September 18, 2008...
The Leeds Depot is spruced up with new paint on the caboose and fresh crape myrtles planted out front. The makeover is just in time for the Leeds Downtown Folk Festival this weekend. There will be folk music from Birmingham's Ron Dometrovich and old-time string band Flying Jenny. Also, gospel music from The Plantation Heirs - who dress in 19th century period clothing to sing traditional spirituals. Plenty of artisans round out the event, including Marie Jeff, who makes decorative gourds and textiles in her home in Crestwood. WBHM's Tanya Ott sat down with Jeff to talk about her work.
The Leeds Festival honors John Henry. Of course, we all know the Ballad of John Henry, which tells the story of the powerful African-American spike driver who competed against a steam drill and died after winning the contest. Some folklorists believe that not only was John Henry a real person, but that the contest occurred just east of Birmingham. Dr. John Garst is emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia and he says he can prove the Birmingham connection.
John Garst - emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Georgia. The Leeds Downtown Folk Festival & John Henry Days Festival is this weekend
Actor John Wright Junior takes the stage in Birmingham next week for a one-man show called Songs and Stories. Closing in on 81-years old, Wright has a lot of songs - and stories - to tell and he shared some of them with WBHM's Tanya Ott.
John Wright Junior's one-man show is Songs and Stories is next weekend at the Virginia Samford Theatre.
What to know 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.
Birmingham rockers Skeptic? continue to focus on the hardcore punk they're drawn to, but it's been more difficult since the death of founding member Jon Darnell in a sky diving accident last year. Lead singer Barron says it hasn't been the same since. Barron keeps making music, with bassist Matt, drummer Ritchie and guitarist Jeff. Yes - they all go by first names only. This is the song "They Say" from their new CD-single called "Stand Today". The new CD is a mix of studio songs - and live performances, like this version of their original song "Crosses Field". (AUDIO MONTAGE)
Skeptic? plays The Nick October 8th
Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall, with help this week from Coleman Lipsey and Islara Vazquez. Next week on Tapestry, Eastern meditation comes to Alabama. We'll hear about inmates practicing Vipassana meditation from the filmmaker who documented their journey. I'm Greg Bass, and we'll see you next week.