Tag Archives: Blake Ells

PREMIERE: Frontier Folks Nebraska return with “Blackhorse”

Covington, Kentucky’s Frontier Folk Nebraska are back with “Blackhorse,” a single that will be available as a split with William Matheny on July 11 through Soul Step Records. The band has spent a lot of time on the road with Matheny and developed a kinship; a pandemic felt like a perfect time to release new music while further solidifying that bond. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People.

The Blue

IMG_2754

The Blue

“There really ain’t no difference

in Michigan and Maine

If you ain’t here to see this I’m missing just the same.” – Jason Isbell, ‘The Blue.’

 I realize the absurdity of the notion, but there really ain’t no difference in Boston and Birmingham.

The former is the sixth-largest media market in America, while our Magic City is the 43rd. The former saw the American Revolution play out in its’ streets, while the latter was one of the largest stages of the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960’s. The former is home to the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Celtics, the Bruins. The latter just moved its’ AA baseball team back downtown three years ago.

Boston counts John Adams, Samuel Adams, Aerosmith, Louisa May Alcott and Ben Affleck among its most famous natives, and that’s just among things that begin with the letter “A.” The most notable people from Birmingham are all athletes, but its’ at least an impressive list that includes Willie Mays, Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson and Vonetta Flowers.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under People., Places.

Stories and a Lesson From the Road

jimmiedavis4

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People.

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.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People.

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

IMG_2407

 

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:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People., Places.

#TBT The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME, IV

aleciabirthdaybo

#TBT The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME, IV

“The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME” isn’t the same telling of the FAME story you know. Rather, this story is about the impact Florence Alabama Music Enterprises, the recording studio and publishing company, had on the community that surrounded it and how it changed the next fifty years of music in Muscle Shoals. I couldn’t make all of the photos that I had at my disposal work in the book, and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll try to provide a little more context for this story with some of the photos that I couldn’t use.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People.

Bloodkin [Interview]

Bloodkin are Athens, Georgia legends, in a town known for an overwhelming scene that has given R.E.M., B-52’s, Drive-By Truckers and Widespread Panic to the world. The latter recorded several of Bloodkin’s records, including mammoth hits like “Can’t Get High.” Bloodkin’s highs and lows have been well documented; struggles with loss and addiction have made their survival difficult, but Danny Hutchens and Eric Carter are still together after “The Long Hustle.”

Hutchens spoke to Weld about his relationship with Widespread Panic, overcoming those hurdles life has thrown and Athens.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music.

#TBT The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME, III

shootersflyer

The Shooters

“The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME” isn’t the same telling of the FAME story you know. Rather, this story is about the impact Florence Alabama Music Enterprises, the recording studio and publishing company, had on the community that surrounded it and how it changed the next fifty years of music in Muscle Shoals. I couldn’t make all of the photos that I had at my disposal work in the book, and over the next couple of weeks, I’ll try to provide a little more context for this story with some of the photos that I couldn’t use.

The Shooters were a country songwriting supergroup, bridging the period most known for sessions through the glory days of Muscle Shoals songwriting to the current live scene which has evolved in the last decade. Walt Aldridge, Gary Baker, Barry Billings, Chalmers Davis and Mike Dillon – the first two wrote a pile of country hits you’re unaware that you know, while Billings mentored kids like Chris Tompkins, Shonna Tucker, Bo Bice and Jason Isbell at La Fonda’s Mexican Restaurant on Highway 72. During a dark period when the Shoals doesn’t receive a lot of credit for the music it was creating, The Shooters gave the community life.

I’ll be signing copies of “The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME” at Alabama Booksmith on June 29. They will have an exclusive hardcover edition of the book for sale, which you can reserve here. You can also preorder on Amazon here. I have also created a Spotify playlist that offers a little more context for the time period the book covers. Subscribe to it here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People., Places.

The Best of Bonnaroo 2015.

IMG_2136

The Best of Bonnaroo 2015.

It’s impossible to see everything at Bonnaroo. Further, it’s impossible to see everything that you want to see at Bonnaroo. The lineup is expansive and the grounds are sprawling. At some point in my five years of attending the festival, I realized that, and I made peace with selecting performances that I couldn’t often see, smaller stages and with absorbing more complete representations of a performance, rather than bouncing around, stage to stage, and catching 15 minutes of many different acts.

So I didn’t watch Alabama Shakes. Or My Morning Jacket. Because I have gotten and will likely get plenty of Alabama Shakes and My Morning Jacket. Both just released terrific new records that I love, but there were opportunities to see new and interesting things while their sets were going on, and I took advantage.

It’s objective, and no two experiences at this or any other festival can be the same. I repeat that every year, but there are music “critics” out there that seem to believe that their opinion is subjective and authoritative, so I feel like I have to keep repeating myself. I think I have pretty good taste, and if I have given you a track record to back that up, maybe you’ll continue to agree with my opinions and trust that my taste won’t steer yours wrong.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music., People., Places.