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For music lovers, there’s no better time than now to visit “Sweet Home Alabama.” by Bobby L. Hickman Alabama state leaders have designated 2011 the “Year of Alabama Music” to salute the many artists, events and destinations that make the state a unique draw for music lovers from all genres. Communities across Alabama are pulling out all the stops this year to draw musically inclined visitors. So this summer and fall provide the perfect time to hear live music at concert halls, parks and juke joints; visit the birthplaces of legends; explore recording studios and museums; or enjoy music-themed festivals throughout the state. The list of Alabama musical artists covers a wide range of genres over the past century. There’s Hank Williams ( both Sr. and Jr.), Jimmy Buffett, Wilson Pickett, Chuck Leavell of the Allman Brothers Band, Clarence Carter, Emmylou Harris, Lionel Ritchie, “American Idol” contestants Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard -- and of course, country supergroup “Alabama.” Muscle Shoals has the Swampers … When many people think of Alabama music, their first thought is often Muscle Shoals. And why not? For more than 100 years, the Shoals area has played a major role in the development of American music – from

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