Category: Alabama

Southern Rock Resurgence: What is Old is New

Southern rock didn’t die when Skynyrd did; it just needed sometime to grieve and regroup.

The genre “southern rock” has kind of disappeared over the years and it’s time to be revived. Beards, long hair, whiskey, cigarettes, denim, American flags and Muscle Shoals are still intact so why is southern rock not? Lack of bands fitting the criteria for the genre? Did the evolution of music quietly push the southern rock genre out of the picture? Maybe it really did just fall to the way-side when the 80’s came along and after Van Zandt died? I’m not entirely sure as to why it went away but it’s time that it came back home; I’ve missed it.

Wikipedia defines Southern Rock as: “A subgenre of rock music and a genre of Americana. It was developed in the Southern United States from rocknroll, country music, and blues and is focused generally on electric guitar and vocals.”

I don’t know about you, but I personally know musicians whose bands fit this description EXACTLY. So what the hell wiki music gods? If that’s the checklist, then what are you waiting on!? It’s already hard enough for bands to find a place to fit in, not to mention find a radio station that will even play their tunes but yet these stations have no problem playing Statesboro Blues 9 times a day… How about throwing some new southern rock in the mix, hoss? Is it classic rock? No, not yet; however, listening to Tuesday’s Gone for the 300th time in a week doesn’t make the song any more classic than if you played it once….sorry back on topic now…

I think over the years that southern rock has unfairly gotten associated with the term “redneck” and confederate flags (which is an entirely separate discussion in itself) and that’s completely unfair. It would take a lot less time to just copy and paste the DBT lyrics from “The Southern Thing” to hammer this point home and frankly, Hood can get the point across better than I but he’s not here is he!? 😉 Now, the word southern already embraces “rednecks” and “country livin” so it’s not as if we don’t have our work cutout for us but if you look back at the origins of southern rock: blues and soul and gospel, these three styling’s are very important developing factors for this genre of rock music and are historically dominated by black musicians so throw the redneck BS out of this equation; it’s about the music not color of skin.

Ain’t about no hatred better raise a glass / It’s a little about some rebels but it ain’t about the past / Ain’t about no foolish pride, ain’t about no flag / Hate’s the only thing that my truck would want to drag…You think I’m dumb, maybe not too bright / You wonder how I sleep at night / Proud of the glory, stare down the shame / Duality of the southern thing.

There are a lot of good bands out here that can easily carry the torch for southern rock’s building comeback; I even think Duane Allman would approve. Many of these musicians/bands just happen to be from the south and play rocknroll; put two and two together genius, what else would you call their style of music? Check out the associated playlists for some great bands who are sticking to their guns. It’s a little bit country, it’s a little bit rocknroll and a lot of bit great music. It’s Southern Rock and it’s time for a resurgence.

Playlist:

  • Dirt Track – Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires (AL)
  • Devil’s in the Details – Glossary (TN)
  • Never Gonna Change – Jason Isbell/Drive By Truckers (AL/GA)
  • 1000 Dollar Car – Ned Van Go (TN)
  • Benjamin – Arliss Nancy (CO)
  • If My Heart Don’t Fail Me – Efren (GA)
  • I Can’t Stand This – Kentucky Knife Fight (KY)
  • The Grant – Lauderdale (AL)
  • Choke – The Black Cadillacs (TN)
  • Look at Me – Those Crosstown Rivals (KY)
  • Campaign Song ’93 – Jon Snodgrass (MO/CO)
  • Super 8 – Jason Isbell (AL)
  • Do The Crawl – Dexateens (AL)
  • 8 AM Blues – Natural Child (TN)
  • Coming Through the Pines – Blackfoot Gypsies (TN)
  • Tim Tim – Bohannons (TN)
  • Don’t Owe You a Thang – Gary Clark Jr (TX)
  • Clark Ave – American Aquarium (NC)
  • Rebel Man – The Pollies (AL)
  • Rock and Roll Forever – The Whigs (GA)
  • Chippewa – Benjamin Booker (LA)
  • Tears Don’t Matter Much – Lucero (TN)
  • Radar Gun – The Bottle Rockets (MO)
  • Fourth of July – Porter and The Pollies (TX/AL)
  • Alphabet City – Todd May (OH)
  • Zip City – Drive By Truckers (AL)
  • When I’m Gone – The White Buffalo (LA)
  • Missouri Boy – The Hooten Hallers (MO)
  • The Prettiest Waitress in Memphis – Cory Branan (MS/TN)
  • The Southern Thing – Drive By Truckers (AL/GA)
  • Heartbroken, in Disrepair – Dan Auerbach (OH)

