It’s All About the Books

By on 15 March, 2018 in Fun, Karren Pell with 0 Comments

On April 5 at 7:00 in the church on Columbus Street in Old Alabama Town, the Old Alabama Town Revue will present its April Show: “It’s all About the Books: We’re singing about the Alabama Book Festival.” The Old Alabama Town Revue Crue usually closes their 2017-2018 season with a salute to the Alabama Book Festival. Since both the book festival and the revue are held at Old Alabama Town, the Crue feels connected to the festival. So every year our last show is full of songs related to the authors and titles featured in the festival. The show is free and open to the public; however, contributions are welcome and the Revue Crue’s CD, “The Song Challenge,” will be available. AND the Crue will have pens handy to personalize and sign copies.

The Old Alabama Town Revue Crue has had a great season. We launched into fall with an appearance on the Viva NashVegas Show out of Nashville, Tennessee streamed live from the Kimbro Café in Franklin, Tennessee. George Hamilton V was our gracious host; we were invited back, and we invited George and his cast to come to Old Alabama Town and be part of the OAT Revue. Any fan who would like to help me make that happen, feel free to contact me. Our first show at Old Alabama Town was the Halloween Revue, “Murder and Mayhem.” Regardless of the dark title, a fun time was had by all. Special kudos go to Stephen Bray singing his original “When You Think She’s Cheating,” and Tim Henderson’s “The Ax Man.” It should be duly noted that a major cool part of the song was the drum part played by Tony Castaldo, and that the song was inspired from The Axe Man of New Orleans by Miriam Davis (and both inspired by the Axe Man murders!).

Other show highlights included Neil David Seibel reading “The Highwayman”, and Tom Huber’s premier as a songwriter with his song, “My Girlfriend, Buffy.” The Christmas show is always a favorite, and although the night was stormy and cold, we had a great audience who helped us ring in the holiday season at Old Alabama Town. Memorable moments included Toni Wood and Bruce George singing “Santa Baby,” and Barbara Weidermann’s poems. Larry Gobrecht and the Pellets wowed us all with a beautiful version of “White Christmas.” The February show was the evening before Groundhog Day and therefore featured songs about groundhogs and, if memory serves me right, Alabama’s own weather prophet, Sand Mountain Sam, who is a possum! The OAT Revue strives to be inclusive. After songs about groundhogs and the coming of spring, we acknowledged the upcoming Valentine Day with a few love songs. Tim Henderson premiered an original that combined groundhogs AND Valentines (but nothing kinky), titled “Winter From Now On.”

So here we are looking at the April show which promotes the Alabama Book Festival with songs related to the festival’s authors and titles. This year provides some opportunity for the Crue to rock out! Author, teacher, producer, and artist Warren Zanes’ biography on Tom Petty has inspired a Tom Petty tribute (Won’t Back Down). We are counting on Tony Castaldo to keep us rocking along. What goes along with rock n roll but beer! Authors Sarah Belanger and Kamara Davis will be at the festival reading from their book, North Alabama Beer: An Intoxicating History. The Crue will respond with Rockin Larry Gobrecht singing Willie Nelson and Toby Keith’s country rock song, “Beer for my Horses.” The vibe continues with writer P.F. Kluge whose book, Eddie and the Cruisers, was the subject for a popular film; the Crue will jump right in with Toni Wood rendering the title song from that film: “Tender Years.”

There will be other modes of song besides rock ‘n’ roll. To mark Wayne Flynt’s new book, Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship with Harper Lee, yours truly will sing my song inspired from the last chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird. The song was written at the invitation of scholar and mover and shaker Nancy Anderson on the occasion of the Alabama Humanities Foundation’s celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the book. For that event, in addition to my song, many notable visual Alabama artists created works inspired by the beloved novel. I pulled inspiration for my song, “Home to Maycomb,” from the last chapter. Then, since Mark A. Johnson will be discussing his book, An Irresistible History of Alabama Barbecue, I added my Alabama Troubadour song, “Catfish to Barbecue.” I am reading Eric L. Motley’s Madison Park: A Place of Hope; I am learning about a town and a history I did not know about before and am finding the book inspirational as well as informative. Tim Henderson will acknowledge the book with the beautiful, “Redemption Song.”

Troy University Radio host, Carolyn Hutchenson, graciously invited me to her program, “In Focus,” to talk about the show. Tune in to Troy University Radio (www.troypublicradio.org) at 12:40 on March 29 to hear Carolyn and I talk about the Old Alabama Town Revue’s season and the April show. You can listen from your computer to a live stream or access archives. Go to the above address, then click on “Listen on line,” then click on “HD-1 Public Radio,” and then finally “Listen now on your computer.”

So we are planning a fun and inspirational April 5 show. Our next show is planned for October 4, so come see us and get your Old Alabama Town Revue fix to last over the summer. Plan to purchase a CD so you can hear us whenever you want. And 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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