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Wayfaring Dispatch Archives

James Franco's Film Adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy Book Child of God

James Franco’s Adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God This morning I watched James Franco’s film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s third novel Child of God. Since read more...


Ace Atkins' Latest Book The Redeemers

The Redeemers By Ace Atkins I just finished The Redeemers, a fine book by Mississippi writer Ace Atkins.... Born June 28, 1970, in Troy, Alabama, Ace Atkins played football at Auburn University, and even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1993 read more...


"A Momentary Stay" : Musings on the Poetry of Harry Moore


A Trip Back in Time: A Review of Bob Keefe's "Stories From the Okefenokee"

In 1969 a young Marine returning to civilian life after a tour of duty as a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam found refuge in a remote and primal place in the Deep South, the Okefenokee Swamp. The Marine's name was Bob Keefe, and he spent five wonderful years in the swamp, working as a read more...


The Magic of the Shoals: The Lindsey Film Fest Screening of "Muscle Shoals"

Not since the sold out Drive-By Truckers/ Decoys concert during the 2011


Mayberry is Alive and Well in Rogersville, Alabama

Henry David Thoreau went to the woods because he wanted to "live deliberately." I go to Rogersville, Alabama. Rogersville is a progressive little town that has managed to keep the flavor of a time gone by. read more...


Life Lessons in The Big Easy by Martha Gragido

There’s something maternal about a train. It carries you where you need to go and rocks you along, sheltering as new horizons flash past your window. Places you’ve never been. Places that have never known the press of your weight. (The bathrooms on the train read more...


"How Do You Like Your Blueeyed Boy, Mr. Death": Harry Crews (1935-2012)

Harry Crews! I guess I thought he would live forever. When all of those years of out of control drinking did not kill him, I decided he had outwitted the devil. That would be just like Crews--to make a wager with the devil and win.   When a great read more...


The University of North Alabama Presents Renowned Author Ishmael Reed

On Monday, March 19 and Tuesday, March 20, the University of North Alabama (Florence, Alabama) will present its 29th annual Spring Writers' Series. The featured speaker this year is internationally known poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright Ishmael Reed. Reed will read more...


Reflections, Progressions & Horizons

   "Will all your money buy you forgiveness?     Will it keep you from sickness?     Will it keep you from cold?     Will all your money     Keep you from madness?


Swampland Guest Patsy Glenn Writes about Brandon Sparkman and "Called to Jackson"

My long-time friend Patsy Glenn is a freelance writer residing in Florence, Alabama. Glenn joins Swampland to talk about a local hero, Brandon Sparkman, and his recently published book Called to Jackson, Mississippi: The Last Bastion of Segregation (iuniverse


Rebecca Meredith, Author of The Last of the Pascagoula, Has Alabama Roots

I discovered Rebecca Woods Meredith when I received a copy of her spellbinding novel, The Last of the Pascagoula read more...


Alabama Born, Auburn Educated Octavia Spencer Wins Golden Globe

The 2011 fall issue of the Auburn University alumni magazine featured a stunning photo of Octavia Spencer on the cover, not as Minny, the feisty maid in Tate Taylor's movie of Kathryn Stockett's The Help, but as Octavia Spencer, celebrated actress and a possible


Meet Poet and Poetry Therapist Jerri Chaplin

Jerri Chaplin is a certified poetry therapist and poet. She served as the first poet-in-residence at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston (1996). Her work has been read more...


Upcoming Billy Bob Thornton Films: Baytown Disco & Jayne Mansfield's Car

Upcoming Billy Bob Thornton Films Billy Bob Thornton spent a few months in Atlanta, Cedartown, Rome and LaGrange, Georgia, last year filming Jayne read more...


Ry Cooder's Los Angeles Stories

Ry Cooder's Los Angeles Stories Ry Cooder made music with The Rolling Stones,


Shakin' in Alabama with the Alabama Shakes--Souful Music Near the Shoals

The small town of Athens, Alabama (not Athens, Georgia) has made national music news thanks to the hot new group Alabama Shakes. Three of the four band members hail from East Limestone High School in read more...


