Zac and Angela Hacker grew up around music, hearing their father perform and -- occasionally -- strapping on a guitar and picking out a tune themselves.
It was hard to ignore the allure of music -- geography alone was on their sides as the brother and sister made names for themselves in the Muscle Shoals music scene.
"We've both heard stories about how things used to be," Angela Hacker said. "We've seen the pictures of the artists who've walked through the doors of local recording studios, so to say we're supported by them now is a big honor."
The Hackers were in town Saturday night performing at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame for their legion of local fans as part of filming for the show "Nashville Star," which is in its fifth season.
Zac and Angela are among the final four singers on the hit reality-TV series, modeled after "American Idol."
The two were selected to appear on the taped versions of the show out of 20,000 entries.
"I had sisters harping on me to do it, so, this year, I finally did," Angela Hacker said of her audition in Atlanta.
Zac Hacker said he had no idea Angela was auditioning. He and some friends went to Nashville for their big break.
"It was a coincidence," he said. "It wasn't something I'd been planning on doing, but I was in the right place at the right time."
Both happened to make the cut and have spent the last several weeks performing in front of a live audience as well as three judges: Randy Owen, lead singer for the group Alabama, Blake Shelton, a country singer, and record executive Anastasia Brown.
Going into the final episodes, both say they feel confident about their future in the music business, regardless of who wins "Nashville Star."
"TV is TV, but music is music," Angela Hacker said. "It can be powerful, or it can be bad, but, either way, I think we'll come away from this experience with a record deal."
Throughout the series, judges have praised as well as badgered the Hackers, lauding them for their soulful, powerhouse performances or scolding them for obscure song choices.
The five-song set they performed Saturday night revealed their differences in styles and talents to an audience already familiar with the latest home-town heroes.
Angela Hacker's set included a song she co-wrote with James LeBlanc, "So Yesterday," and Zac was accompanied by his big sister on his bluesy acoustic version of "Get Your Love on."
Their distinct styles have led their fans to compare them to some of country music's heaviest hitters -- Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Vince Gill among them.
"Growing up, I listed to Vince Gill, and to hear people compare me to him -- I don't know what to say," Zac Hacker said.
Fans spoke for them Saturday night by hefting signs that read "Nashville Stars are Homegrown in Alabama" and "The Hackers Our Hometown Stars," a show of support Zac and Angela said they were aware of but were overwhelmed by, nonetheless.
"You don't expect to see so many people come out and support you or stand and wait in the cold for hours on end," she said.
Trey Snelling, 14, was among those who staked out his place early in the afternoon, hours before the pair arrived Saturday evening in their white limo.
"I'm gonna marry her," he said, and he had the sign to prove it. "I'll vote for both of them, but Angela is going to win."
Fan support is obvious through a cursory scroll of messages posted to the Hackers on the "Nashville Star" Web site.
Angela's role as a single mom to a son and the personal lyrics of Zac's song "If It Wasn't for the Whisky" have given many fans room to identify with the singers.
Carey and Shawn Fahring were at Saturday's performance and were among the fans who'd waited the longest to get a place in the front row.
Even if the Hackers weren't from the Shoals, the couple said they'd still support them.
"They're just so down home," Carey Fahring said. "They have their roots, and they're just good people."
As part of the event, Zac and Angela were presented with keys to the four largest Shoals cities.
Sheffield Mayor Billy Don Anderson was on hand with the other mayors to make the presentation.
"I've been so proud of the way they've done, but I've been disappointed in three people: the judges," he said. "They've been a little tough.
"Next to David Allan Coe, y'all are my favorites," he said to the Hackers.
They'll take it.
I was there last night and I've got some pictures....I'll try to post them later and give my thoughts.........