What I’m Writing: July 2014

These are stories I wrote that were published this month.

Tour This Town

vulcaningSure, you know that Vulcan keeps watch over the city, that the Birmingham Museum of Art has one of the largest municipal art collections in the southeast and that the Alabama Theatre is historic. But how much time have you spent really getting to know the city? Read more “Tour This Town” at bhammag.com.

Musical History: The four towns that comprise the Shoals area are jam-packed with music and activities

shoals“Muscle Shoals” is the buzz again, thanks only in part to the eponymous documentary that debuted at Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The film recounts the area’s musical roots, which date back to the late 1950s. It became a hotbed for the recording industry in the 1960s and ’70s, and at one time claimed a higher ratio of hits per recording sessions than any other music industry town.

Now, bands such as The Civil Wars, The Secret Sisters, The Bear, Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell and Birmingham’s own St. Paul and the Broken Bones boast ties to the area, and their success has returned northwest Alabama in the national spotlight. But they’re only part of the reason to visit the Shoals region, which includes the cities of Muscle Shoals, Florence, Sheffield and Tuscumbia. Read more “Musical History” at bhammag.com.

Family Band: Dead Fingers solidifies its sound even while adding a new band member and a baby to the mix

Big Black DogDead Fingers released its eponymous album in February 2012. But in some ways, the band’s “Big Black Dog” could be considered its debut.
“When we made that first one, we weren’t really a band yet,” explains Kate Hollingsworth, who formed the group with her husband, Taylor Hollingsworth. Read more “Family Band” at bhammag.com.

Snapshot in Time: A Birmingham 100 depicts people who influence the city’s culture 

a birmingham 100When photographed in black and white, a portrait is more tightly focused on the subject’s essence. Props and accessories can fade as facial expressions become even more critical. The viewer is often left with an intimate understanding of the subject.

That effect is prominently displayed in the photography project “A Birmingham 100.” Headshot photographer Kenwyn Alexander has spent months creating images and video interviews of 100-plus Birmingham-area residents in an effort to capture what he believes is the essence of the city: its people. Read more “Snapshot in Time” at bhammag.com.

Friendship: Expectation vs. Reality

friendshipEmily Gould has built a career as a blogger for her own Emily Magazine and Gawker, as well as the part owner of Emily Books. She is also author of the memoir, And the Heart Says Whatever. With her first novel, Friendship, Gould turns her eye toward the spectacle of female adulthood friendships.

For years, Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have faced New York City together. They met while working in low-level publishing jobs. But they became best friends when Amy moved into her tiny Brooklyn apartment below the BQE, and Bev stopped by to keep her from feeling lonely. Read more “Friendship” at bhammag.com.

Birmingham Batch

batchThese days it seems you can get anything delivered to you via mail. Monthly boxes of makeup, clothes, pet treats and more are all the rage. But Nashville-based company Batch twists the idea in favor of promoting a city’s local artisans. Each box includes food, beverage and other items, locally made. Read more “Birmingham Batch” at bhammag.com.

Get in on the Secret

secretBirmingham’s discovery music festival returns the first weekend of August, when music fans will again take to downtown venues to hear music from their favorite and soon-to-be favorite bands. The 2014 Secret Stages lineup includes 60-plus bands spread across seven stages: Das Haus, Pale Eddie’s, M Lounge, Matthew’s, Harold and Mod (all ages stage), Miller Lite Outdoor Stage on Morris Avenue and the VIP lounge at Parthenon Event Center. Read more “Get in on the Secret” at bhammag.com.

Meet Birmingham magazine Account Executive David Phipps

David PhippsDavid Phipps gained plenty of sales experience before he came to Birmingham magazine, most notably at Black & White. And so this University of Montevallo grad was a natural addition to the Birmingham magazine team when he joined in June 2014. David lives in Highland Park with his calico cat. Read more “Meet Birmingham magazine Account Executive David Phipps” at bhammag.com.

Meet Birmingham magazine Editorial Intern Morgan Taylor.

University of Alabama journalism student Morgan Taylor is spending her summer as part of the editorial team at Birmingham magazine. Morgan’s background already includes experience with The Tuscaloosa News. Got a question for Morgan? Email her at mtaylor@bhammag.comRead more “Meet Birmingham magazine Editorial Intern Morgan Taylor” at bhammag.com.

From reviewer to author

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio coverI was recently part of a group of readers who were assessing recent reads and recommending a variety of books. A dozen people curled themselves around cups of coffee in the second-story nook of my local bookstore, eager to hear what upcoming books the booksellers would suggest.

Some of those gathered—including me—were equally excited to share the best books we’d read lately. But as the conversation grew more analytical, I was taken aback by a realization: Soon, readers could be assessing my book. Read more “From reviewer to author” at bookpage.com.

And then, of course, there’s this: Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music

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