singer-songwriter from Arizona who relocated to Sheffield, Alabama, and
became a part of the Muscle Shoals music scene.
1975, she released a solo album, Frustrated
Housewife, which was produced by George Soule, with whom Ava regularly
collaborated. The title tune
was included on the soundtrack of the Peter Fonda film, Fighting Mad. In America’s bicentennial
year, Ava co-penned “Sharing the Night Together” with Eddie Struzick and it was recorded by Arthur Alexander. Ava contributed a pair of songs to Narvel Felts’ 1976 album, Narvel the Marvel:
“Baby Warm”, co-written with George Soule; and,
“Somebody Hold Me”, co-written with Sue Richards. The latter was a top-ten hit.
backing vocals on Mike Finnegan’s eponymous 1976 effort, and did the
same on Billy Swan’s self-titled 1977 LP. In 1978, Dr. Hook covered
“Sharing the Night Together” and took it to #6 on the Billboard
pop chart. Ava spent much of
that year recording tracks with Wilson Pickett which eventually wound up on
the Big Tree album, Funky Situation. She also penned and released the
duet, “I Hate the Way I Love It”, with George Soule. Charly
McClain and Johnny Rodriguez took it to #16 on the Billboard country chart
a year later.
1980, Ava was a member of The Shoals Sisters, which included Marie
Tomlinson Clark and Cindy Richardson, and they backed Patti Austin on
tracks for Body Language. A couple of these, a remake of
Squeeze’s “Another Nail for My Heart”, and “Soar Me
Like an Eagle Flies”, made the cut on The Best of Patti Austin.
In 1981, Ava contributed backing vocals to Billy Burnette’s
Gimme You, Lou Ann Barton’s Old Enough, Levon
Helm’s self-titled album, and Lenny LeBlanc’s Breakthrough. She reunited with Lenny on
1983’s Say a Prayer and Gus
Hardin took her “Loving You Hurts” to #32.
1984, she sang background vocals on Will McFarlane’s A Colony of Heaven, Steve
Bassett’s eponymous album, and Sandra Kaye’s “Hard Drinkin’ Good Timin’
Woman”. She did the same
on Clarence Carter’s Dr. C.C.
and Larry Howard’s Sanctified
Blues, both released in 1986.
In 1987, she contributed vocals to the Twila
Paris album, Same Girl. The
turn of the decade found Ava in writing mode: Her and Cindy Walker’s
“He’s Helping Me Get Over You” was included on Robin
Lee’s Black Velvet;
“Somebody Hold Me (Until She Passes By)”, co-written with Ray
Aldridge and Sue Richards, made the cut on Neil McCoy’s At This Moment; and, she and Lenny
LeBlanc co-penned “Treat Her Right”, which would later become a
hit for Sawyer Brown.
copious free time, she appeared on Hank Williams, Jr.’s
1990 release, Lone Wolf. She also contributed vocals to
1992’s, Have You Met Clarence
Carter… Yet?. In 1993, the Alabama Music Hall of
Fame bestowed upon her their Music Creator’s Award. She also appeared on Jim
Dickinson’s “Jewel of My Heart”, The Best of Steve Forbert: What Kinda
Ronnie Milsap’s True Believer, and The
Best of Crystal Gayle.
1994, she was part of Greg Allman & The Alabama Allstar
Soul Revue and sang backing vocals on Dan Penn’s Do Right Man. She performed similar duties on Keri
Leigh’s Arrival, which
arrive in stores in 1995. In
1996, she appeared on Clarence Carter’s Carter’s Corner and Billy Ray Cyrus’s Trail of Tears. She rejoined Gregg Allman on Searching
for Simplicity, co-produced Bobby Denton’s My God and I, and helped launch DreamStar
Music in 1997. In 1999, she
collaborated with Mary Chapin Carpenter on Party Doll and other Favorites, Clarence Carter’s Bring it to Me, and Lenny
LeBlanc’s Above All.
opened the new millennium at the W.C. Handy Music Festival. In 2001, he sang backing vocals on
Paul Baloche’s Open the Eyes of My Heart, Kate Campbell’s Wandering Strange, and Joe Stampley’s Somewhere
under the Rainbow. She also
made the cut on No Stranger to the
Dark: The Best of Gregg Allman and Steve Forbert’s
More Young, Guitar Days, released
in 2002. In 2003, tracks on
which she had performed appeared on The
Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter and Sandra Kaye’s Can’t Let That Bother Me.
August 2003, Ava succumbed to cancer in her adopted home town of Sheffield,
Alabama. She was buried at
Colbert Memorial Gardens in Muscle Shoals, Colbert County, Alabama. In the later years of her life she
was active conducting a workshop at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and was
busy in her home recording studio.
She was also Secretary of the Board of Directors for Muscle Shoals
Music Association and Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
a beloved and influential songwriter whose songs traversed genres, from
country, to gospel, to pop, to R&B, and was one of the architects of
the famed Muscle Shoals sound.
George Soule and Ava Aldridge recordings
I Hate the Way I Love It (Ava Aldridge)