Sunday, March 31, 2013
Lake Tuscaloosa Opry
Alabama Music Office.com goes to Lake Tuscaloosa near Northport, Alabama to attend Lake Tuscaloosa Opry.
This is a place where you can safely take your family for a wholesome evening of grass roots, country western and gospel music. Live music provided by local musicians started out as just a few friends getting together and playing music and it has grown since then. Concerts are held year-round at 7:00 Thursdays, on Lake Tuscaloosa. You'll see fiddles, mandolins, Dobros and guitars on stage. Basically, these are acoustic jam sessions that cater to family audiences. There is $4.00 per person cover charge to help with the expenses like electricity which keeps the air conditioning and heat to provide a comfortable setting for your enjoyment. No alcohol is allowed on the premises and no smoking inside the facility.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Alabama Music Office.com goes to Hoover, Alabama to interview Kendra Sutton.
Kendra Sutton-Mother, Pianist, Singer, Songwriter, Composer and Arranger
I needed a quiet place to interview Kendra. We went to the Hoover Library which we found was not as quiet as one might think. I first met Kendra, several years ago, when Moonlight Music Cafe was in Vestavia Hills.
(Just before our interview, we talked with Wayne Perkins by telephone. He consented to be interviewed by me in the near future. I want that to be on public record with Kendra as my witness. I have always wanted to interview Wayne. Another on my interviewers bucket list is Billy Sherrill.) Kendra met Wayne through Steve Lowery. On their first conversation, which was via telephone, she and Wayne wrote "Vinyl" a song about vinyl records. She tells me, "He (Wayne) has been like a big brother, a mentor to me. He has taught me a lot about music. He has taught me a lot about people. He's taught me about cord structure, progression and tempo changing. Probably the biggest things with him, is tempo changes." She continues, "The best thing about Wayne is he taught me that it's as important to know when not to play as it is to know when to play. I am very blessed to have great friends who are knowledgeable and just good people."
Kendra Sutton is from Birmingham, Alabama. She went to Shades Valley High School. She started playing piano when she was about four years old. At elementary school age she was enrolled in Birmingham Southern Conservatory of Music where she took higher-level classes. She started songwriting at about the age of eleven. That is when she started writing classical compositions.
She started gigging as a solo act. She recorded a solo piano/vocal album "Soft Landing" during that period. Then came Kendra Sutton and the Bad Luck Boys. The Bad Luck Boys was Jubal Dalzell (cello, guitar, mandolin, vocals), Brandon Cates (bass guitar, vocals) and Mark Beasley (drums, percussion). They recorded a CD at Sun Studio in Memphis, amply named "The Sun Sessions." They were an area favorite that gigged in virtually every venue in and around Birmingham. Plus opening for acts such as Rascal Flatts and Kelly Pickler.
There were other bands along the way, but her focus these days is on The Hollows. The Hollows is Kendra, Eric Ominus (bass), Sue Nuchols (fiddle) and Sarah Green (guitar). This band requires that she sing harmony, which she has never done because she has always sung lead vocals. She and Sarah share the lead vocals in The Hollows. She says the band is "unique" in that they play originals and rare covers.
In 2009 Kendra dropped out of the music scene when her eight-year-old daughter, Victoria, was diagnosed with AML - acute myelogenous leukemia. That type of cancer is very rare and very aggressive. Normally AML does not attack children. It is more common with people in their eighties. Kendra said, "It was a fight for her life. It's been very challenging and still till today, we have to handle things differently than we did prior to that, because of her immune system. She is currently off therapy and doing great. She is doing Great!"
Kendra is just now getting back to where she feels comfortable throwing herself back into music again. She put her music career on hold to take care of her daughter. She says Victoria is still her number one priority.
She recently got to be on stage with one of her idols, Randall Bramblett. She was one of the acts playing for Mark Mizells birthday party at Marty's. Bramblett was on the same bill and she had to perform following him. She says, "I though I was going to have a heart attack having to follow him. He was so awesome. He's amazing."
I asked, what do most people not know about Kendra Sutton? She answered, "The best song that I have ever written is going to be my next one. Just trying to write some good stuff. Trying to write some new stuff. Challenging myself and trying to evolve everyday to be a better person, better musician and better songwriter." (Kendra is also an accomplished photographer.)