Click here to listen on Spotify.

So, looking forward, out of all 30 tracks ONLY 3 bands/artists listed above are beyond the Mason-Dixon Line. Furthermore, Todd May is always playing in the south with Lydia Loveless, Dan Auerbach has lived in Nashville for a while now (too long if you as Jack White), and Arliss Nancy may as well be from the south, just ask them. They love boiled peanuts, whiskey, the Allman Brothers, and “pulling buckets,” so they get a special pass and I’ve adopted them as Alabama residents; deal with it.

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Tuscaloosa’s DIY scene in full effect this summer

This past Saturday, August 2nd, DIY Tuscaloosa and Stand-Up Tuscaloosa, hosted by RJ Marchand, joined forces to host a show at a new DIY house.

One of the house residents, James Hale, had expressed interest in having shows at his house a few months ago. He advertised having a big back yard and a thirst for more house shows in Tuscaloosa.

Upon first meeting with him to check out the space, I was taken aback at how potentially ideal the location could be. The backyard was huge and fenced in, with a big grill on an elevated porch, which was partially screened in. There was also parking in the yard and on the street. So long as we cleared it with the neighbors and adhered to the area’s 9pm noise ordinance, I didn’t foresee any reason for it to get shut down.

The evening of entertainment kicked off with the first band, a new local called Pentapuss, which was Maia Wade on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Lee Gipson on drums, and Frank Nette playing bass guitar. Separately they are all good musicians, so together it was legit, especially for a first show. Maia commented that the show gave her hope that “we might be able to foster a more diverse music community in Tuscaloosa”, adding that it was the most diverse crowd she’d seen at a house show in a long time. “We are definitely aiming to have eclectic bills, and not just one genre.”

After Pentapuss’ set, Randy Ford delivered the first stand-up comedy act. The audience seemed to enjoy the mix of music and comedy, plus I thought it was great to see people dance, then laugh, then rinse-lather-repeat.

Next up was Knympho Knife, a three-piece describing themselves as “fuzzed out jazz-punk.” If you want a sample of what they really sound like, check out their feature on local TV show, Tuscaloosa Monorail.

When the cops walked up to the yard during Knympho Knife’s set, they were just asking how long the music would be going so that if they got any noise complaints they could tell people when it was ending. We told them that we thought the noise ordinance was 9pm and were planning to have the music done by then, to which one of the cops replied “9pm on a Saturday?!” So I asked him “Can we push it to 10pm?” and he confirmed “We can’t tell you when to end your party, but if we get too many noise complaints then the bands will have to stop playing.” Fair enough, so we just turned down the bands’ volumes and the cops never showed for the rest of the night.

The next stand-up performer was Beth Howell. I remember there being a lot of people there by that time, and it was great to see that good of a turnout, especially with the majority staying on the screened in part of the porch to watch her set. There was definitely a supportive vibe in the air that night.

