Homegrown musician and songsmith Brittany Howard was back to her roots over the weekend as she was seen around town at some familiar stomping grounds.
The community was buzzing all weekend about Howard, the lead vocalist and guitarist for Alabama Shakes, and actor Terry Crews being spotted in at least three locations — Dub's Burgers, Hometown Grocery and Kreme Delite.
The three localities could be considered some of Athens' most iconic spots.
Crews, a former NFL football player, comedian and actor, is known for his various roles including "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Everybody Hates Chris."
Howard, whose second album "Sound & Color" with the Alabama Shakes debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, is also the lead singer of the rock band Thunderbitch and a singer in the band Bermuda Triangle.
Though News Courier reporters couldn't nail down exactly why the pair, along with a film crew, were in Limestone County, rumor has it they were shooting scenes for an upcoming music video.
“We can't wait to see what you create in our city,” City of Athens Communications Specialist Holly Hollman posted to the city's Facebook page Sunday, along with photos of Howard and crew at Kreme Delite taken by resident Trisha Black.
Black said she saw photos Saturday on social media of Howard and Crews at Dub's Burgers and heard the two would be at Kreme Delite Sunday night.
Black and her family walked to the ice cream shop Sunday evening to see what was going on downtown. She discovered Crews wasn't on the scene with Howard. However, she found it interesting to watch people go to get ice cream only to stumble upon a film crew.
Black said she ran into a Chicago family staying in Athens overnight before traveling further to the beach. The family was looking for some ice cream as an after-dinner treat. Black said the group was thrilled to learn about Howard.
“There were lots of people who stopped and watched,” Black said.
Black said it's fun to see such things happening in Athens. She thinks it's great for people who make it big to still feel a connection and ties to their hometowns.
“I was blew away by the number of people it takes to do a production like that,” Black said. “It was exciting.”
Darell Lee of Hometown Grocery said he was delighted Howard and Crews chose them to be part of the production.
“We wish her the best of success and hope things go great for her,” Lee said.
Dub's Burgers owner Derek Pirtle confirmed the pair were also at his restaurant.
“They were here, and it was a lot of fun,” Pirtle said.
Pirtle said everyone was extremely personable to be such big talents.
Pirtle said they spent some time at the location and seemed to enjoy themselves. He said Howard even talked about eating at Dub's Burgers as a child.
“It was a great time,” Pirtle said.
Laura Tarokh of Village Pizza and Kreme Delite said they fed those involved in the production.
Tarokh said they were all “super nice.” She said the director told her everyone was “gracious and kind” during his stay.
“I think it's cool she wanted to come back to her hometown,” Tarokh said. “She seemed relaxed and like she was enjoying herself.”
For now, it seems everyone is staying tuned to see what Howard had up her sleeves.