Signs of Spring

By on 25 March, 2015 in Karren Pell, Music with 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 1.54.49 PMAre those six weeks that ole groundhog dictated over? Feels like spring. I can pull on just a light jacket in the morning when I walk my dog, Lumpy. Time to put the wolf hat up! Looks like spring. The forsythia bush is bursting with its small, but full-of-cheer yellow blooms, and Cindy and Carol’s redbuds are gloriously waving in the slight breeze. Time to weed and mulch to get ahead of those weeds that are also peeking out. And there is another sure sign of spring coming right up: The Old Alabama Town Revue inspired by the Alabama Book Festival.

This year’s book festival’s titles and subjects have got the muses whispering to the Revue Crue. The OAT Revue’s fans may recall the Revue Crue is in the midst of the songwriting challenge. For newcomers, or those of us (like me) that need a brief reminder, the songwriting challenge’s objective is for the Revue Crue to write original songs for a new CD to be recorded this summer at Tony Castaldo’s Echo 7 Studio. I got the idea from an old legend about a troubadour contest held in Germany at Wartburg Castle in 1207. The contest ran for an entire year and at the end, the troubadours (who at the start of the contest were all good friends) played their songs for high stakes. The winner was given the hand of the beautiful Lady of the Manor in marriage, and the loser was killed. And we think musicians have it rough today! Well, so far into the Revue Crue song challenge we are all still friends, and as far as I know, no one’s life, heart, or hand is being wagered. Although it’s true you never really know about a songwriter. But we are hoping for some good songs to record, and we are having a good time playing the songs for the audience who comes to hear our show.

And so it is that here in the spring of 2015, in the Old Church on Columbus Street in Old Alabama Town, the Old Alabama Revue will present its spring show at 7 p.m. on April 2. Since this month’s show, “Open Book,” presents new songs and old faves inspired by titles from the Alabama Book Festival (held the very next Saturday), I thought I’d tell you about a few. For example, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tim Henderson has written a song called “Blind Spot” from the book title of the same name by Reed Farrel Coleman; Tim will also sing “When Two Worlds Collide” in tribute to Rick Bragg’s biography of Jerry Lee Lewis. So you get the idea. Karren Pell has a new bluegrass uptempo ditty called “Stand the Storm” in a nod to author’s Kim Cross’ What Stands In a Storm. Singer Toni Wood is working up an original bluesy composition. Guitarist Larry Gobrecht broke out an old Bob Dylan/Byrds tune titled “My Back Pages” (the title works with the book festival, but none of us ever knew what that song was about). Singer songwriter Stephen Bray is gonna render a version of the Beatles’ “Revolution” in a nod to author Deborah Wiles’ book Revolution. The ever-popular Pellets will join in on “The Water is Wide,” dedicated to Pat Conroy’s novel. Rumors abound of a group effort of “Whole Lotta Shakin Goin on.” One can only imagine until April 2 and then it’s gonna get real! Bassist Marty Martin and drummer Tony Castaldo will keep the Crue on the beat if anyone can. (I even heard that Marty might break out his electric bass!) AND special guest author Jessie Bishop Powell will read from her new whodunit, The Marriage at the Rue Morgue.

Spring! New Books! New Songs! Come have some fun at the Old Alabama Town Revue during an evening of songs, stories, and surprises. Don’t forget your cushion!

Karren Pell is a writer, teacher, and performer who lives with her husband, Tim Henderson, and an assortment of cats and dogs in Capitol Heights. She is the author of three books. Her musical compositions range from commercial songs to theatrical works, with five musical adaptations to her credit.


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