The third band to play was Freaky Deakys. They played earlier this Summer at the Southside Nitty Gritty Glen Iris house fest, as well as Vallofest in Montevallo. This six piece showcases Trevor Dane aka “Sweet Tea; Dane Deaky” on rhythm guitar and vocals, Rolfe Briney aka “Knight Driver” on lead guitar, John Engle aka “Smiles Davis Deaky” on bass guitar, Jack Vogt aka “Boom Boom Fingerling Deaky” on drums, Abraham Glubrecht aka “Squeaky Deaky” on fiddle, and Forrest Moody aka “Captain Peach Fish” on keyboard. Their live show was high energy and included fire dancers, who were Hannah Barrett and Andrea Dillingham. Trevor Dane said that the goal of their aesthetic was to “make everyone happy and forget about their worldly troubles, while presented in an artistic fashion.” He also added that for them, letting loose is like a form of meditation. I am a strong believer in art and exercise therapy, so I think dancing and engaging in a show will always make you feel better. Additionally, fire dancer Hannah Barrett reflected that “House shows are really something special, bringing like-minded people together to enjoy and spread the word of talented musicians, all the while making crazy unique memories such as friendly mosh pits on porches and fire dancers in the backyard.” There is definitely something about a house show that a bar can never capture. Both atmospheres have their places, but with DIY Tuscaloosa’s focus to provide more all ages shows, it seems that house shows are the way to go for now since most bars will only compromise to 18+.

You can catch Freaky Deakys‘ upcoming shows Thursday, August 14th at Parkside, and then the next night, Friday August 15th, at a house show in Montevallo (they ask folks to shoot them a message on their Facebook for more info). They are also getting filmed this week for a future episode of Tuscaloosa Monorail.

Caleb Garrett closed out the stand-up acts for the night, which lead into Dead Balloons‘ set. They were also featured on a previous episode of Tuscaloosa Monorail and are playing at Black Market Bar & Grill- 5 Points South later this month.

The next all ages DIY Tuscaloosa show will be Friday, August 22nd, a back-to-school show. Though our all ages shows are free admission for now, donations are encouraged because they are what keeps it going.

Stand-Up Tuscaloosa also has an open mic every Wednesday 9pm at Glory Bound Gyro Company.

To stay updated on more events like these, follow DIY Tuscaloosa’s group page.

See a show with your dog at Bottletree!

Music lovers and dog lovers, listen up!!!

Tomorrow night, Bottletree Cafe is hosting the “Bama Bully Rescue Bash (6 bands, 6 Bucks).” Come join the fun, bring your pup (maybe even leave with new one!) and listen to some great music presented by Rocket City Sounds from Huntsville, AL.  All proceeds will be donated to Bama Bully Rescue, Inc in Fultondale, AL.

Check out some of the artists before you head out: Robby Eichman,  Alexa Rankin, Zac Mayhall, Christian Lee, ADAM ADAM and Natas Kompas.

 

BHAMFM ULTRA SUMMERTIME MIXTAPE 2K14!

summer time

Hello reader. Summer is in full swing and we here at Bhamfm.com truly hope you are throughly enjoying the blistering heat! We are bringing you another mixtape but this time its the ULTRA SUMMERTIME MIXTAPE with some summer jams to take you way back and some new jams to bring you back to today.

As always, our mixtape contributors Whit and Culture Czar have brought in some cool tracks to share and yours truly dug up and dusted off all kinds of classic songs of summer, from yesteryear, and sprinkled them throughout the mix to keep the summer vibes going.

Whit drops the newest one from Lil Wayne ft. Drake, a song from the highly buzzed about Parquet Courts record, and the two newest Spoon tracks or, in her words, “TWICE THE SPOON!”

Culture Czar had this to say about the more chilled out songs from Panda Bear, Tame Impala, Washed Out, Iron and Wine, and Starflyer 59 which he contributed to the mix: Most people think of summer jams as bouncy, party time music, but I’m more interested in that sunbleached part of the late afternoon where it’s hot and hazy and you can barely see for the setting sun and you just melt into the poolside furniture in a peaceful, blissed out daze as day gives way to night…”

 

Stay tuned next month when we bring you another mixtape! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

Summer Shindig Mystery: Hayden Crawford?

summer_shindig_II_poster_webIn mere hours, Tuscaloosa’s Bama Theatre will be the place for one of the most wonderful events of the summer. (Note: I am saying this with all of the bias.) You will fall in love for the first or second or eighth time and be mesmerized by the stage. (Note: All of the bias.)

