Monday, September 25, 2006

Trees with Bells - The last Sarashow at the Moonlight

This Thursday, September 28th, 8pm




So one day, I happened to look in the paper and saw that a good friend of mine from Illinois was playing that very night at a venue I'd never even heard of before called the Moonlight Music Cafe. I was a bit under the weather that day, it being the tail end of my rehabilitation at Healthsouth from my first MS attack, so I missed the show. I promised myself that as soon as I was able, I'd go up to Vestavia and check the place out, because if Bill Passalaqua of the infamous Poss family (the Music dynasty of Effingham) had played there, it must be something special.

I dropped by there one afternoon. I walked up the stairs and into a long purple room. The man behind the counter had a smile and handshake waiting for me, ready and willing to tell me all about the place, of his dreams of a venue for original acoustic music... Keith made me a latte and I sat at a table and thumbed through a magazine. Almost immediately the phone rang. Keith paced across the floor, looked at me and smiled. The manager, Lindsey Stone, had seen me walk from the car to the door as he left on some errands. He remembered me from my tenure at Slip Disc. "If she's looking for a job, give it to her."

Seriously, I did not walk into that door looking for a job. It had been enough, just to get where I was at that point, surviving, living my life again. It seems heavy to think of it now. It was heavy then. I had recently discussed with my parents about going back to school. I still had my Cobra insurance from Compass. I had left my music, my dreams of the store behind...it was time to start anew. And was this opportunity, amazing to me. It may seem small. In fact, I'm sure there are alot of people reading this who've never even heard of the Moonlight, let alone set foot inside the place... But let me tell you this....this little room...this candlelit bubblegum purple room gave me another chance. Not only that, it gave me a new family...Keith and Joni and Kristin and Greg, Herb and Cathy and Carrie and Jason, Adeebah and Jen, Taylor, Sunni and Amber...friends who've had such an impact on my life.




When I had my second attack in the spring of 2004, I was in the hospital, in a room at Brookwood, just over the hill from the Moonlight. I remember Jason Bailey played and Joni called me and held up that phone and I cried. I knew that I would get better. I knew that the MS would not lick me if there were such incredible sounds in this world, if there were people who cared that much.

After my recovery, I continued to work there, bartending. I met many more new faces, heard so much great music, Caroline Herring, Leslie Helpert, Andru Bemis. Bill Passalaqua finally came back.

I started working at St. Vincents. Still helped out a bit at the Moonlight. I kept up with Joni and Keith. I saw the many friends I made at the moonlight all over town. I kept intouch with artists that had played there and made sure to refer musicians I came in contact with to Keith. Somehow, somewhere, I started putting together shows. Not sure how that happened. How did that happen? I do know that I've been fortunate enough to put together some shows that I'm really proud of.

I also have found and can't believe that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of something that is truly unique and special. I can not believe that soon it will all be ending.

My last show for the Moonlight is September 28th. I've asked a Birmingham band to play that I truly admire and really think exude this sort of extraordinary spirit and talent that has claimed it's rightful place at the Moonlight.



That band is Trees with Bells.

Come out and celebrate 3 years of great memories and music with me.

Thursday, September 28th, 2006
Doors open at 8pm
$10

http://www.moonlightmusiccafe.com
http://www.myspace.com/treeswithbells

Sweet Sunday


images courtesy of Leah of Red Blondehead

In truth, as I knelt up there on stage and beat out rhythms onto the floor at the Wrens show, these were the three things going through my head:

1. "Crap. Now Brian's going to have to repaint the stage."

2. "I hope that guy in front of me doesn't mind that I keep hitting him the ass with my drumstick. Here, let me switch hands, maybe that will give me enough range not to have to ....nope, still hitting him....crap...let me try this side...ow..that's uncomfortable...maybe if I take just do a few beats instead off the whole cadence...maybe the guy will have less of a bruise tomorrow....um..." Sorry yellow shirt guy. It's all in the name of rock, right?