Poem in Remembrance: World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011

Twenty years ago a friend of mine died of AIDS. He was the first person I ever knew personally to die of this disease. He was young and talented and beautiful, and the last time I saw him he seemed completely well. Then I heard that he had died. Shortly after read more...


A Georgia Son Shining In The Big Apple: Upcoming Interview with Actor Brit Whittle

A Georgia Son Shining In The Big Apple: Upcoming Interview with Actor Brit Whittle Georgia native Brit Whittle is making a name for himself in New York City. In November, Whittle appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. Whittle read more...


New Orleans in Alabama: Brenda Marie Osbey--and Lagniappe--Poet Jane Hirshfield

This October I traveled to New Orleans to see my good friends David Lummis (author of


Meet New Orleans Author and Photographer: Kristin Fouquet

Reading the short stories of Kristin Fouquet, writer and photographer par excellence, is like eating bon bons. You just have to have one more. Fouquet writes with a photographer's eye for detail, seeing beneath read more...


A Stroll Through Savannah

A Stroll Through Savannah Widespread Panic put on a mighty fine show last night at the Johnny Mercer Theatre. I look forward to tonight's show as well. It's 70 read more...


Chuck Leavell's Mother Nature Network

 Chuck Leavell's Mother Nature Network Rolling Stone keyboardist and tree farmer Chuck Leavell started the


Documentary About the Life of Rick Bragg "Out of the Dirt" to Premiere In Alabama

The world premiere of Out of the Dirt, a documentary film about the life of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Rick Bragg, will be held at the IMAX Theare in the McWane Science read more...


Jonathan Wilson & Wilco Announce Europe Fall Tour Dates

Jonathan Wilson & Wilco Announce Fall Tour Dates Jonathan Wilson will support Wilco on their upcoming fall tour of Europe. The tour will begin in October and continue throughout read more...


"The Coffee Shop Chronicles" Featured in New Orleans Course at University of Montevallo

David Lummis' novel The Coffee read more...


Drive By Truckers, Bob Dylan & Leon Russell Share A Stage Tonight

Dylan, The Truckers & Leon In Maryland Tonight Tonight in Columbia, Maryland, at The Merriweather Post Pavilion, The Drive By Truckers share a billing with read more...


The Secret To a Happy Ending: The Decoys, DBT, and a Sunday Jam at Dick Cooper's

According to The Drive-By Truckers, the secret to a happy ending is knowing when to run the credits. This week in the Shoals the secret to a read more...


Handy Festival 2011: Rocking the Shoals with Ken Watters and Microwave Dave

This week is Handy Fest 2011, and I was in the Shoals on Monday night, sitting in the Zodiac Theatre in downtown Florence, Alabama, with Randy, my sister Peggy, and a friend


Widespread Panic Prepares for Japan's Fuji Rock Festival

John Bell Talks About Panic's First Trip To Japan On July 29 and 30, Widespread Panic will perform at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. A few weeks ago I asked read more...


Drive-By Truckers To Headline 2011 W.C. Handy Festival in Florence, AL

A concert by the Drive-By Truckers with special guests The Decoys,  along with music icons Donnie Fritts and Spooner Oldham, will read more...


Billy C Farlow Tours in Europe to Promote "Alabama Swamp Stomp"

Blues harmonica player and songwriter Billy C Farlow left last week for a month tour of France and surrounding countries to promote his new album


Summer Merle Haggard Southern Tour Dates

Upcoming Merle Haggard 2011 Southern Tour Dates Country music legend Merle Haggard prepares for his upcoming summer tour. At 74, Haggard still records, tours and writes timeless music. His work casts a long and wide shadow on American music. Over the years, read more...


Willie Nelson's Nightly Bus Theater

Willie Nelson's Nightly Bus Theater On this early Sunday evening perhaps some humor is needed. Check out Willie Nelson's June 11 episode of read more...