There is so much talent on the stage, but it’s also a bit hard to write about all of this talent. I mean, I’ve done it before.

When Blaine Duncan & The Lookers, The Bear, Looksy, and Belle Adair take the stage tonight, it is an event worthy of an actual shindig. But let’s dig into a mystery for a second. The question is: Hayden Crawford?

“Hayden is a weird little guy, but his music makes me wanna reach for a fresh Dookie sandwich.”

That quote is from Adam Morrow of Callooh! Callay!, Belle Adair, and the Lookers and in our joke speak, this is a compliment. Hayden Crawford is from Tuscaloosa and currently resides in New Orleans. I first came to know him through being told by Blaine Duncan himself that Hayden was a big fan of mine. We had never met in person. Also, I only wrote stuff like this. And in this case, Hayden was kind of a weird little guy. His only picture on his Twitter profile is a screencap of when I added him on Goodreads. I’m still trying to figure out if that was genuine or to keep the bit alive. By that time, Hayden was a full member of the Lookers, performing live alongside members of the band that I talked to for this piece. If anybody knows the enigma of Hayden Crawford, multi-instrumentalist and serial warbler, it’s the people he hung out with on the After She Dies tour of 2013.

“Hayden is awesome. He’s a great guy: sarcastically sweet and sweetly sarcastic,” said Blaine Duncan on his former member. I’ll let Blaine explain his own experiences with Hayden. “He is loyal, dependable, and professional. He can any instrument with strings, which benefits us because he is pretty willing to fill any role. He’s a great songwriter, too. That helps because he has great ideas for song arrangements. He’s one of my favorite folks, and though I’ve known him only five or six years, he’s a close friend.

Duncan adds, “I guess my favorite thing about Hayden is something that I can relate to (and something he’ll openly admit, so I’m not telling tales out of school) – he doesn’t know much about a guitar as far as technical aspects, like strings, amps, repair, but he can play one as good as anyone. He can tell you the key and chord structure of a song within seconds of hearing it. That’s somewhat common with guitarists, but probably not as common with guitarists who don’t change their own strings. That story serves as a good metaphor for him: really great but not too concerned that he is.”

We’re getting closer to the mystery, but I also wonder if Hayden himself can shed some light on his own self-identity: “In addition to being a Taco shirt enthusiast, Hayden Crawford enjoys many humorous cotton fabrications. Let us not forget the likes of Santa Claus drinking champagne in a hot tub shirt, black guitar shirt, and the classic crawfish salting a bed of fries shirt.”

So Hayden likes a lot of T-shirts and is great at music. Yup. Mystery solved. However, since Crawford is a former Lookers member, just what in the hell does this piece have to do with anything? I mean, other than the bias.

After the Shindig, there is an afterparty show at the Alcove with Hayden Crawford, Daniel Elias Crisler, and the two-piece Della Ray. It will be an atomic bomb of weirdness. I recommend it on that alone. Anything to funnel through some sort of weirdness helps, though. But honestly, I don’t know if I can fully say I get Hayden Crawford still. Maybe there isn’t a mystery and people just are as they are.

 

Mutual friend Jeff Hanson put it best: “[Hayden’s] darkest secrets are that he has no

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secrets at all.”

Birmingham gets ALL THE SHOWS!

You think you know, but you have no idea.

Welcome to a comprehensive list of all the headliners & festivals headed to our fair city in the coming months.

I’m just gonna throw a list at you because I know you just gonna scroll anyway. Hard to be mad with this level of abundance going on. LEHGO.