3. The obligatory -"This SONG IS AMAZING!" Because it really was. What an incredible sound experience. I kept watching Charles Bissell clicking between pedals and closing his eyes through the set...jumping back and turning side to side, holding his guitar, beating out rhythms, his eyes would fly open and he'd look around as if he had just awoke from some sort of dreamlike soundscape. He created it. He's like my friend Andrew, creating all of those beautiful little sounds during and inbetween that make listening so much more worthwhile.

The Wrens. So good.

Barton Carroll played a completely different set last night. It was dark and sweet for a Sunday.
His set included Vulture (a request), Small Thing, Cat on a Beach, Superman, and a song I was not familiar with, about a man living his life in the shadow of his older brother...I turned to Travis after this song was over. He was smiling, his eyebrows raised, his heart shining through his eyes. I felt the same.

I've been enjoying Barton's album for quite a while...it's become my soundtrack for the ride home on late jovial night, almost like a book of bedtime stories to unwind.

(Okay, I know they are stories full of desperation and fear in time of war, lost loves and quiet obsession...but tragedy is meant to cleanse the soul right? And what better way to arrive home after a big night out, all of your emotions left in the driver- side floorboard of your car.)

Tonight is Jose Gonzalez at the Bottletree. It will be an incredible show.
Don't miss it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Illinois



My foot is still swollen (I accidently pulverized an ant hill...fire ants...bad), but Sufjan Stevens is in my heart.

Trace Face and I departed for the ATL at around 3:30pm.
I had never been to the Fox before. Freaking Beautiful.

Adding to the beauty were the fluttering butterfly wings worn by Sufjan's band. He wore wings of a condor, moving slightly back and forth as he played....I kept waiting for the absurd moment when he would be lifted off of the stage to float above the crowd.

When he played Jacksonville, the screen behind his glowed with images of Metropolis, Illinois. Is it weird that that made me homesick? Is it weird that in a way that whole album made me long for the flatlands and long winters of Illinois?

I haven't been back in a while, not to my home. I missed my ten year class reunion this summer. Something seems lost. I found all of these pictures the other day of High School formals, Homecoming, Prom. Yes Tony. I even found the one of you and I sitting in the Christmas sleigh. I took the pictures with me to the Bottletree to show some friends. As I turned them up to the light, they became not memories, but glimpses into a forgotten time, like this other life, this other me. Illinois seems so far away. I find myself hearing the forlorn whispers and quiet remembrances of home within the climbing tones of Sufjan's songs.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Skybucket Showcaseness

Photos taken at the Skybucket shows
August 25, 2006 - Bama Theatre in Tuscaloosa
September 15 & 16, 2006 - Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham



















Dude, we had so much fun....so much fun.

More More More pictures

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ghetto Bells in Birmingham


From the Archives of Earfood:

A piece I wrote about the Jonathan Richman/ Vic Chesnutt show on October 8, 2005:

I wish I could tell you, explain to you what you missed Tuesday night, by not coming. If you've never been to the Moonlight Music Cafe before, let me tell you, to see a show there is an intimate thing. The quiet, the silent attention given to artists can either be horrifying or gratifying. I've heard some say they hate to play there because all of the attention is directed to them, they're used to being background noise in a smokey bar.

Vic Chesnutt thrived. He sang of his memories so loud and high with his head held back and his heart held out. The notes plucked with a strange confident pause became a vessel for his every day drama. And that is what I loved, he sings like we speak. He tells a story of a wild girl he loved in the high school band and how she turned square (Band Camp) or what boys and girls say to each other during a particularly uncomfortable date and we bolt upright in our seats with burning faces and laughter rolling out of our chests. His closing song was based on the comments of a young fan who had approached Vic after a show The boy told Vic how much he loved his music, how he had downloaded Vic's songs, but that he couldn't buy a cd that night because beer was too expensive. He didn't have a ticket for Vic to sign because he had gotten into the show for free (His friend knew the doorman). But, "will you sign my IPod? Will you sign my IPod, please?" We wanted Vic to play on and on. But he smiled and unfastened his guitar and left the stage, which was to be taken over shortly by Jonathan Richman.

