with a certificate signed and dated by each of the artists who has played the guitars. Artists include:

Duane Allen – A 23-year veteran of the music industry, Allen has worked as a live sound engineer, audio designer, studio engineer and is also a multi-instrument musician and vocalist. Allen is a team member of Pindrop Entertainment, a music studio based in Harvest, Ala.

Robert Benedetto – Benedetto is recognized widely as today’s foremost maker of archtop guitars. Over his four-decade career, he has personally handcrafted nearly 800 instruments, including 500 archtops.

David Hood – Hood was part of FAME Studios’ most famous rhythm section, recording with artists such as Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Aretha Franklin and others. Later, as one of the owners of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, he recorded with names such as Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Buffett and many others. He has since played on everything from Sawyer Brown to Bob Seger.

Jimmy Johnson – Johnson, whose electric guitar is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has produced for Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Amazing Rhythm Aces and many others. He was part of FAME Studios’ most famous rhythm section in the 1960s and was later part owner of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, recording with Bob Seger, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones and other major hit artists.

Billy Lawson – A singer/songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Lawson has written two No. 1 hits, “Learning As You Go” by Rick Trevino and “I Left Something Turned on at Home” by Trace Adkins. Lawson was also one of the 14 John Rich handpicked songwriters for CMT’s “Gone Country.”

Tim May – A bluegrass artist, May released his first solo album in 2008. A member of the bluegrass act Crucial Smith for 15 years, he now performs “AmeriCeltic” music with his band Plaidgrass. May has toured with such artists as Patty Loveless and John Cowan and was the solo guitarist on Charlie Daniels’ Grammy-nominated “I’ll Fly Away.”

Earl “Peanut” Montgomery – Montgomery spent many years as one of Nashville’s top songwriters and musicians, having written for artists such as George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and many others. His songs include No. 1 hits such as “We’re Gonna Hold On,” sung by Jones and Wynette, and “What’s Your Mama’s Name Child,” sung by Tanya Tucker.

Scooter Muse – Muse is an award-winning bluegrass and Celtic musician from Florence. He is leader and founder of The Full Moon Ensemble, a Celtic band that tours the U.S., Canada and Scotland.

Howard Paul – Paul is president of Benedetto Guitars. As a musician, he has led his own trio and quartet since 1992 and has been a recurring performer in the annual jazz and music festivals of Savannah, Ga. Paul also hosts the house band at The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head.

Jerry Phillips – Son of legendary Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, Jerry Phillips is a record producer, songwriter and musician. He is executive producer of the singer/songwriter showcase “Muscle Shoals to Music Row Live.”

Jenny Ray – Ray is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Muscle Shoals. She recently released the album “You Can’t Make Me Care,” produced by Shoals-based Noiseblock Studios.

Jim Seales – Seales is lead guitarist for the country group Shenandoah, known for No. 1 hits such as “Two Dozen Roses” and “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too),” as well as three gold albums.

Chris Tompkins – Tompkins is a Nashville-based songwriter and Muscle Shoals native. He recently had a No. 1 hit, “Before He Cheats,” sung by Carrie Underwood. Another of his songs, “Change,” is sung by Underwood on her new album, “Play On,” released this week.

Legendary guitarist Travis Wammack and award-winning songwriter Mark Narmore are among more artists who plan to play the UNA signature guitars before the auction ends next week. The guitars are on display in Rogers Hall on the UNA campus.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE: For photos, contact the Office of University Communications at 256-765-4225 or jlwoods1@una.edu.