When asked, where does she see herself in the future? She replied, "I really, really want to get more of my stuff published. I would really love for other people to sing my songs. That is really where my heart is at, in the writing. I see myself doing more gigs with my new band, The Hollows. A show we recently did at Moonlight On The Mountain, which is a very wonderful listening room with incredible sound, I didn't have one but three people come up to me and say that my songs made them cry. All of them had tears in their eyes. That made me feel good, so I guess I want to see more people cry (laughter). In a good way, not in a bad way. I think that is the meaning of soul, it's not the way you sound but the way you feel. You feel soul, you don't hear it."
Published Tannehill Trader April 2013 issue
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Music Business as I see it Today by Jerry W. Henry
In my job I get to hear a lot of different music with much of it sounding the same. There are groups of musicians from different continents, speaking different languages, which do a unique blend of music styles. World music is taking an ever-increasing role in this country largely due to sampling. This music has the potential for change.
For most musicians music is a copycat game that even the mega-entertainment giants play. We have great songwriters and musicians, with others copying them. That is the way it is in this music business. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.
We will always have great songwriters and musicians who will sell very little music because they have very little visual appeal, very little luck and no management. We will always have horrible musicians with glitz and glitter that are in the business to feed their egos with power and money.
That’s the way it is in the music business, but it’s better than being a poultry catcher salesperson.
Shonna Tucker and Eye Candy at Green Bar
About three years ago, I didn’t know a thing about this town’s scenes, despite having lived here since I was five years old. My music experiences were all on the computer in some way, shape, or form. Around this point, I kind of passively listened to a lot of music I would grow to love. A lot can change in three years’ time, as it turns out. In January 2010, I went to the Jupiter Bar and Grill. I went because a friend insisted I go with him to see the Drive-By Truckers play. I knew a little bit about the Truckers, which seems ludicrous that I didn’t know more at that point. More ludicrous than that was my only very slight familiarity with the Dexateens.
I think there’s still a bootleg of that show flying around the internet, but I only remember two things:
1. The bassist of the Dexateens was so damn happy. (I found out later that Matt Patton is a generally happy guy.
2. I think me and my friend had a debate on which of us should marry Shonna Tucker.
2. I think me and my friend had a debate on which of us should marry Shonna Tucker.
Tucker was the lone female member of the Truckers, a damn killer bassist, too. But of course, I was all about if female members of bands were pretty at this point. Which she is, but that’s besides the point. After all of this madness, I got why my friend loved the Truckers so much. I dug into their 2011 record, Go-Go Boots, as well as some great stuff from their earlier catalog. (There’s even a funny story about working at the campus station and fielding a request for “The Righteous Path” by the Truckers literally once a week.)
A lot can change in three years’ time.
On Saturday, Shonna Tucker’s new band Eye Candy is playing the Green Bar. They deserve your attendance. I’ve listened to only one song from their new material, the only song they’ve released so far. It is a song called “Your Jealousy.” Shonna coos that she can see a different side “of your jealousy” and it’s thrilling to hear her get back to talking about a-holes. One of my three favorite songs from Go-Go Boots was a Shonna Tucker written song, “Dancin’ Ricky.” I kind of giggled at Tucker’s pronunciation of “diabetes” because I am an a-hole, but her narrative was a strong piece on an album with some damn good stories.
“Your Jealousy” hints at this a lot. But I’m going to admit, this is more a tacit endorsement to go to this show. I think the type of scene that would read blogs like this has loved the Truckers. And it might be unfair to go in with expectations like a Truckers show. So this is a bit confusing for me to do. But go to this show. Shonna’s one of the most interesting people in Southeastern rock, with or without her previous bands. It’s a Saturday night and Green Bar is booking a show that I guarantee will be interesting. It’s worth it just to see where she goes next.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Bad Brad and The Sipsey Slims at Iron City
Brad Guin aka Bad Brad is an old road dog that paid his dues for over 20 years playing sideman and studio musician for such acts as Eddie Floyd, Bobby Blue Bland, B.B. King, The Temptations, Paul Shaffer, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, The Four Tops, The O'Jays, Greg Allman, Little Milton, Clarence Carter, Buddy Miles, Percy Sledge, Dr. Hook, Tony Joe White, Bonnie Bramlett, T. Graham Brown, Jimmy Hall, Martha and the Vandellas, Fame Studios, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios Horn Section, The Nutt House Studios Horn Section, Emerald Studios, Travis Wammack, Jimmie Johnson, Rick Hall, Wayne Perkins, The Decoys, Jim Nabors, Cornell Dupree, The Muscle Shoals Horns, The Tuscaloosa Horns, The North Mississippi All Stars, David Kimbrough, Musical Fantasy, Rick Carter's League of Legendary Artists (LOLA), Frankie Velvet and the Veltones, Erin Mitchell and many more, as well as many all-star special events bands such as The Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Band, The Muscle Shoals Soul Revue.