Later, I approached Vic to ask him a few questions about a band he knew way back when, Smoke. My friend John is looking for Brian Hollerin and thought Vic might know how to get in touch with him. As we were talking, Vic kept looking up over my shoulder and then back to me with a pleasant, busy smile. I turned to my right, to catch sight of his distraction. Will Ferrell was standing there (what?), waiting, so I hastily thanked Vic, and sped away. Surreal. The contrast between the small quiet songwriter and the tall actor was a bit startling.

Vic will continue to tour this fall to promote his latest album with New West "Ghetto Bells", many dates with the freestyle dancing, multi-lingual, cow bell loving Jonathan Richman. Quite a pair. Check out Vic Chesnutt's website for tour details, MP3s, pictures, and the latest news.

www.vicchesnutt.com

www.newwestrecords.com

She's a Study



TV Eyes:

Jason Falkner - Three O'Clock, Jellyfish, the Grays, studio and/or touring musician for Air, Beck, Eric Matthews, Susannah Hoffs, Weezer, Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Man, Lisa Loeb, Travis, Sir Paul McCartney and many, many more...

Roger Manning Jr. - Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, Air, Moog Cookbook, Beck

Brian Reitzell - Redd Kross, Air, Music Producer/Supervisor for soundtracks - The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Thumb Sucker, Marie Antionette, Friday Night Lights



From Roger Manning's website:

"While working on the Air album in Paris in the winter of '99, Brian Reitzell and I fantasized about putting together yet another side project (we had already teamed up for the soundtrack album to Logans Sanctuary, the fictitious follow up to Sci-fi film classic Logan's Run, for Emperor Norton Records). We had had such fun working with old Jellyfish band mate Jason Falkner on a couple of tracks for the soundtrack album that we wondered what would happen if we all got together for a new project inspired by all of our collective 80s influences. TV Eyes was born kind of. Jason was inspired by the idea as well, and in the summer of 2000 we finally began. We wrote the album in one week in Jason's living room but unfortunately spent the next two years, because we were all so busy with other projects, recording several versions of the record, trying to perfect our vision before unveiling it to our collective fans. From the winter of 2002 to the spring of 2003 we developed the most elaborate live show any of us had ever been involved with individually or together. Determined to execute the album live as a trio, we assembled not only complex backing track accompaniment but all original synced video to be shown on a stage screen behind us. TV Eyes debuted its 10 song album and accompanying video show in May of 2003 to sold-out crowds at Los Angeles' Troubadour and Synthetic night clubs. We played additional shows in October of 2003 as well. After many mixed reviews of both colossal praise and simultaneous utter confusion from the major labels, we continue to this day in trying to find a proper home for the release of the record...."


It's 2006. Crap. The 12" single released on Emperor Norton sold out long ago. But you can still download a few songs here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sideburns....A new look for me.

Pictures from the Skybucket Showcase at the Bama theatre in Tuscaloosa.
August 25th, 2006


Sara Leah Skybucket and Craig from the Dexateens



Jody and Greg from Through the Sparks



Keelan and Les from the Fizz


Keelan and Les go to the Prom


Travmo and Miss Kim


"Falafel Beluga Whale. Falafel."

a homemade love and a heart of gold

originally posted April 6, 2006



"And you won't have to ask if I'll be here...isn't love the reason to live in the dark...."

Driving over the mountain to the Moonlight tonight, I grasped my phone tightly to my ear, dicussing with one of my dearest friends in the wide world the sound of Barton Carroll. I tried to tell D of the darkness, the beauty, the strange sorrow of his light woodworkers voice, the kind of sad dream that you would find on the front porch of a cabin, rocking back in his chair and telling stories of lost loves, lost moments, lost days...his is a voice of sunset, the sound of the coming night and all of it's long kept secrets.