Widespread Panic's John Bell Looks Forward To Bonnaroo 2011

John Bell On Bonnaroo Ten Years Later The 2011 Bonnaroo Festival begins on June 9. The four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, celebrates its 10th year.


Bob Dylan's Upcoming Southern Tour Dates

Dylan Adds Southern Tour Dates Yesterday three new southern dates were scheduled on the summer leg of Bob Dylan's 2011 tour. On July 24, Dylan will perform in New Braunfels, Texas. The Bard travels to New Orleans for a July 26 show, and then onto Memphis for read more...


The Civil Wars Play Tornado Benefit at Historic Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL

Once again the marvelously magical duo, The Civil Wars (Joy Williams and John Paul White), took the stage in front of a sold-out house and a wildly enthusiastic audience. This time they were read more...


Georgia Public Broadcasting Films "Georgia Outdoors" on the Altamaha River

GPB Films "Georgia Outdoors" on Altamaha River Earlier this month, Georgia Public Broadcasting filmed for three days on the Altamaha River in southeast Georgia. Swampland read more...


New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Begins Friday

2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival The 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival begins on April 29 and continues until May 8. A wide variety of music, food, parades, culture and crafts will be available to supporters.


Widespread Panic's Sunny Ortiz Calls On His Day Off

Widespread Panic Percussionist Calls From Home Today Widespread Panic's


Widespread Panic's Todd Nance From Asheville

Panic Drummer Reports From Asheville Yesterday I called Widespread Panic drummer


Widespread Panic Begins 25th Anniversary Tour Tonight in Louisville, Kentucky

Opening Night of Widespread Panic 25th Anniversary Tour: Louisville, KY Tonight Widespread Panic begin their 25th Anniversary tour in Louisville, Kentucky. In February Panic played in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia, to commemorate their first gig in read more...


Swamptown Getdown Music Festival This Weekend in Waycross

Swamptown Getdown Music Festival This Weekend In Waycross The first annual Swamptown Getdown Music Festival will take place on the vast Okefenokee Fair Grounds, just minutes from the fabled Okefenokee Swamp this weekend on March 11 & 12. The weekend will read more...


The Second Cooler: Documentary by Alabama Filmmaker Ellin Jimmerson

The Second Cooler or Le Segunda Nevera is a documentary film by Ellin Jimmerson, Alabama filmmaker, that asks the questions: why are there twelve million Latin American migrants in the United States illegally and why do thousands not survive the border read more...


Levon Helm On The Road: Spring 2011

Levon Helm On The Road On Saturday, February 26, Levon Helm hosted one of his ‘Midnight Rambles’ featuring  old Band-mate Garth Hudson. February read more...


Shannon McNally Plays Chickie Wah Wah Tonight in New Orleans

Shannon McNally At Chickie Wah Wah Tonight Shannon McNally's latest CD, Western Ballad, hits the street on March 22. McNally and her band Hot Sauce will play


Meet Tasia Malakasis of Belle Chevre--Alabama's Artisanal Goat Cheese Creamery

If you have not yet tasted Belle Chevre, Alabama's fabulous artisanal goat cheese, you are in for a treat. A couple of weeks ago Randy and I drove about twenty minutes north of Athens, Alabama, to the tiny fromagerie of Belle read more...


R. Garth Reflects On a Concert by The Civil Wars

Last night my friend and fellow writer Richard Garth (author of the Tales from Blue Springs series) attended a concert by the duo The Civil Wars. The concert was held at the WorkPlay Theatre near the University of Alabama Birmingham (Alabama). I asked Richard, who read more...


Chris Robinson Brotherhood Tour Dates Announced

Chris Robinson Brotherhood Tour Dates The Black Crowes just completed their ‘Say Goodnight To The Bad Guys Tour’ in December. Since the Crowes are on hiatus,


Marc Ford Looks Forward to Texas Shows Later This Month

Marc Ford's Fuzz Machine In Texas Marc Ford will play five shows in Texas this month.  I hope to have my recent two interviews with Ford ready by Monday or Tuesday. For read more...


