Huntsville, AL has a vibrant live music scene and a growing reputation as one of the South’s top music cities. WLRH had long been a champion of local arts, promoting local classical and jazz artists for years on its signature daily music program, Morning Blend. In 2010 the musical focus expanded with the addition of The Invisible City, a 2-hour alternative music show that featured interviews and live performances from local singer-songwriters and bands.
In 2013, the station blended these two seemingly disparate points of Huntsville’s musical spectrum into a compilation CD featuring work from local artists. The resulting CD – Alabama Mixdown – featured 16 tracks covering a wide range of genres from gospel to blues to metal to jazz. The CD was an underground hit and became a favorite giveaway for listeners to pick up for FREE at station events. Due to the success of Alabama Mixdown, a 2nd compilation was soon in the works under a new, more appropriately nerdy name for “The Rocket City” – Local Aliens. To date WLRH has released four Local Aliens compilations and the fifth is in production.
Local Aliens 4, released in 2019, was the first of the series to be produced in conjunction with WLRH’s all-local music show – Valley Sounds. The goal of Valley Sounds is to shine a spotlight on the Huntsville music scene as a whole, so we knew the best way to accomplish this was through a collaborative effort with the local music community.
To create Valley Sounds, we built off existing relationships from Local Aliens to pool a team of local music industry professionals and podcasters. These volunteer producers bring their own unique perspectives, musical tastes, and voices to the project. They create the segments and WLRH producer Nate Emery hosts, edits and manages the show. Local musicians are actively encouraged to submit their recordings to the show online or at one of our in-person meet and greets. The meet and greets (until the pandemic put a stop to them) were the heart and soul of the show.
Valley Sounds is distributed weekly as a podcast and a broadcast. Each hour-long episode plays plenty of local music and features interviews and artist spotlights to provide insight on Huntsville’s unique local music culture and the creative process of making and performing music in the Tennessee Valley.