Brad has been there and done that as far as life in the music business goes. He has played with hundreds of bands at every possible level and in every scenario. His experience as a player is vast, and his education has come from the great legends of the music industry. Brad has played some of the most illustrious venues in the world: Austin City Limits, The Apollo Theatre, all the Blue Note Clubs in Japan, the star-studded opening of Euro Disney as well as more major festivals than can be remembered, plus the finest theaters and amphitheatres that each major city has to offer. Saying that he is a seasoned pro would be an understatement.
Brad has returned to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where it all began for him. His return brought time to perfect his songwriting. "I consider songwriting to be as much of who I am as my ability as a player. It's as much of who I am, if not more," says Brad. "I love telling stories. I always wanted to cut a record of original material, but I had envisioned a far more instrumental endeavor for one reason. I did not know I could sing. I had no idea. I only started experiencing it after being around Bobby Whitlock, keyboard for Derek & The Dominoes. We would be hanging out drinking coffee, he would sing, and it would come from his toenails. It was awesome. And it was nothing like his speaking voice. I would get in the car after hanging with him and try to do it. It took several years of 'doing it' before I would even attempt it in front of anyone."
"I had all these songs written, and nothing to do with them. I finally wanted to try my hand at producing. I called all my most bad-to-the-bone friends to do a session in the Shoals: Buster Marbury (Grammy award-winning producer and drummer for The Temptations, who flew in from Detroit), Jason Isbell, Ken Waters, Jimbo Hart of the 400 Unit, Greg Lowery, Scott Boyer III, Shane Porter, Chris Gordon, Chad Fisher and Dan Western. I traded a Fender Rhodes piano to my friend Jimmy Nutt for three days in his new Sheffield, Alabama studio, The Nutt House."
"When I cut the vocals, it shocked everyone that knows me, and it has been a wonderful experience arguing with everyone that knows me that it really is me singing on the album. It's Jim Nabors syndrome, because I am country as a turnip green, and I sing like an old black man. That comes from years of passionately listening to Stax, Muscle Shoals, High Records, Motown, Ray Charles, the Philadelphia stuff, the Macon, Georgia stuff and piles of New Orleans music. I can't sing white unless it's country-oriented."
"I grew up so very country on the edge of the Sipsey Swamp. Across the cotton field from my house, bluegrass raged every weekend at least one night if not two, and sometimes all daylong. So, my influences are a culmination of all things southern."
Brad has always had a passion for music. He learned to play the saxophone in the band at Northside High School. He had an excellent band instructor, Roger Mills, who directly and indirectly inspired him to play his sax 7 to 10 hours a day. He and Roger are still friends. Roger now owns Cole Band Instruments in Northport, Alabama. Brad followed his music path to the University of North Alabama where session work soon became plentiful. Then came the life of a sideman on the road. He has come full circle now and has the chops to do what ever he wants. What he wants is to play you his songs that he does so very, very well. Folks, look back over the list of super pros Brad has played for. It stands to reason that over that time Brad became a pro. In other words, he is a 'bad' sax player. Truth be known, Brad Guin just might be the baddest of the baddest. You owe it to yourself and Southern music in general to experience, Bad Brad & The Sipsey Slims. Yep, Bad 'Bama' Brad Guin is an Alabama frontman to watch.
Published December 2012 issue of Tannehill Trader
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Eye Candy at the Green Bar "Strawberry Wine" March 2013
Alabama Music Office.com goes to the Green Bar in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a performance by Eye Candy.
