From June 9, 2005...
**Tanya Ott guests hosts this week**
Tonight on Tapestry – Americana music, from the straightforward tunes of Birmingham's Ron Dometrovich, to political commentary from George Scherer. Also, novelist and professional slacker T.R. Pearson. First, this round-up of arts news.Arts news
Americana developed as a radio format in the 1990s. It was a backlash to the highly polished sound that defined mainstream music of that decade. The history of Americana actually stretches back to Elvis Presley's marriage of hillbilly and R&B. It mixes those two elements with a little rock 'n roll, bluegrass, folk and the blues – to create a blend that is helping fill the gap between Triple A radio and mainstream country. But it's not always easy for Americana music to find a place on the American radio dial. In fact, while Americana is quite the rage in Europe and elsewhere around the world, many "American" musicians playing Americana grouse that they can't get local airplay. One place you can find these folks is at coffee houses and open air festivals…and in Birmingham, Ron Dometrovich is a fixture on the scene. Dometrovich is a singer-songwriter with a half dozen CDs to his credit. Reporter Frank Thompson sat down this week with Dometrovich to talk about his career.Ron Dometrovich interview
Reporter Frank Thompson, talking with Birmingham's Ron Dometrovich. His latest CD is Young Souls and Old.
Dometrovich and other Americana musicians may have a hard time getting radio airplay, but Americana is big business in the U-S. Here’s some interesting facts, from the Americana Music Association:
The average Americana fan is in his 40s and lives in the south.
Nearly three-fourths are college graduates and nearly half have a household income of at least 80-thousand dollars a year.
Americana consumers are tech-savvy and wired. 64 percent purchase music CD's online and 42 percent download music.
70 percent of Americana consumers buy at least 10 CD's per year. They also attend an average of three live musical events a month at clubs, concerts and festivals.
If your musical tastes lean a bit more – um – political, you might want to check out Birmingham’s George Scherer. This is "Two Bush Blues", off the CD "The Election Year Waltz" We’ll have more of Scherer’s music and an interview – later in the show.
Author T.R. Pearson has been compared to Mark Twain and William Faulkner for his Southern influenced prose and circuitous, anecdotal narratives. Pearson’s first novel, A Short History of a Small Place won rave reviews from readers and the praise of critics as well. Twenty years later, he's out with its sequel: "Glad News of the Natural World", which again follows narrator Louis Benfield. Benfield was 13 and living in North Carolina in the original book. In "Glad News" he’s fully grown, though not quite grown up, and working a collection of odd jobs in New York. WBHM's Tanya Ott spoke with Pearson about the book.Interview with T.R. Pearson
T.R. Pearson, talking about his novel "Glad News of the Natural World". Pearson's next book is a non-fiction retelling of the story of a man who sailed a homebuilt raft across the Pacific.
What's going on in and around the Birmingham area. For additional details, go to our online version of the Community Calendar.Community Calendar
Some people have resisted downloading music from the internet because they like the thrill of discovering lesser known tracks on a CD or they enjoy reading the liner notes and don’t want to miss the cover art. George Scherer's new CD "The Election Year Waltz" offers plenty of inspiration on those fronts. The cover features an elegantly dressed woman with a donkey head dancing with a dapper gentleman with an elephant's head. No surprise from the man who wrote the song "Two Bush Blues", that we heard earlier in the show. This is "Dead Fish Floating" from the same CD. George Scherer's name is being dropped in the same sentences with Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, John Prine and Michelle Schocked. He stopped by our studios recently to talk about it all.Music and interview with George Scherer
George Scherer's new CD is "The Election Year Waltz". He’s a busy man this week. He plays Bailey’s Pub Monday night, On Tap in Lakeview on Wednesday and Marty’s next Thursday. And, we’ve got some of his music available for download on the Tapestry section of our website, wbhm.org.
Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall. Hunter Bell books our musicians. Reporting this week from Frank Thompson. Join us next week for a special one hour edition of Tapestry as we take you a musical tour of City Stages. We’ll cover the history and future of the festival and of course, talk to some of the musicians and sample lots of music. Hope you can join us!
Support for Tapestry comes from the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Funds administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham.