From June 15, 2006...
It's got a name that may cause pause..."The Waldrep Stewart & Kendrick, LLC City Stages presented by Lanny Vines & Associates, LLC". But around here we just call it the biggest, most eclectic music festival Alabama has to offer. I'm Greg Bass and this is the Tapestry - City Stages special.
It's a Father's Day weekend tradition in Birmingham as throngs of music fans flock to City Stages. This year, they can choose from more than 125 acts on nine stages. There's a funk night...an oldies night...a Southern jam night...and, of course, lots of other music that runs that gamut from bagpipes to hip hop to ethereal rock. Some folks come just to see the headliners, but Coca Cola Stage production manager Michael Trucks says if that's all you catch this weekend, you're missing a lot.
Some of the acts in this weekend's lineup have been around for decades. Some are newly formed. But a lot fall in the middle-- working hard to build a fan base and bring their music to new listeners. Take the Zac Brown Band. Zac grew up in Cumming, Georgia - with 11 brothers and sisters. In school, he performed as a chamber singer in a choral ensemble that took him to Germany, the Czech Republic and even Carnegie Hall. But it wasn't until high school, when Zac started writing his own songs and booking gigs as a country rocker that he found his calling. Now in his mid-20's, Zac plays packed gigs where collegians rub elbows with blue-collar bikers. His appearances on the Rick and Bubba radio program prompted a show earlier this year at WorkPlay and now - he's back for more. It's been said that if Jimmy Buffet had a younger brother playing music in the Georgia Wild - he might be Zac Brown. And WBHM's Mike Morgan agrees. He talked to Brown about his music and what fans can expect from this weekend's show.
The Zac Brown Band plays Sunday night at 5:20 on the Miller Light Stage.
Let's say your father is a famous producer/musician named Jim Dickinson, who's recorded with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Ry Cooder and you have grown up not just listening to Mississippi Blues masters R.L. Burnside, Jr. Kimbrough and Otha Turner, you actually got to play music with them. AND there's a recording studio in your house! What choice do you have but to obey your DNA and start a blues band. That's what brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson did with their friend Chris Chew back in 1996. Five CDs, three Grammy nominations and a million road miles later, the North Mississippi All Stars roll into City Stages Friday with their fusion of country blues and southern rock. Singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson says he's doing what he's always wanted to do.
Luther Dickinson is vocalist and guitarist with the North Mississippi All Stars, who play the My People dot com stage tomorrow (Friday) night at 9:35. Immediately following their set, the All Stars back John Hiatt, with whom they happen to be touring.
A mix of swing and blues...with a dash of jazz. That's how the frontman for Ryan Reardon and the Levee Breakers describes his group's music. They're playing the Dance Depot this weekend...and Ryan Reardon and drummer Matt Kimbrell stopped by our studios to talk with WBHM's Rosemary Pennington about the big gig and about their music. Reardon says he fell in love with the blues while doing his undergraduate work in Memphis.
Ryan Reardon and Matt Kimbrell of Ryan Reardon and the Levee Breakers, talking about their jump blues with WBHM's Rosemary Pennington. They play the Dance Depot tomorrow (Friday) night at 6:40.
Speaking of the Dance Depot...we KNOW there are some of you who want to move to the music, but just can't quite seem to get all the body parts moving in the right direction. Take for example, WBHM's Steve Chiotakis. He says he has Dance Fever, but we think he should be quarantined for it! The Tapestry crew decided to send him to some experts to teach him a little groove.
Chris Bailey and Michelle Foti teach West Coast Swing Saturday night at 5:30. You can also learn contra dancing, County and Western Two Step, and Zydeco dancing ...all at the Vault Dance Depot. Be sure to shimmy on over.
So it's City Stages and here's another singer-songwriter, right? Not so fast...Brandi Carlile has been touted as an up-and-coming artist to watch by Rolling Stone magazine and others. Her voice can be described as clear, raw, emotional, powerful, and even falsetto. Combine that with honest, straight forward lyrics and you've got a musician making some powerful music. Carlile, who has been on the road for the last year and a half, spoke with WBHM's Michael Krall...
Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile performs on the Mypeople dot com Stage, Sunday night at six o'clock.
The featured song of a recent Broadway musical was titled, "Everything Old Is New Again." That could also be the motto of a young new band from North Alabama who grew up loving the music of their parents' generation, and are now writing original songs that make it their own. Reporter Dale Short has the story...
The Bridges play two shows tomorrow (Friday). On the 'Coca-Cola Presents' Stage, at 11:45 a.m., they're unplugged. At 6:30 p.m. on the Mypeople dot com Stage, they get electrified.
Okay, so maybe singer-songwriter isn't quite your thing. Maybe you want something a little edgier? Say, Flyleaf. The heavy metal band's self-titled debut album echoes with songs about abuse, neglect, addiction and dysfunction -- but also plenty of messages about overcoming adversity. The Texas band has been touring incessantly - a different city or state almost every day. WBHM's Hunter Bell caught up with lead singer Lacey Mosley on her noisy tour bus in Minneapolis.
Lacey Mosley is the front-woman for heavy metal band Flyleaf. They play the Miller Light Stage Saturday night at 6:20.
For most people, City Stages is a fun-filled weekend of music. But for commentator Francesca Rosko, last year's City Stages was an experience filled with expectation, deceit, a badge, and ultimately, one big letdown...all before she heard any music.
You can find more of Francesca Rosko's commentaries at WBHM.org.
Don't miss the chance to hear some of the local bands that play City Stages this weekend. Many of them have already appeard on Tapestry. You can hear the original interviews and download their music from this page....
You can hear these bands and many, many more this weekend at City Stages. For specifics on when and where they're playing, check out the Tapestry page of WBHM.org. You'll also find musician interviews and music samples.
And if you're looking for something to do this week that's NOT City Stages related, here ya go:
To hear the audio portion of the Community Calendar from Tapestry, click here.
Want to know more? Activeculture.info is a one-stop source for finding out what's going on in the Birmingham metro area.
Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall. Our guest producer this week is "the man who knows the music best" - Hunter Bell. Francesca Rosko does a fabulous job tracking community events and occasionally checks in with random thoughts about food, movies, pictures and Barry Manilow. Additional reporting this week from Mike Morgan, Stephen Gilbreath, Dale Short, Rosemary Pennington and Steve Chiotakis with production help from Steve's friend Andrea and intern Katie Barzler. If you're heading to City Stages this weekend, be sure to stop by the WBHM booth and say hello -- we'll be at 20th Street near 6th Avenue North in front of the Cathedral Church of the Advent. I'm Greg Bass...enjoy your weekend!