With all of this that I was thinking, everything swirling around in my head through the traffic and busy night lights, all I actually said to him was this (lord help me), "You know how when you think of Iron and Wine, you picture a field, Barton Carroll is the woods." Does that really capture this, every little thing I wanted to say? No. He laughed and said that it made sense in that Saraway. I smiled. He knows me too well. We spent last summer catching up after years apart, writing not just every day, but almost every hour. He became my best friend and closest confidant. I miss the job I had, if anything but for the hours I sat after my little amount of work was finished, I had so much time to tell him everything. Now I fly and fly and fly. I know he knows and understands. I just miss our emails of whimsy and lunch plans as we sat 500 miles apart.

A small family of listeners sat close tonight as Russell Medford, Donna Jean Godchaux-McKay, and Rob Malone led an absolutely brilliant set. I wish that I could convey to you what the Fiddleworms have become, performing as a live band. Everytime I see them play, I am surprised by their tightness, the intricate little lines sewn by each musician through out this warm, loveworn patchwork quilt. As the Fiddleworms play, each one in turn rustles into step, side to side in an earthy, full hearted wonderland of sound. Tonight, tonight was even more special. Tonight was an acoustic set complete with piano and high harmonies. The blend was perfect. It was a small crowd, as I said, and it was another one of those nights when I wished that by a push of a buttom, or even by a simple thought, I could bring all of those close to me instantly there, just to experience what I was experiencing, just to know.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Would that I were you....



I'd think the same thing too...

I'm listening to Sun Kil Moon. Leaning back to peer through the partition to make sure that no patients have wandered through the door silently. A little paranoia, when I hear the door slam across the room, down the hall, but it's just Alicia, the lab tech. Nevermind.

Carry Me Ohio
I see Kristin the Canadian's tri-shaded pink converse resting on the dashboard of my car. I see the morning drive, returning from Nashville, just as the sky turns grey and it starts to rain. We decide to get off of the interstate. I turn down a road and see a sign for the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee. We drive and drive down this empty fourlaned highway for a really long time. I keep looking at the clock...I've already missed English class that morning...I can miss Mass Com too.
This trip was worth it. The Mark Kozelek show from the night before, dark stage and shadowed grimace, crazy guitar fingerings and beautiful low tired voice, echoing through the speakers of the stock stereo in my honda civic, pulling the grey day into our car with a smile.

I always liked rainy days. Growing up in Brownstown, during spring showers, I would run out sans shoes and socks to saunter through the puddles pooling up on the warm asphalt road. I miss that smell. Not like the rain here in the city. There was a greenness to it, the fresh and cool and clean of a muddley puddley day.

muddley puddley...

Kristin and I never did make it to the distillery. We drove and drove and once the rain started to come down a bit harder, it's almost as if it pounded the life out of our little side trip. Pulling back out onto the interstate a little while later, we looked at each other and smiled. It was enough, this moment was enough, there would be something somewhere else on down the road, maybe something more interesting.

Mark's guitar made the wheels turn in time...the rain drumming out the changes....


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the best Sara Miller Sunday/Amber's Going Away For Another Week Party ever.


Wilson Pickett's Land of a 1000 Dances broke into a small conversation last night and suddenly I found myself surrounded by my friends, who were all dancing dancing dancing. Down in the basement of the Pickwick, in a beautiful smelly divebar named the Upsidedown Plaza, we jumped across the empty dirty floor between the bar and the Jukebox and laughed and screamed and shimmied our way through a short moment of euphoria.

When the song ended and Amber and I looked at each other and smiled the widest smiles, panting and rocking back and forth a bit, like one might after they've finished a short but hard run... Instead, this was the Jerk, the Mashed Potato, the Alligator....

