By Peter Cronin
Kim Tribble’s Popular Music
Growing up in the musical hotbed of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Kim Tribble could listen to any kind of music he wanted. All he had to do was turn on the radio.
“Back then there were no formats in radio, so you would hear ‘(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay’ and then ‘Foxy Lady’ or ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ and then Tom Jones right into the Rolling Stones,” Tribble says. “When people said ‘pop music,’ it meant popular. Those stations were across the board.”
“When I got to be about 9 years old, I decided that music was something I wanted to do,”
he says. “I had one of the first bands in the area. There were only three bands in town, and one of them was the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.”
Just about the time that now-legendary rhythm section started recording huge hits with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Wilson Pickett to Rod Stewart, Tribble left town for Sarasota, Florida. Moving from band to band and making his first stabs at songwriting, he landed in a regional favorite group that regularly opened shows for national acts, making Tribble some good friends and valuable contacts. Eventually the performer whittled things down to a one-man band, drawing big crowds and even bigger paychecks.
“I worked clubs for 15 years and made a great living, kicking bass pedals with one foot and a tamborine with the other, singing and playing harp,” Tribble says. “I was just crazy. After 15 years of that it was either leave town or just dig my grave, because I was pushing the limit.”
Around that time, the singer/songwriter was offered a solo record deal, and he found himself rocking out with that same hit-making rhythm section back in Muscle Shoals. A quick trip to Nashville to record strings for the project gave Tribble his first taste of Music City, and he liked it.
Tribble started playing his songs around town and caught the ear of Tree Publishing executive Bob Montgomery, who signed him to the first of many publishing deals he would have over the years. Tribble was soon collaborating with hit writers and has since written hits for artists as diverse as Gary Allen, Collin Raye, Trick Pony, Shania Twain and multi-platinum rockers Journey. The most recent developments in his long and successful career are a Top-5 single with Montgomery Gentry (“One In Every Crowd”) and his recent affiliation with SESAC.
“SESAC reminds me of when I first came to town,” Tribble says. “When you walked through the door you could see anyone. SESAC has held onto that sense of community. The people here are easygoing and extremely helpful. It’s much more downhome.”