 

Jimmy Eat World, celebrating 10 years of their Futures album at WorkPlay on Oct 26
Jimmy Eat World, celebrating 10 years of their Futures album at WorkPlay on Oct 26

IRON CITY:

  • Juvenile (this Sat, 7/12)
  • Curren$y (7/30)
  • HELMET (8/6)
  • Manchester Orchestra (8/7)
  • Toadies (8/13)
  • Broken Bells (10/2)
  • AFI (10/9)
  • Chromeo (10/14)
  • Brand New (Sold out, 10/21)
  • Julian Casablancas (10/28)

WORKPLAY

  • Delta Spirit (9/16)
  • Jimmy Eat World (10/27)

Cask & Drum, October 11 (tix here)

  • GIRL TALK
  • Lucero
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires
  • Wild Cub
  • Drew Holcomb
  • Houndmouth

Secret Stages (August 1 & 2): Follow through to their site for the full lineup, in the interest of not leaving any of the astounding number of acts out who hail from all over Alabama & the South. Great problem to have, if you ask us! Our picks though? John Paul Keith, Green Seed, Pujol & Looksy.

BOTTLETREE:

  • King Buzzo of the Melvins (7/23)
  • HIGH FIVE FEST III (8/9) —–> Banditos, Shaheed & DJ Supreme, Wray, Arclight, In Snow, beitthemeans and Secret Midnight Band
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (8/14)
  • Comedian Jon Hodgman (9/7)
  • Pinback (9/8)
  • Real Estate (9/21)
  • J. Mascis (9/30)
  • POLIÇA (10/7)
  • Twin Shadow (10/18)

 

Album Review: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Dereconstructed

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Nowadays, it seems pretty easy to reduce Southern culture to a few reality TV stars with beards and a duck call business. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are here to remind the world about the complexity and vitality of this

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blessed patch of dirt.

On their previous album, There Is a Bomb In Gilead, the band cautiously belted out a fine mix of country, southern rock, and soul music. Dereconstructed is their first album for the venerable Sub Pop label,and builds on the successes of their first record while backing them up with increased confidence and volume.

Lead off single and album opener, “The Company Man” serves as a statement of intent and an introduction to the current, road-tested lineup of The Glory Fires. The ragged opening riff propels the song forward into an onslaught of guitars pushed into the red by Bains and new addition, Eric Wallace. It’s a classic Southern Rock anthem that’s built to be catchy, but offers surprising

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lyrical depth. Lee has a knack for examining social issue particular to the South. The title track turns the fire and brimstone of a Southern Baptist preacher on its head and begins to spell out a new way of thinking for a generation of Southerners that are smart, tolerant, and equal.

The thematically related, “The Kudzu and The Concrete” and “The Weeds Downtown” take a

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look at living in the a post white flight Birmingham. Both songs touch on the realities of growing up at the foot of a bustling Southern city, but also identifying with your country roots. “The Weeds Downtown” in particular is an anthem for the revitalization and rebranding of downtown Birmingham. Where our parents generation saw danger, Bains and the rest of us see opportunity.

The second side of the record sees the band continuing in the politically minded vein of the first side with the one-two punch of “We Dare Defend Our Rights!”, and “Flags”. In previous generations, Alabama’s state motto was used as a symbol for defending the racist status quo, but Baines takes a look at the motto and turns it around by making it a rallying cry for a new generation of proud, progressive citizens.

To finish up the record, Bains delivers what I think is the best song of the album. “Dirt Track”, like all great southern food and art, works on several levels. The song relates Alabama’s history in stock car racing to DIY punk rock; the dirt track of the music business. The song’s late break and triumphant finish offers a capstone for the record, bringing everything full circle.

Bains and Co. offer the next logical step beyond the storytelling of bands like the Drive By Truckers, by getting down into the nitty gritty of living in a rapidly evolving South. There’s a sense of wrestling and reckoning with our shared past, but an unending faith and hope in our shared future. Dereconstructed offers an alternative to the duck call Disney World South that’s presented on TV and gives an authentic look into being an intelligent, proud southerner.