Swampland 2011: "Crossing the Creek" and The Year of Alabama Music

Happy New Year to all you Swamplanders. I apologize for the long hiatus between this post and my last one, but the holidays caught me off guard, and I was running in place for about six weeks. My resolution for 2011 is to complete tasks in a timely fashion. I am read more...


Merry Christmas From Swampland

Merry Christmas From Swampland Ho, Ho, Ho…I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas from Swampland. Thanks for all the support. A Happy New Year to you all! Don’t let the Devil get you down. I’ve included a couple of read more...


North Mississippi Allstars Announce New Album & Dates with Robert Plant

North Mississippi Allstars' 2011 Plans The North Mississippi Allstars will release their new album--Keys To The Kingdom--on February 1, 2011. December 28 begins the Allstars' tour. On New Year's read more...


Widespread Panic’s Porch Songs Vol. 6 & Archive Series #5

Widespread Panic’s Porch Songs Vol. 6 & Archive Series #5 May 31, 1996, counted as Widespread Panic’s first headlining performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. Since then, Panic has sold out the majestic venue 35 consecutive times. read more...


The Captain Gabby Sails On The Georgia Coast Mothership Tour

The Georgia Coast Mothership Tour Not one cloud floated in the powder blue sky today. At three o’clock it was 70 degrees, and for mid-November you can’t ask for much better weather. This afternoon I took a tour on the charter boat, The Captain Gabby, starting read more...


Storytelling in the South--"Life: Legends and Lies" in Athens, Alabama

Mark Twain may be one of the best known storytellers of all time and, by his own admission, one of the biggest liars, but the art of storytelling did not die out with the passing of Mark Twain one hundred years ago read more...


Caught Glove-Handed: Stone Crabbing in the Gulf of Mexico

"Did you catch them or buy them?" I asked my son John Laubenthal when he sent me this photo. " I caught them glove-handed," he replied. John lives on the lagoon in Panama City and catches/eats all things marine. The apple does not fall far from read more...


Great Places in America: The BMA Sculpture Garden in Birmingham, Alabama

The American Planning Association (APA) recently named the Charles Ireland Sculpture Garden at the


The Unchained Tour of Georgia Documentary

The Unchained Tour of Georgia Documentary On Monday, before the evening performance of The Unchained Tour of Georgia, I spoke with author


St. Simons Island: First Stop On The Unchained Tour of Georgia

The UnchainedTour: St. Simons Island I wanted to have the entire article written about last night’s first stop on The Unchained Tour, but there’s too much material. Right now, a brief dispatch will have to suffice. The Unchained Tour of Georgia, spearheaded by read more...


A Call From George Dawes Green: Prelude to the Unchained Tour

A Call From George Dawes Green The Unchained Georgia Tour: A Prelude To Opening Night This afternoon esteemed author and The Moth creator


Neil Young's Southern Shows & Le Noise...Bob Dylan Southern Tour Dates Released...Island Notes

Neil Young in Clearwater Florida Tonight Before the release of his new record Le Noise on September 28, Neil Young will play a string of southern shows beginning tonight in Clearwater, Florida. On the full moon tomorrow Neil plays Hollywood, Florida, and then read more...


Filming "The Help": News and Blues in the Delta-- Greenwood, MS

About seven miles east of Greenwood, MS, the rolling hills suddenly go flat, a sure sign you are entering the Delta.  We had driven to Greenwood via the leisurely


Roadtrip to the Shoals: Billy Reid Couture, Trowbridge's Ice Cream, and Sweetwater Plantation

 I just bought my first Billy Reid. No, not Armani or Versace. Much better!!! Billy Reid, whose creations read more...


