Foxy Lady

Bekah Fox makes music happen at Communicating Vessels.

by Lindsey Lowe 

Photo by Beau Gustafson


“The easiest way for me to describe CommVess is to recall its name’s reference,” says Bekah Fox. “It is when several containers are connected and holding a homogenous liquid. When adding or taking away from one of them, the others are most certainly affected. The name alone is a constant reminder of our responsibility to these people, this art, and the community we are a part of both locally and beyond the Birmingham borders.”

It’s obvious that Communicating Vessels is taking this responsibility seriously—the label is currently working with some 16 bands to put music into Birmingham and beyond. And Fox is at the helm of that process, in more ways than one; in addition to contributing to Communicating Vessels as its label and product manager, she is the vocalist for Birmingham band The Great Book of John. In fact, her initial involvement with CommVess came through the band, which was part of the label’s beginning in 2010. So how did she make the leap from vocalist to label manager? She says it was an organic process. “I was so grateful to have someone [CommVess owner Jeffrey Cain] who believed in what we were doing,” she explains. “I would come in to assist however I could when I wasn’t working or on tour. In December of 2012, I shared with Jeffrey my heart’s desire to do more for him, my label family, and the community as a whole. It was perfectly timed, and I’ve been here full-time since the following January.”

Fox says her current position is the perfect combination of her passion for music and community and her interest in social work, a field she worked in from 2003–2011. Before she began working at the label, she held a part-time social work position, but was caught between that and her desire to sing (The Great Book of John had just begun touring extensively.) “Singing is my most favorite thing. Getting to do that so much more often was superb,” she says. “But when I was home working, I wasn’t really happy. I would go into CV every day off I had and work on whatever I could. I would get a little frustrated knowing that whatever I was working on would be irrelevant by the time I could get back there again. So during one conversation, I told Jeffrey I wished I could come every day. I could get so much more accomplished. He agreed, was in a place where he was ready to take someone on, and I was beyond ready to be doing this kind of work. It’s the things I love about social work, and the things I’m good at when it comes to [my] field, and my greatest passion for music, all together.”

Fox says there’s always something happening at CommVess, which means there’s always something to do; while she has a title, of course, she says many of her tasks don’t fit within its boundaries. She is a part of making sure the whole thing goes off without a hitch and works on everything from album releases to scheduling video production to cleaning up after private events to booking shows for artists. And Communicating Vessels is the label behind many of Birmingham’s most loved local sounds, including Duquette Johnston, Shaheed & DJ Supreme, and Preston Lovinggood (and, of course, The Great Book of John). “We have a lot of fun,” she says. “We inspire and challenge one another artistically. Being a part of the label has led to several collaborations beyond genre walls.”

Fox says, however, that there is more on the horizon. While music is her favorite thing, and the foundation of their investment in the community, there are many avenues through which music connects this group of artists with other artistic expressions. “Music does not operate or thrive independent of other art forms or unless surrounded and involved with other creatives and realms of influence,” Fox points out. “That line of categorical thinking can rob a person or group of life experiences. One can miss out on changing perspective or attitude for a moment, a day, or even a lifetime. It also squashes your chance to meet extraordinary people. We know we are more than a record label, and this will become clearer as time goes on.”

And Fox too is constantly evolving, something she attributes to her involvement with Communicating Vessels, Birmingham, and music. She says that just like these passions of hers—the label, the city, the art—she is hard to “sum up,” but is instead consistently changing shapes to fulfill different purposes and express different things. “I could spend entirely too much time trying to hammer out for you exactly what I do. But ‘I do’ is key. There is much to be done, especially in the independent world,” she says. “I’m a problem solver, a deadline keeper and a deadline pusher, a liaison and advocate. I am sister and a friend, a manager and promoter, a booking agent, a sales person, a dream reminder, a writer, and on and on. And I am an artist.”


Upcoming Shows

5/13: Paper Bird and Lauren Strain & the  Skylighters at Bottletree. For fans of First Aid Kit, Shovels & Rope, and The Avett Brothers.

5/17: Peter Bradley Adams with Caitlin Canty at Workplay. For fans of Andrew Belle, Joshua Radin, and Ben Rector.

5/23: Kid Ink at Iron City. For fans of 2 Chainz, DJ Khaled, and Chris Brown.

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