Shonna Tucker and Eye Candy
Shonna Tucker grew up in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, listening to the same salty-sweet mix of soul and country that made up the Arthur Alexander and James Carr singles recorded there decades before. She played bass in the Shoals scene from her high-school years until starting an eight-year stint as bassist and singer for the Drive-By Truckers. The music she makes today in Athens, Georgia, flows from the same vein as the music she grew up with: songs that haunt and float like Dolly’s “Down from Dover” and ones that pulse and move like Otis’ “Hard to Handle,” rockers that are right at home on the stage of the 40 Watt downtown and folk songs that are at home among the donkeys and hens on her farm outside town.
Shonna’s band, Eye Candy, includes four of the most prolific players in the Athens music scene: John Neff on guitar and pedal steel, Bo Bedingfield on guitar, Neil Golden on keyboards, and Clay Leverett on drums. For nearly twenty years, John has been one of the town’s most sought-after collaborators in the studio and on the road. Bo is singer/songwriter and leader of the Wydelles, and has backed up several other local songwriters on drums and guitar. Clay led the Athens rock band Lona for eight years before starting honky-tonk band the Chasers, and has played drums and toured with Bright Eyes and Now It’s Overhead. Neil, former member of the Glands and Elf Power, also writes and sings for Golden Brown.
Shonna Tucker and Eye Candy’s debut album, A Tell All, was recorded by Kyle Spence (Harvey Milk), and features ten songs about love and jealously, nights spent on the road and nights spent in the kitchen, the things men do to women and women do for men. The record will be released in 2013, and the band kicks off its first tour of the South in March.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Alabama Music Office.com goes to The Booth in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a performance by Plato Jones.
Plato Jones is a four-piece band that lights up the stage with their musical showmanship. Eric Fry, drums/vocals, and Tyler Crawford, bass/vocals, hold down the rhythm section and provide sweet harmonies to the melody. William Stephenson, guitar/lead vocals, and Theo Pinson, piano/organ/synth, light up the high end and hammer down the melodic tunes. William, Tyler, and Eric started playing live shows in January of 2005, and Theo joined the band in August of 2005 to give the group the full sound that they were looking for. Due to their fusion of jam, blues, and rock and roll, Plato Jones has quickly risen to become one of Tuscaloosa's signature bands. Since their debut in January 2005, the band has played over 600 shows around Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. All the members of the band grew up together in Athens, Alabama, and now reside in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. With 3 out of the 4 members finished with school, the band is anxious to hit the studio and the road. Although well established in and around Tuscaloosa, Plato Jones is looking to broaden their horizons and tour all over the southeast.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
URI at Moe's Original Bar B Que 2
Alabama Music Office.com goes to Moe's Original Bar B Que in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a performance by URI. They play an infectious hybrid blend of Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz and Rock.
Uri Music Review By Thomas Trey Brooks
Uri Horton has been a staple of the live music scene in Tuscaloosa for years now. The man brings infectious grooves to a funky mix of rock and hip hop. I would even go out on a limb and say that he is the best bass player in town right now. Fronting his self-named band, Uri has played with a wide array of musicians and has been featured in most venues in Tuscaloosa, as well as some out-of-town gigs including Birmingham. I've seen many of his shows, and they are always a treat to watch.
Last Thursday, Uri played at 5 Bar in downtown Tuscaloosa. It was a small show, as the only other musician to join him was guitarist Ham Bagby. I had heard of Bagby before, but had never seen him play. Boy, was I in for a treat. He was on fire that night, stringing together blistering solos with relative ease. What surprised me was how well he and Uri played together. Both are fantastic musicians, but their individual styles are not exactly cohesive, or so I thought. Bagby has a very distinct twang to his guitar style, very Duane Allman inspired. Uri is all about backbeat, which makes since given his background in funk and rap. However, the ebb and flow between the two was completely natural and never felt uneasy. The duo clearly had a history together, which was made clear by their playful banter between songs.
The set was heavy on covers. These were wide-ranging and included "When Doves Cry," "Stand By Me," "Get Low," and "Gin and Juice," among others. It was typical Uri fare for the most part, including originals like "Monster in This Game," which Uri was apprehensive about playing without his full band. His fear was not realized as the song sounded just as good with a limited format. However, Bagby injected some country music into the fold, completely out of Uri's territory. In fact, these songs were the highlight of the night as they were a total departure from the norm, and Uri attacked them head on. There was some comedy, including one of the country songs whose lyrics I will decline to mention yet fully enjoyed. In all, the show was a pleasant surprise. While I have been a fan of Uri's for some time and have never been disappointed in his shows, they had become quite predictable over time. But not this time. This one kept me guessing, and I definitely enjoyed that.