The Drive By Truckers Hit the Road Next Week with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Fourth of July Dispatch Happy Independence Day to all your great Americans…Next week The Drive By Truckers and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers hit the road for most of the month. Now, that’s a ticket worth buying.


Reading "The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans" by David Lummis

Perhaps because I was an English professor for most of my life, friends are always asking me what good book I have read recently. Well, I am happy to report that I have


Neil Young To Play The Gulf Coast

Neil Young To Play the Gulf Coast “I’m a vampire Sucking blood from the earth I’m a vampire I’ll sell you twenty barrels worth I’m a black bat Hanging on your window pane I’m read more...


More Music, Moviemaking, and the Annual Helen Keller Festival in the Shoals

You know it's summer in Alabama when the annual Helen Keller Festival week is about to commence. This year the 32nd annual festival in Tuscumbia, AL, (one of the four cities in the Shoals) will run read more...


Bonnaroo 2010

2010 Bonnaroo This Weekend This weekend--June 10-13--the Bonnaroo music festival will take place in the hills of Tennessee. This is Bonnaroo's 9th year. In that time it's become a formidable annual music festival.  


Levon Helm's 70th Birthday Celebration at The Mountain Jam

The Mountain Jam Festival June 4-6 Warren Haynes' sixth Mountain Jam Festival will return to Hunter, New York, on June 4-6, 2010. Haynes' band Government Mule will headline the festival, which will also include Levon Helm & Friends' 70th Birthday read more...


Steve Gorman Sports Covers The Kentucky Derby

Black Crowes Drummer Steve Gorman Travels Home For The Derby Kentucky-native and Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman hosts a radio “The Backbeat of Sports” show in Nashville. It’s a fine sports-music show. Steve was a serious athlete in high school and read more...


April is the Busiest Month: Alabama and New Orleans

Every week in April has been busy with a literary or cultural event in the state of Alabama including the Alabama Book Festival, an annual event in


Excursion to New Orleans

What an amazing adventure I have had in Louisiana this past week. I am starting a series on Swampland about my adventures in the Crescent City (see New Orleans


Widespread Panic's Sunday White House Visit

Widespread Panic’s Sunday White House Visit Yesterday while sitting in the Wanee leisure compound with Widespread Panic’s drummer Todd Nance, he relayed some interesting news. For instance, on Sunday the band will get a tour of the White House’s West read more...


Wanee Report: Day Two

Swampland Wanee Report: Day Two ...A Few Notes From The Swamp... Funkadelic closed the evening out last night. It's a musical read more...


The Wiregrass Road To Wanee

The Road To Wanee   “Odds and Ends Lost time is not found again…” On the road to the Wanee read more...


Widespread Panic's Sunny Ortiz Anticipates Wanee Festival

Two Panic Shows At Wanee Festival This Weekend   Today I interviewed


Neil Young Tours The South In May

Neil Young Southern Dates In May Next month,


New Orleans and the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival 2010

I don't get down to New Orleans nearly so often as I would like although it is a place close to my heart. New Orleans is one of my top three cities in America, along with


Daniel Hutchens' Run To Mexico

Daniel Hutchens Runs Wild In Mexico Last night Daniel Hutchens sent me his “Bloodkin Sails with Lynyrd Skynyrd" article. This mighty read more...


Merry Christmas

Mystery And Manners Christmas Dispatch   Ho Ho Ho Folks, Merry Christmas! I'd like read more...


Swampland Introduces New Outdoor Editor Michael Gowen

Michael Gowen's Tides and Times It is with great pleasure and honor to introduce Swampland's new Wayfaring Editor Michael read more...


SEC Championship: The Long Road to the Rose Bowl Stadium

The day was September 12, 1970. The integrated football team of University of Southern California met the all-white team of the University of Alabama at


Announcing Our New Athens, Georgia Pages - on Swampland and on Facebook

Join Swampland Facebook Pages Hillsides of kudzu lead you into the town of Athens, Georgia.  Athens, located on the Oconee River, serves as the home to The University of Georgia, read more...


