There are several theaters in downtown Birmingham. Within a few blocks you'll find the Carve, home to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and, the Alabama, which bills itself as The Showplace of the South. And then there's the Lyric Theatre, which has been closed for many years. WBHM's Bradley George passed by it recently and wondered why it's not open.
Bradley: Driving along 3rd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham, you can't help but notice the Alabama Theatre. There the marquee and that giant electric sign. So, you might be forgiven if you miss the Lyric Theatre, right across the street.
The Lyric was built in 1914. But now it's on the Alabama Trust for Historical Preservation list of "places in peril", as Bradley explains...
Birmingham gains a new music venue this month, but it's not the typical club or concert hall. Moonlight on the Mountain in Bluff Park is the brainchild of Keith Harrelson. It's a revival of Harrelson's Moonlight Music Cafe in Vestavia Hills, which closed in 2006. Harrelson tells WBHM's Andrew Yeager the new venue is a photography and video production studio by day. At night, it will offer acoustic concerts in a casual atmosphere.
Among acoustic music fans, the mandolin holds a special place. It's been a driving force in bluegrass since Bill Monroe hit the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Artists such as David Grisman and Sam Bush took the instrument to new levels with new grass and acoustic jazz. Add Birmingham's Jason Bailey to that list. Bailey plays mandolin with a number of local groups including the Jason Bailey Trio, Tonal Vision and the Irish Group Stuart McNair. His latest CD is called Mandol Bug. And what is a Mandol Bug you ask?
Bailey, Chad Cobb and the Matt Flinner Trio perform music from the new CD on April 25th, in the Reynolds-Kirshbaum Theatre of the Alys Stephens Center.
When a musician's trying to make a name for himself, he usually tries to do something a little different than everyone else. Maybe it's the costume gimmicks of Lady Gaga or the blazing guitar riffs of Eric Clapton. Well, Birmingham rapper Shaheed Tawheed doesn't have to try too hard to distinguish his work from others in the hip hop scene. He's a Muslim - and his music reflects that. In fact, his newly remixed CD - called Scholar Warrior - includes an Arabic translation list in the liner notes. He tells WBHM's Tanya Ott he gets strange looks from non-muslims as well as followers of Islam.
This year marks the 55th anniversary the Montgomery Bus Boycott. An exhibit at Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute tells the story of one of the seminal events in the struggle to end segregation. WBHM's Bradley George has details in this month's Three to See.
Birmingham guitarist Keith Williams believes there're only two kinds of music - good music and bad music. He describes his own sound as "easy listening". But even with the baggage THAT term carries, he's okay with it...really! Williams looks at it as a way to market his music, which has also been described as having a groovy beat with a funky soulful influence. Williams studied at the Berklee College of Music and spent three years touring with Ruben Studdard. His latest CD is titled New Birth and it's dedicated to his daughter Harmonie. This is the song Pure Funk... (AUDIO MONTAGE)
What comes to mind you think of handbells. Church music, maybe? How about Christmastime? There's a handbell ensemble in Birmingham that plays all sorts of music. They're called Embellishments and on Monday evenings, you can find their members rehearsing at Shades Valley Presbyterian Church in Mountain Brook.
Phyllis Kirk, Nancy McCracken, and John Heiser are part of the Embellishments handbell ensemble. The group's spring concert is April 17 at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Our audio postcard was produced by WBHM's Bradley George.
You might not think the ukulele is a serious instrument, unless you are Joel Eckhaus, a luthier and musician. From workshop to stage, Eckhaus is serious about having fun.
Joe Eckhaus makes and plays ukeleles in Portland, Maine. His story was produced by Shea Shackleford.
Tapestry is produced by Bradley George and Michael Krall, with help this month from Shea Shackleford, Tanya Ott, and Andrew Yeager. If you have questions or comments about this month's show, [email protected] is our email address. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. I'm Greg Bass and we'll see you next month.