Category Archives: People.

Alecia Elliott was country music’s answer to the female teen pop wave of the late 90s. It sucks that you have to begin every story about her with that, but it’s an elephant in the room that absolutely can’t be ignored. Not that she’s ignoring it. She embraces it. That just isn’t the person that Alecia is now.

“I’m Diggin’ It” was the catchy, MCA Nashville country answer to Britney Spears. She had a short-lived teen comedy on NBC. Then, she was gone. She and I talked much more in depth about all of that in my first book, The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME. 

Alecia is the rare soul that is actually from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, not the “idea” of Muscle Shoals. Not the surrounding communities that identify as “Muscle Shoals” because that’s the thing that resonates with people. Alecia went to Muscle Shoals, that is, until Tony Brown of MCA (you know, the guy that signed George Strait, Reba McEntire and half of the 80s and 90s country canon) found her. Continue reading

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September 29, 2020 · 2:10 am

Kevin Nealon discusses Zanie’s show; what he loves about Nashville

Kevin Nealon spends much more time in Nashville than you realize. His wife is from the Music City, and he’s been a regular here for nearly two decades. Currently, Nealon can be seen on the CBS sitcom Man with a Plan alongside Matt LeBlanc, but maybe you remember him from the Showtime series Weeds. Or maybe you remember him from any number of his film appearances, many of which were alongside his friend Adam Sandler, like Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, Blended and Sandy Wexler, to name a few. Continue reading

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Trae Crowder brings his ‘WellRED’ comedy tour back to Stardome on Sunday

Trae Crowder grew up in rural Tennessee, a little town called Celina that’s not near anything, really. It’s situated a few miles south of the Kentucky state line, and it’s about as far northeast of Nashville as it is northwest of Knoxville. Crowder parlayed that life into viral fame as “The Liberal Redneck,” a series of videos on YouTube and Facebook in which he discussed his political views; views that often sounded strange coming from his accent, at least, to people not from around here.

Along with his writing partners and comedy team, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester, he published a book titled Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin Dixie Outta the Dark. The trio has toured non-stop in recent years, and they’ve been featured on The View, Real Time with Bill Maher, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,  and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. They also have a podcast and a live album. They’ve stayed busy. Continue reading

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Same as it Ever Was: A Conversation with David Byrne

Former Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne hasn’t been to the Magic City since 2001. That was an appearance at the now defunct City Stages music festival, and Byrne thinks that visit may have been his only one ever. He returns on October 3 on the heels of his latest solo effort, American Utopia. 

Byrne stays busy. In addition to seven solo studio albums since the Talking Heads disbanded in 1991, he’s had four collaborative records (including the most recent, 2012’s Love This Giant with St. Vincent), he’s written nine books, he’s won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy and he’s an avid cyclist and voracious reader. His band, Talking Heads, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Ahead of his visit, he spoke about where he might take his bicycle in Birmingham, his latest record, what may be his largest stage production to date and about the positives to be found in a world that needs some. Continue reading

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The Forty Year Plan: Buddy Anderson Reflects on the Past But Looks Toward the Future

Buddy Anderson still remembers the night his life’s path became clear to him.

It was Jan. 12, 1968, and he was sitting in his father’s old pickup that he had driven to play in a high school basketball game.

“It wasn’t completely overcast, but there were clouds,” he recalls, as if the date nearly 50 years ago were yesterday. “I had been struggling with something in my life. It was a moonlit night, but you could see clouds rolling above. And at that point, I felt God talking to me in my spirit and in my heart. He wanted me to be a Christian coach.” Continue reading

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The Greatest City in Alabam

Write Me a Birmingham

I’m really happy to share that work on book two begins today. This time, I’m going to share the history of Birmingham music.

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Stories and a Lesson From the Road

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Stories and a Lesson From the Road

When The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME was released on June 29 of this year, I didn’t go on some sort of full blown book tour or anything like that, but I did make a few stops across the state of Alabama. And that’s an interesting thing; chatting with people that you don’t know about this thing that you have created that they connect with.

When I finished writing the book, I never really looked at it again. It was no longer mine. It belonged to the publisher, it belonged to the people that bought it (many of you) and it belonged to the Shoals community; the latter being my top priority in the effort. When I negotiated that deal, I wanted to find a way to bridge a giant divide from the “Muscle Shoals” story that had been told and the one that we are still living out. There was no blueprint for that, and I felt the best way to create one was to simply speak to the people that lived it, people still living it, people that I call friends.

I think I hit the target. I’ve been told, at least, that the work was partially responsible for new life in the Fiddleworms. And nothing could make me happier.

But I digress.

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Tomorrow Will Be Kinder

Tomorrow Will Be Kinder

“Tomorrow will be kinder

It’s true, I’ve seen it before

A brighter day is coming my way

Yes, tomorrow will be kinder.”

Music attorney John Strohm said something on Twitter Saturday, as we all sought answers, as we all grieved the events unfolding in Paris.

“I don’t mean this lightly…but the terrorists messing with a rock show really crosses a psychological line for me. Way too close to home.”

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Dylan LeBlanc brings ‘Cautionary Tale’ to Workplay

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Dylan LeBlanc brings ‘Cautionary Tale’ to Workplay

It feels like Dylan LeBlanc should be older than 25. His debut, Paupers Field, was released when he was just 20-years-old, and the Muscle Shoals singer-songwriter is now readying his third; a much quicker ascent than most of his peers in Northwest Alabama. But he’s always been around it – his dad, James, moved from Shreveport to Muscle Shoals to begin a writing career at FAME when Dylan was young. Because of the move, Dylan has spent most of his life migrating between the two cities.

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Pegasus In-Store with Jay Burgess, Russell Mefford and Hannah Aldridge

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The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME: In-Store performance and signing at Pegasus Records

On Saturday, July 18, I was joined by Jay Burgess of The Pollies, Russell Mefford of Fiddleworms and Hannah Aldridge for a discussion and performance to celebrate the release of “The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME.” Each had a big hand in the book’s story, and each was gracious enough to join me for the chat. Hear the audio from the event below:

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