Halloween In New Orleans: Panic, Truckers & NO Musicians Clinic Conjure Good Mojo

A Season of the Witch in The Crescent City: Widespread Panic, Drive By Truckers & New Orleans Musicians Clinic Help At Halloween In this read more...


Chuck Leavell on Mother Nature Network (Part One)

Chuck Leavell Talks About Mother Nature Network (Part One) Last fall when I wrote


The Michael Gowen Interview: Kayak Fishing On St. Simons & The Georgia Coast

The Michael Gowen Interview Fall 2009 A couple of weeks ago my old friend and I Michael Gowen conducted this interview on the Shifting Banks read more...


Johnny Colt's At Full Volume Premiers on The Travel Channel Monday September 7

Full Volume Premiers Monday September 7, PM on Travel Channel North Carolina native Johnny Colt ranks as a self-made business mogul. Colt read more...


Woody Guthrie's Bound For Glory

Ode To an Oklahoma Hero Woody Guthrie ranks as a great American poet. His songs such as “This Land Is Your Land”, "Pastures of read more...


The Black Crowes & Levon Helm Band Rock Boston Last Night

Crowes & Helm Rock Boston  Last night at the Bank of America Pavilion in Boston,


The Black Crowes' Stuck Inside Utopia Tour Begins Tuesday in Virginia

Stuck Inside Utopia Tour Begins Before The Frost Tuesday, August 25,


Widespread Panic-Allman Brothers Tour: Double Dose of Potent Music

Brothers Panic On The Road If the first two nights of the run is any indication, it looks like the


Art from Alabama to New Orleans and Along the Trail of Tears

This week's feature is about Going Green in New Orleans--how one city is turning trash into treasures. As we become more and more environmentally read more...


Truth & Salvage Company Fly with The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes Take Truth & Salvage Under Their Wing The Truth read more...


Summer Tour Notes Volume 6: Drive By Truckers Righteous Path Tour

Tour Kicks Off In Nashville August 6   "Ain't bitching bout the things That aren't in my grasp Just trying to hold steady


Lucero & Amy LaVere Hit the Road on Rambling Roadshow & Memphis Revue

Memphis Friends Hit The Road Memphis star Amy LaVere read more...


A Tribute To Paul Hemphill: On The Road

A Tribute To The Late Paul Hemphill In the wake of the sad passing read more...


Summer Tour Notes Volume 3: Panic, Crowes, Dylan

Summer Tour Notes Volume 3 Tonight The Black Crowes and


Dylan, Nelson & The Dead Rock Rothbury

Mystery And Manners’ Summer Tour Notes Volume 2 This


Summer 09 Tour Notes: Dylan & Willie at Summerfest

Mystery And Manners' Summer 09 Tour Notes


A Dispatch From The Coast

A Dispatch From The Coast   After business in Atlanta, I’m on the homeland fandango this weekend to


Tennessee Rules: Places to Experience, Music That Rocks, Vistas That Amaze

This month I want to share with you the incredible diversity and exquisite beauty of my neighboring state, the "volunteer" state of Tennessee. From geography (Tennessee is often referred to as the read more...


New Black Crowes Tour Dates

THE BLACK CROWES ANNOUNCE THE FIRST LEG OF read more...


Helen Keller Lives On in the "The Miracle Worker"

On the first day of June,1968, author and activist Helen Keller, born in 1880 in Tuscumbia, read more...


Alabama Blues: Freedom Creek Festival and Cigar Box Guitar Extravaganza

Don't miss the chance to travel to the beautiful state of Alabama this weekend for some of the best and as well as some of the most original blues you will ever hear. Looks like Alabama will finally get a break read more...


Alabama and The Civil Rights Movement: Forty-Eight Years Later

  On this day, May 20, 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of "Freedom Riders" in Montgomery, Alabama, read more...


Bob Dylan & Willie Nelson On the Road Again

Dylan & Nelson Hit The Road Together Luminaries Bob Dylan read more...


