April 10, 2008...
In his short career, Hank Williams played to sold-out audiences across the country, charted hit after hit and penned dozens of songs that are standards in the American songbook. But Williams also fought with demons - alcohol, prescription drugs and too much high living. Author Wayne Greenhaw explores that tension in his book, King of Country. In it, a young man with a family connection to Williams attempts to follow in his hero's footsteps, not just making great music but also chasing the highs that killed Williams when he was just 29. I asked Greenhaw if he wasn't trying to re-write the legend of Hank Williams so that it would have a happier ending.
Wayne Greenhaw is the author of King of Country and recipient of the 2006 Harper Lee Award. He appears next weekend at the Montevallo Literary Festival at the University of Montevallo.
If you haven't tried them, websites like MySpace and FaceBook can seem kind of pathetic. Why would you need a website to make friends and keep up with them? But social networking sites are actually quite sophisticated and increasingly they're shaping not only pop culture but business and politics. This weekend in Birmingham - a bunch of tech-savvy people are holding an UN-Conference. That's a workshop with "participant"-generated sessions like "Twitter: Fad or Phenom" and "Do the Right Thing: A Starting Point for Ethical Responsibility in New Media". WBHM's Tanya Ott decifers it all in a conversation with Jeremy Flint, a blogger and Senior Web Designer at Kinetic Communications..
Speaking of technology - how low-tech is this? Remember the 1980's, when you'd make a tape mix of all your favorite songs to exchange with friends? In the pre-internet days, that's how we all learned about new music! Well, those tape mix swaps still exist and you might be surprised to hear that old favorites like Simon and Garfunkel are really popular with younger music fans exchanging tunes on tapes or CDs. Producer Joshua Gleason charts the course of one mix through a collective run by a mysterious woman in Portland, Maine.
Cave 9 on Birmingham's SouthSide occasionally holds tape mix swaps. Oh yeah, and if you just gotta get your Art Garfunkel fix, he's performing Saturday night at the Alys Stephens Center on the UAB Campus.
What's going on around town? Activeculture.info is a one-stop source for finding out what's going on in the Birmingham metro area.
The digital revolution is being downloaded,and local musician Donovan Gravlee is leading the charge. Gravlee - who goes by the name Cahaba - literally gives away his music online because, he says, the creative process is more important than selling songs. His roots are in metal, but he decided to go the one-man band route when he got tired of waiting for people to show up to practice. Cahaba's recent compilation mixes Jamaican dub, trip-hop and experimental electronic styles...but his sources are often down-to-earth "environmental" samples and acoustic instruments. (AUDIO MONTAGE)
The song is Hang Time 3 AM by Cahaba...also known as Donovan Gravlee.
Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall with help this week from Coleman Lipsey. Next week on Tapestry - Birmingham Southern's Charles Norman Mason talks about his new world-premiere composition. I'm Greg Bass, and we'll see you next week.