Everyone has an opinion on what's happening with local music these days. There is so much changing in the industry that it's hard to keep up with. Watching the business end of it day in and day out can get somewhat frustrating, maybe take you a bit away from why you got into it in the first place. Let's not do that!
I'm so proud of the local music community and how much talent there is from cover bands to hip hop, jazz, country, rap, genius originals, to just crazy experimental stuff. Our little city and our wonderful state have produced some of the best musicians around. It's amazing when you look at the big picture. And it's amazing when you look at the little picture. The community that has produced so many great artists does it one band, one show at a time.
I thought it might be nice to get some idea of what other people are listening to. I will probably do this again. If you would like to know what a particular person likes to hear send me an email and I'll try to find out. Music@birminghamfreepress.com. Here are some of the answers I got this time. Thank you very much to those who responded.
James Spann - Weather at ABC 33/40:
"I have the most bizarre music collection in the universe. On my iDooDads you will find anything from Led Zeppelin to Carly Rae Jepsen to Earth Wind and Fire to Frank Sinatra to DC Talk to Hank Williams Jr to Boney James.
"I grew up in a radio station in the 1970s working my way through high school and college playing rock and roll music, and music from the 70s was the soundtrack of my wonder years.
"Guess my favorite local bands from the "good old days" were Hotel and Telluride. Marc Phillips (of Hotel) and Kevin Derryberry (of Telluride) are close, personal friends, and I love their music. Marc does solo work now, and also has a local band called "Groove Daddy" that is just great. Kevin is a solo artist. Love the music of my friend Ryan Kinder too."
Janet Hall O'Neil - Anchor at WBRC TV and accomplished musician in her own right for any who didn't yet know! (http://www.myspace.com/janethalloneil):
"Sure, I'd love to throw in a few names. "Crooked Road" is one of the best bands around with great original tunes and fantastic covers. Nobody rocks Superior Grill like they do.
"The Roadsters include Dan Farmer, Kenny Hanks, Kent Peterson, Marc Navez, Buddy Hassler and Tommy Young. My songwriting pal Dan Farmer is absolutely among the best songwriters in town.
"Others to check out: Veteran Birmingham performer Lolly Lee is always fun no matter what she's doing. Love her songwriting. Kelli Johnson is another great songwriter crossing several genres from country to gospel. Beautiful voice!"
John Archibald - Birmingham News Columnist:
"I'm a big fan of Lauren-Michael Sellers. Just starting to appreciate War Jacket. Really love the whole Greyhaven thing that brings us folks like Joel Madison Blount and so many other good ones in one unique setting. Can't call the Alabama Shakes local, I guess, but load me on that bandwagon, too.
"Shoulda added the Dirty Clergy, too. Still new to me, but I like what I hear.
"About music. I am constantly amazed at how talented the musicians are in Birmingham. It's like, every time I turn around I hear someone that just blows me away -- Lauren-Michael Sellers really being the latest. It's like ... damn. Damn? Damn? This is Birmingham? And then ... Yeah! This is Birmingham!"
Charles Scribner, Executive Director, Black Warrior Riverkeeper:
"My favorite bands are the ones who support Black Warrior Riverkeeper. On July 21, local musicians played Avondale RiverFest to raise awareness about the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine, a threat to Birmingham's water -- and one that the University of Alabama can stop: Possum, Calling Station, Fire Mountain, The Poison Kitchen, Stuart McNair & Friends, Ryan Oconnor & The Renegades of Folk, DJ Jimi Fritz, and John & Jacob all put on a great show without charging our nonprofit a dime. Black Warrior Riverkeeper's next big event will be our 10th Anniversary celebration on September 22 at Good People Brewery, featuring the Locust Fork Band. It is inspiring to see talented musicians fight for clean water."
I also asked some of our local musicians when they're not working on their own stuff who they follow:
John Bella - Thothamon, Sativa, Wretched Flesh:
"Ultimo Hombre is pretty rockin'. They've got a 4 song demo coming out shortly."