She stood next to Will, her nametag matching "I (heart) Bill" to his "Billy Bob". I had started tagging my friends earlier afternoon, from a box of VISITOR stickers which I'd found in a dusty corner of the ER office. After we'd all been sporting our new nicknames for the better part of an hour, more and more people came over to ask me to name them too. I doubt by this point that I was really very clever (being a few redneck corona's in), but it was fun just the same, naming a member of the newly formed Sunday night Hat Club "Hairyhead" and slapping a sticker that said nothing more or less than "I LIKE CHEESE" on the chest of an intoxicated frat boy.

Good times.

So this coming weekend is a big one.
(don't they all seem to be as of late? It's so freaking awesome!)

Barton Carroll will be flying in from the evil Northwest to tour in support of his latest album on Skybucket, "Love & War". He'll start in Charlotte with an instore and a show on Thursday and will be coming to Birmingham on Saturday the 16th for the second night of the Skybucket Showcases.

Skybucket Showcases?

Yes. Two shows this weekend at the Bottletree. I"m so so so excited.
Here are the line ups/beautiful posters:

Friday:
The Grenadines
Through the Sparks
Wes McDonald and the Fizz




Saturday:
The Great Book of John
Barton Carroll
13ghosts



The posters were designed by Zach Hobbes.

Don't they remind you of Weeble Wobbles?

In any event, we'll be bringing the Skybucket Photobooth to the show. So you can get your picher taken just as purty as them boys from the Fizz:



JR Taylor says nice things about Barton Carroll in the Black and White.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Animental




I leaned against a pole in the center of the room. I leaned so hard that I thought for a moment, "what if it bends and breaks in two and everything falls in, on top of this strange and alarming and terribly captivating performance?" I turned to Daniel, standing beside me. He turned his eyes to mine and we smiled. In front of us were three girls in subtly tie dyed dresses and feathered caps. They flapped their sleeves and bent to the ground. They wound around in circles and leaned into the audience and back into each other, cawing and cooing of the end of their futuristic world all the while. When they finally crept up on stage and picked up their instruments, the music was a lifetime of discord. The drummer held her hands high in the air and dropped them suddenly and deliberately, beating with dramatic, stilted action. The turn into this low, deep metal, slow and dying, I leaned harder into the pole beside me, eyes aflame, mouth agape, smile perking the corners. The ladies from Animental then dropped their instruments and grabbing their microphones, crept off of the front of the stage. A beat track jumped from the speakers and the three started to gyrate and dance, rhyming through crackling microphones... After it was over, this guy turned to me, eyes staring into the distance with a bit of disbelief. "It was like thirty years of music packed into what? Forty-five minutes?" I couldn't get the image out of my head, the fluttering sleeves and the awkward turning turning turning....the drummers heavy handed beats, the quiet caw-caws in otherwise silent moments...

bizarre and wonderful.

SHOW LISTING

Animental
buzzard (we're a country band, and we like to play for country folk.)
the Celebs (This is a song about laser boobs, it's called "Laser Boobs")
No-Kachina -- incredible experiments of sound and atmosphere
Ben Martin DJing..
@the Hot L Birmingham, June 13th

Here are some great shots of an Animental show in Toronto (2004)

"More Cowbell is the new Freebird"

Josh Malerman stated, arms crossed and leaning against a pool table at the Upsidedown Plaza. Just four hours earlier, the dreaded phrased was thrown across the Library Theatre stage again and again as Josh stood with Chad's bass guitar in hand, surrounded by a small army of wannabe rock stars, all under the age of thirteen.

He and his band, The High Strung, had just played a full set to a room of bookworms and their parents. As each song progressed, I had noticed a few more small heads bobbing, a few more small bodies leaning forward scratching their heads and twitching in their seats with excitement. For many of them, this would be their first show. The first time they would witness a man in real life beat the crap out of a pair of drums with incredible grace and a smile on his face. This would set the standard. Derek would become an icon of beat and rhythm to a few front row beamers, blonde messy hair and summer clothes, playing air drums and staring at his every movement.




