NOTE: Tapestry is now a one-hour program and heard the first Friday of each month at noon.
A visit to historic Charleston, South Carolina isn't complete without a stroll to the Battery, the point at the southern-most tip of the city where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers meet. It's also the place where you will see some of the most beautiful and most expensive homes in the South. This area of town is referred to as South of Broad. That's also the title of Pat Conroy's new novel, his first in 14 years. South of Broad introduces a new set of Conroy characters that are religious, irreverent, vain, intelligent, deceitful, loyal and all badly damaged. Each of Conroy's books benefits from the lush backdrop of Charleston and the rich language he employs to take us places dark, deeply personal, and often unforgettable. South of Broad is a part of Charleston that evokes powerful memories for the author.
Pat Conroy has a book signing in Birmingham on August 18th. Details can be found here.
Author Paul Hemphill was best known for the honest way he addressed racism and blue collar culture in Alabama. He became a voice for a community often unheard. Hemphill died of throat cancer in July, at the age of 73. WBHM's Charles Haines has a remembrance of the Birmingham native.
For more than a decade, independent bookstores have been waging a very polite war with retailers like Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Small, locally-owned shops have steadily lost business to the nationwide chains, although some analysts say that trend is beginning to reverse. Still-the economy is dampening any hope independent bookstores have of making a strong showing. In a time when disposable income is, for some people, much less disposable-some small booksellers are struggling to survive. WBHM's Nat Bonner has a profile of one Birmingham shop that's doing anything it can to keep the lights on.
Take a drive around Birmingham, and you're likely to notice houses with half-timbering, tall windows, and steep roofs. It's a style known as Tudor Revival, or Mock Tudor. It first came about in England in the 1800s, based on architecture from the Tudor period of the 15th and 16th centuries. Americans, always copying what's going on across the pond, soon brought the style to this country. The Tudor style finally found its way to Birmingham in the 1920s. When he first came to Birmingham this spring, WBHM's Bradley George was intrigued by the abundance of Tudor in the Magic City. He set out to discover why the style is so popular here.
If you walk by the Jefferson County Courthouse, the side on Richard Arrington Boulevard, you might see some designs that cause a double-take. Some think it looks like a backwards swastika. Sam Rumore says there is a lot interesting symbolism elsewhere on the building. And he should know. Rumore has written an article about every courthouse in the state of Alabama. Right now, he offers an audio walk-around of the Jefferson County Courthouse.
It's been almost a decade since Birmingham band Overfloe released its debut album. Personnel changes, family obligations, work and life got in the way. But now the group of five guys is stepping it up a notch. They signed with a label run by UAB music professor Henry Panion and this month will release their new CD The Jericho Project. Saxophonist De'Lon Charley says it was a labor of love...and a lesson in persistence - and faith.
Kids at Camp McDowell in Nauvoo, Alabama, have been waking up to the sound of the "The Bell" since 1948. McDowell serves as the center of the Alabama Episcopal Diocese, but from May to August it's a summer camp for kids and teens. WBHM intern Lee McAlister has spent 11 summers there. This year, we sent her with a microphone to capture the sounds of Camp McDowell.
Kathryn Kendrick, Reverend Richard Lawson, Andrew Hunter, and Laura Oliver. All took part in this year's Camp McDowell. Lee McAlister produced our audio postcard.
Whether you want to admit it or not, summer is coming to a close. Vacations are ending. Kids are heading back to school. But that doesn't mean you can't squeeze in a concert or show. WBHM's Andrew Yeager has a few suggestions in this month's Three to See.
You might say the Red Mountain band is having an identity crisis - except they seem to know exactly who they are, no matter what you call them. For years, the old-time string band went by the name Red Mountain White Trash. But it seems some folks didn't really like that name. They found it offensive and refused to book the band because of it. So the band dropped the "white trash" part... but they still manage to give it a nod, with a wink and a smile. (LISTEN)
That's fiddler Jim Cauthen. He and his wife, guitarist Joyce Cauthen, and mandolin player Phil Foster joined us in the studio to talk about their new CD. It's called Throw the Old Cow Over the Fence (AUDIO MONTAGE)
Tapestry is produced by Bradley George and Michael Krall, with help this month from Nat Bonner, Charles Haines, Lee McAlister, Tanya Ott, and Andrew Yeager. We hope you enjoyed the second edition of new, hour-long monthly show. We'd love to hear your feedback. I'm Greg Bass, and we'll you next month.
If you've got a story idea for Tapestry, drop us an e-mail.