The Sound of February


Music you’ll love.

by John D

The beginning of the year sometimes seems like the slowest time of the year for music, mostly because many bands are taking a break (some getting ready to release new music), and everyone is waiting for the release of all of the music festival line-ups. Luckily Birmingham has quite a few great acts coming to town and there are some exciting (and unexpected) album releases coming up.

Tristan Perryman

First, I would like to say congratulations to friend and co-worker Scott Register. Reg (as everyone calls him) celebrated 16 years of stewarding “Reg’s Coffee House” (Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Bhammountainradio.com). The Coffee House has been Birmingham’s best place to get new and exciting music and also a place where many in Birmingham find up and coming artists.For 16 years, Reg has worked every Sunday, digging through CDs from artists all over the United States just to bring us some of the best music that is out there. Reg has weathered change (moving stations several times as the powers that be in the radio world have enacted the dreaded “format change”) and never missed a beat… yes, that was just about the worst music pun ever. Thanks for great music Reg, and here is to 16 more years!

Now it is time to talk about some of the great acts coming to Birmingham in February. WorkPlay has a lot of great acts but several standout. Shovels And Rope (2/9) are a two piece consisting of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Shovels and Rope was more of a side project for the couple while they pursued solo careers and it just happened to morph into their main project. The couple described to me in an interview as their country tinged rock as murder ballads (also the genesis of the name, as one would need shovels and rope in the commission of said act). Tristan Prettyman (3/2) is one of those people that make you feel like “what I am I doing with my life?” The former model, at one point engaged to pop singer Jason Mraz, just happens to have an incredible voice and isn’t afraid to show it off when playing live. It also shines on her most recent effort “Cedar + Gold,” the album she released in October of 2012 and is now touring to support it.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

The Bottletree hosts the  two-day Skybucket Records 10th Anniversary Celebration on 2/8 and 2/9. Skybucket is one of the labels located right here in Birmingham, was one of the very first of the indie labels to spring up, and is a big reason Birmingham has such a strong music scene. Buy a ticket for both nights now and see some of the great local and regional acts that call Skybucket records their home (Belle Adair, Barton Carroll, Terry Ohms, and Through The Sparks 2/8; The Magic Math, Delicate Cutters, Vulture Whale 2/9). Nashville alt country/rockers Glossary (2/12)  stop by. The last time Glossary was in town, November 2012) they played a free show at The Good People Brewery to (re-) introduce themselves to Birmingham (although not well known outside of Nashville, Glossary has been around for about seven years and it is surprising they aren’t more well known) and put on a great live show. This time you have to pay to see them but anyone who saw them in November will tell you is worth it.

The Alys Stephens Center consists of several concert and recital halls and has venues that are suitable for just about any kind of performance. This flexibility allows them to book just about anyone and they do take full advantage of this. Legendary Chicago Blues guitarist Buddy Guy is one of these acts. The 76-year-old Guy played with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, has been cited by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn as a major influence, and will be taking the stage at the Alys Stephens on Sunday, 2/17. There is nothing more that needs to be said. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin close out the month of February at The ASC with an acoustic duo performance (2/28). Both Carpenter and Colvin make routine stops in Birmingham but this will be the first time that they are playing together as an acoustic duo. Expect songs from the catalog of both accomplished artists and some favorites by other artists that Carpenter and Colvin love.

All in all, February is not a bad month for music lovers here in Birmingham. Make sure you buy your tickets now as most of the shows are sure sell outs.

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