During the show, Chad donned his Rockgles (good one, Amber), and leaned forward, head flailing as his fingers sped up and down the frets, smiling his quiet, knowing smile as Josh hailed him "The Greatest Bass Player in the World". Josh took his familiar pace back and forth from the microphone, stopping and crossing his legs, bending down over his guitar. strumming at a feverish pace. This was their thirteenth show in a tour of over 60. 60 dates of sharing with little kids and young teens the magic of rock'n'roll. 60 dates of passing out picture books and percussion instruments to a room full of hyperactive youngsters. 60 dates of writing songs full of nonsense and wonder. That's right, every show they write a song.

At this moment, I see the significance of Josh's story of the prospective contest with Robert Pollard of GBV, writing a song a day for a year....instead he and Chad and Derek are writing one song a day with a room full of children who've just had their afternoon snack (in this case, popcorn, sprite, and mini candybars), or who may have been bussed in from a school for the behaviorally challenged, the crowd may be big or small, they may stick their fingers in their ears nd complain or run at the band full force with enthusiasm.... Dear lord, how I commend my friends. What an amazing task, an incredible journey. I'm so glad that they are documenting every stop along the way. Jeff, a friend from Detroit, is riding along with them, acting as cameraman/soundman, for the tour. 22,000 miles. Brave beautiful boy.






(excerpt from an email I wrote earlier today to bt and mc)

"The boys' van ended up breaking down in 5 Points last night as we were all leaving the Plaza to go home. They thought it might be the battery so we hooked my car to theirs and shared the last of pizza from dinner. I think that image will always stay in my mind, Josh leaning back in the passenger's seat, eyes tired and smiling, passing a piece of thin crust veggie pizza from his window to mine, the low hum of my engine, headlights blaring across the street in front of us, M Ward on the radio.

Derek finally took apart the dashboard of the van, in a ritual of layers that almost seemed like the undressing of Darth Vader's helmet, revealing instead of scarred flesh, a dark bulk of machinery. Josh then passed around a box of cookies. I decided to climb in the back seat of the van, bounding in along side chad as he scrolled through his Itunes, looking for an appropriate soundtrack.

It had been a good night since leaving the library. Derek and I had dominated the sport of pool (beating Josh and Chad, Jeff and Amber again and again) (which is strange because we are both total shit shooters and everyone else would plan out their shots, take time to discuss, pointing their sticks this way and that). The boys got to write on the wall of the Plaza. We all clog danced on the makeshift stage set up on the steps of the church behind the fountain. Jeff (dude making the documentary of their travels) declared Birmingham "a fun city". It WAS a good night. When the ancient engine of the High Strungs van finally rumbled to life, it was around 2am. We hugged goodbye and went our separate ways."



Check out the High Strung's site for tour dates and downloads, the latest news and the a great great video they made at a motel 6 with the Capitol Years....wait...that doesn't sound quite right....

Myspace

Swiftly Converted

Another from Archives of Earfood:

Written on Thursday, September 29 2005 after experiencing a pretty breath-taking surprise on a late night at the Nick:



The Posies were the reason that I was standing at the bar last Wednesday night, drink in my hand, joy in my heart. I had waited ten years to see them play and sat there in quiet anticipation with my little notebook and my circle of friends. It was early and the Posies weren't to play for a while yet. Richard Swift and the Sons of National Freedom took the stage for their sound check. I turned my head sideways for a glance as they all turned and tuned their thoughts and instruments...then a wall of sound burst forth. Who are these guys? What is this? Everyone at the bar around me stopped for a moment and looked up. The music was a haunting, solid, intricate affair, traces of ragtime, sweet and sour, full of driving melodies. It was not like anything I've been listening to lately, but then again, walked along side the recent work of M Ward and Sufjan Stevens with a little skip and a wink. I helped myself out of the leopard clad barstool and walked over to Jason Maston, Richard Swift's merch guy to get the 411.