Roger Jones - Voodoo Jones, Jager Muffin:
"I love seeing the Naked Eskimo's, Elijah Butler Band, Who Shot Lizzy, Outshine. There are so many more... Lots of talented guys out there and everyone should really support the scene in B'ham. There are also some very talented original bands such as Within Reason, Lynam,
"Another band to check out Mr. Mayhem. One of my favs! Too many to name only a couple and I haven't even scratched the surface. I go see other bands when I'm off, just to hear their take on songs and song selection. Not to mention I know most of them."
SharBaby Newport - Blues Legend :) :
"The Music Scene here in Birmingham, Alabama is sooo diverse!!!!! I am sooo amazed at all of the Talent, legends and all that came from The State of Alabama!!!!! From Blues Singers to Country, Pop and Jazz!!!!! I am so glad to be a part of the Alabama Music Scene!!!!!!"
Carly Frost - "I hold a Doctorate from the School of Blues Hard Knocks.":
"John Kulinich: Unique Tele Meister who will 'Bend The Spoon' of what we understand as lead guitar if allowed to flourish in a BAND context."
Donnie Garvich - Pyrite Parachute:
"I'm into local, original music personally. Lately I've been digging Royal & Toulouse, Mile Marker 7 and The Green Seed. To round out the wildly varying styles representative of our local "sound" right now I'd also recommend checking out Beitthemeans and The Great Book of John."
Roger Jones - Voodoo Jones, Jager Muffin (again):
" Oh damn i forgot to mention Frankie Velvet and the Veltones! Anything Rick Carter is in is good stuff!"
"Voodoo Jones, Todd Simpson, Erica's Playhouse. I don't go out too much when I'm not playing. However if I'm out having a drink these guys are fun to watch!"
Russell Gulley - solo act and Jackson Highway:
"I'm starting to follow the B'ham scene more. "Back in the day", the 1970s, my brother and I were part of the B'ham scene thru our work with a band "CROSS" and then Jackson Highway, although a Muscle Shoals band, we played Birmingham a lot. Birmingham had a lot of influence on Muscle Shoals music, a lot of musicians migrated there and many of course would go there for the studios. Today, I actually feel that there's a new vital music scene all over Alabama, especially Birmingham. I've been watching in the social media groups like Royal & Toulouse, Who Shot Lizzy, and looking at the club scene to see who is playing and what folks are saying. That's important I think because the local clubs etc. are the breeding ground for new music. Although, I'm in my 60's, I still know that I'm creative and have much to offer the younger musicians out there. I've watched Birmingham for 40 years now and although I focus more on festivals, etc. for performance space, the clubs are still important. I appreciate this group and what BFP Music does to bring together a forum for the music community here."
Michael Knowles - Koralyst:
"As for Original bands, I love watching Ages Apart who very rarely play their home town. Which is a good thing, makes their shows better when you only see them maybe twice a year. I support any band that truly puts their heart in their music and acts like professionals. I don't get to get out much with my work schedule so I'm missing a lot of new talented bands in Bham."
Jay Winks - local musician/solo artist:
"Howabout some spotlights on veterans of the local scene, regardless of whether they are still local/working local or not. Lolly Lee. Rick Kurtz. Glen Butts. Libba Walker. Mark Lanter. Rick Carter. Leif Bondarenko. Eric Essix. Oteil Burbridge. Scott Boyer. Allen Parks. Maybe some retrospectives on some we've lost along the way. Topper. I know in a way some of this runs counter to the "latest-breaking" vibe that is so much of the BFP approach, but I think Ziggy Marley wrote "don't know your past, don't know your future" in Tomorrow People. There's lots going on today that's awesome and I catch all I can but there's a special place in my heart for some of the first local acts I saw. My first encounters with the Mortals, Foxxy Fatts and the Cast resulted in a lifelong love for local grooves."
Dave Evans - Simone Durand Trio:
"Some of the musicians I have really been impressed by are a few who are just so brilliant at their craft. Ones that come to mind are the guys in Frankie Velvet and Mile Marker 7, and then some individual players like Brandon Peeples, Joe Breckenridge, Jacob Bunton, Mark Kimbrell, Gary Harbison, and Nicole McLean. I could go on and on."
Brent Gulsby - Black Veil:
"Tim Boykin is a great guitar player. Everybody should go and see him play at least once!!!! He's so fast that when he puts his guitar down after a set, the fret board is smoking, lol..."If you didn't already know this there is something happening in Birmingham and Alabama...it's music, and it's amazing!