My main point of criticism comes with the venue. 5 is a restaurant more than a bar. You can't really see the stage well from the bar, so I sat at one of the tables closer to the stage. This put me among the people cleaning up, which was a distraction from the show. There was also not much advertising for the event. I only found out about the show through happenstance, which is surprising given how well-known both performers are among the regular bar crowd in Tuscaloosa. In all, there may have been about fifteen people there, including staff. This isn't a condemnation of 5 as a whole; It just wasn't very well suited for the show that was performed. I must, however, compliment them on the décor and lighting. It surrounded the music with a good atmosphere.
Published: Planet Weekly June 2012
URI at Moe's Original Bar B Que Video 1
Alabama Music Office.com goes to Moe's Original Bar B Que in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend a performance by URI. This Tuscaloosa based band does a hybrid blend of Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz and Rock.
URI by Jerry W. Henry
Published Planet Weekly Oct. 2010
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Alabama Music Office.com goes into our studios to video a collage entitled, I Am The Guitarist.
I have constructed collages as a way to relax since the early '90's. I sold most of them over the years, but managed to keep a few. Many hung in my former studio and I no longer have the space to display them. I Am The Guitarist was one of the most popular, especially for guitar players. There are words of wisdom that hopefully inspired some of them. I would appreciate your comments-Jerry W. Henry
Monday, March 11, 2013
Debbie Bond and The TRUDATS at DanielDay Gallery
Alabama Music Office.com goes to DanielDay Gallery to attend a performance by Debbie Bond and The TRUDATS.
Singer, guitar player and songwriter Debbie Bond has been paying her dues in the Alabama backwoods for over 30 years. Her singing has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur, both of whom she cites as being influences on her music. The truth is that Debbie does it her way, playing a dynamic mix of house-rockin' covers and searing originals. Her impressive musical story includes years of performing with older traditional Alabama blues musicians, including Johnny Shines, Eddie Kirkland and Willie King. Her immersion in the blues has deeply flavored her guitar playing, soulful voice and original song writing, yet her sound is contemporary and original, incorporating soul, blues, rock, jazz and even country influences. This unique musical synthesis can be heard on her latest album, 2011's Hearts Are Wild.
She was the co-founder and executive director of the award-winning Alabama Blues Project, an educational non-profit devoted to preserving and promoting Alabama's rich blues heritage.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Bennett Limbaugh Interview
Alabama Music Office.com goes into our studios to interview Bennett Limbaugh. He is the bass player in the band, Bad Brad and The Sipsey Slims. He is a Northridge High School Alumni.
www.badbradmusic.com tells us:
Bennett Limbaugh is as smooth as he is tall. And that's pretty damn smooth.
In the tradition of players like David Hood and Donald "Duck" Dunn, Limbaugh is a bass player with equal parts groove and panache. He, like band-mate and compadre' Tyler Carter, cut his teeth in blues music-- and you can hear the evidence in his performance.
He's a great pocket player. As a student of Southern music, Limbaugh plays a bass guitar inspired by the music of Muscle Shoals and Memphis, with a dollop of Clarksdale right in the sweet spot.
It's a retro style, to be sure. Even down to his guitar cable - the same kind of cable that ran from your telephone to the wall... before they became cordless. Likewise, his playing is the type of style you used to hear in music... before people lost their hearing.
I heard someone leaving one of his performances tell his friend that "the bass player made it look easy and effortless"-- and there's no doubt about that.
That's probably the best compliment you can give a bassist. And Limbaugh is the personification of it.
Monday, March 4, 2013
George Lair T-Shirt Collection Music Video
Alabama Music Office.com wants to recognize George Lair for donating his T-Shirt collection. We appreciate all donations concerning Alabama music memorabilia and monies. George's collection has a lot of Alabama Music Hall of Fame events, early Muscle Shoals Sound T-shirts, MSMA shirts and much more.
The music is by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section from their AMHOF Limited Edition CD. Two of the songs were written by Pete Carr. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section is David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Beckett. Additional players were Pete Carr, Mickey Buckins,Lenny LeBlanc and Randy McCormick.