Jason smiled warmly as I sat on my knees on the Nick floor staring up at him with an excited questioning glance...he told me that Richard writes everything, recorded almost everything on his albums. Everyone on the tour, every musician is a good friend of Richard's who wanted to come out and support him. Jason referred to Richard as the one area of his life that he really believes in. I saw that devotion in these amazing musicians throughout the set, each playing off the other, Rich Young and his tight accommodating rhythms, Byron Hagon, trading places with Swift at the keys, then effortlessly switching back to another keyboard and laptop with a face full of busy intent. Bassist Eli Thompson sang quiet harmonies as Erick Cole stared patiently at the floor, long arms caressing the guitar with each gentle note. I'm not sure if it was a surprise at all when Swift began to play the keys at one point and every member of his band put down their instruments, walked off of the stage and around to the front. They stood, arms folded, glistening, happy, into the moment as if they had come to the show just to see him play.

The lyrics to each song were searching, desperate, regretful, yet strangely jubilant. I felt as if I had walked up the stairs into the attic of an old vacant house, and had found numerous treasures of an era long pastbut with each memento, each quiet song reflected the hopes and fears and slightly sarcastic turns of a more contemporary memory.

Richard Swift originally released his two LPs the Novelist and Walking Without Effort on Californias Velvet Blue Music. In 2004, they were re-released as a double album under Secretly Canadian. Richard and the Sons of National Freedom will continue touring this fall. Check out their schedule, home movies, and tour diary on their website at www.richardswift.us

I bought a heart made of art in the deep deep south....

So--
One of my favorite bands in the wide wide world played at the Bottletree last Friday night.

I think it was February of 2005 that I first found Hope For Agoldensummer. I was playing the friend of a friend game on Myspace, going from Caleb engstrom, a boy I knew in college, on to a band he was friends with post Greenville, to a friend of theirs and so on.... I took the time to listen to the bands that afternoon that I would run across, band after band after band... and then there was this moment. I had stopped on the page of a band form Athens, and this beautiful xylophone and guitar intro danced out of the computer speakers and into my hungry workday ears. The recording was live, the song was Malt Liquor, and to be honest Claire Campbell's voice came across as this completely androgynous, heartfelt pleading raw piece of lovely. I didn't know what to do with it, except play it over and over and over.

As I started to book a few shows, here and there, for the Moonlight Music Cafe, I couldn't get the thought of Hope For Agoldensummer playing that small purple room out of my head. I heard from Chip, the drummer for Wild Sweet Orange and The Great Book of John, that Claire was interested in breaking into Birmingham, thinking of Workplay. I knew Workplay was not for them. The Moonlight show was very small, attended by a group of friends and family members, it was beautiful, this perfect night. At the Moonlight, a listening room, people were listening, catching every little moment of genius as it came whether by saw or skillet or accordion.

The next step, I thought to myself as I watched the band pack up their gear that evening, was to get them to the Bottletree.

So it happened, this last weekend, Hope For Agoldensummer played at the Bottletree with the Delicate Cutters. I don't think could be a venue in Birmingham better suited for them. This tribe of artists bringing together such vibrant and incredible sounds in a place where the increasingly eclectic, beautiful music scene of Birmingham has put in roots and has started to flourish. This makes me so happy.

.

http://www.thebottletree.com


"I never wanted just one thing..."

"...I always figured there was something else..." - Land it, Wes McDonald




"This is no acoustic show," I wrote in the brown book, standing back between the dressing room door and the door to the office, leaning against the chewing-gum- purple walls and scribbling like mad. "This is a sit-a-man-down, electric, rock'n' roll river of dreams....I never had heard them sound so good. Too bad there's only 13 people here."

I looked over to the other side of the room, St. Louis, Jody, and Thomas sat perched, high on stools, buds in hand and faces glowing. Les sat low and knealt over his guitar, flipping every little dance above the Fizz's solid floor of song.

Wes McDonald and the Fizz