Clothing Designer Billy Reid Moves Corporate Headquarters to Florence, Alabama

Who would ever dream that an internationally known clothing designer would base his corporate headquarters in Florence, Alabama. For the past four years, Louisiana native


The World's Oldest Living Person and My Nonagenarian Friends

The current adage “Old age is not for sissies” has never been more true. Gertrude Baines, who became the world's oldest living person on read more...


Rocking from Cleveland, Illinois, to Southern France: Spooner Oldham, Wanda Jackson, and Billy C Farlow

  April is a huge month for southern musicians. On Saturday, April 4, my neighbor down the river Spooner Oldham and “the sweet lady with the nasty voice” Wanda


Big Medicine Come Soon

"Beyond the horizon, in the Springtime or Fall Love waits forever for one and for all." --Bob Dylan Greetings read more...


Sweet Home Alabama: New Tags for Old

  Sweet Home Alabama Lord, I'm coming home to you ----"Sweet Home Alabama" Lynyrd Skynyrd Band A brand new license plate featuring a pastel beach scene read more...


Alvin Ailey, Otis Redding--and Fifty Golden Years!

I recently returned from taking a very small bite out of a very big apple. I traveled to New York City this past weekend with my daughter and a longtime friend to experience Christmas in the city and to attend read more...


Back To The Island

Swampland/Mystery And Manners Travel To St. Simons Island for Cultural Celebration 11/02/08  "Odds and ends, odds and ends,


The Trail of Tears 2008

Today, Saturday, September 20th, some 150,000 motorcycles will make their way toward Florence, Alabama.  This is the 15th Annual Trail of Tears read more...


Friends Flee Gustav

Here on Elk River we are opening our homes and hearts to friends who are fleeing the fury of Hurricane Gustav. My neighbor and former read more...


Back from the Blue Ridge

Just a quick note to say that I have been "on the road" for the past five days, and I have lots of exciting adventures and observations to share in the coming weeks. Although I have traveled extensively in the continental US and in Central America and abroad, this was my read more...


The Dog Star Rages and Leos Roar

It is August and the dog days of summer are upon us. The ancient Romans noticed that the hottest days of the year, late July and early August, coincided with the appearance of


Alabama in July

The Fourth of July is over and along with it Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July picnic near San Antonio featuring Merle read more...


Alabama: A Place in the Sun

It is July in Alabama and the corn is literally as high as an elephant’s eye. Jungles of lush green flank the country roads. Where formerly one could see for miles, one can barely see the road directly ahead.


Friends of New Orleans and Swampland.com Join Together!

Swampland.com is proud to announce that we have joined Friends of New Orleans (FONO) as an official cultural partner for this worthy charity.  Here is the mission statement of FONO direct from the official read more...


Tying The Knot: East Meets West in the Deep South

This weekend I attended the wedding of two young friends at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The wedding (or more accurately the weddings) involved both a traditional


April in Alabama

Nothing could be more beautiful than April in Alabama and, in my case, nothing could be more exciting. I recently returned from the Alabama Studio Weekend in the


Widespread Panic In Orange Beach, Alabama

Widespread Panic On The Beach 4/19/08 Morning Folks, Last night proved a fine night. The weather here in Orange Beach, Alabama, is read more...


The Day The Music Died

The day was February 3, 1959. At approximately 12:55 AM, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, the “Big Bopper,” and their twenty-one year old pilot boarded a small plane near Clear Lake,


Lest We Forget: Four Spirits

January 30, 2008, marked the 60th anniversary of the assassination of India’s political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi. It was Gandhi whose name was most invoked


The Best of All Possible Worlds or Is There Balm in Gilead?

I live in the boonies, the hinterlands of Northern Alabama. For years, I made do with erratic reception from local television stations, and then one day satellite TV and DSL changed my life.  This week, thanks to a relatively new channel called


Six Degrees of Separation

In the south we not only claim kin we also claim friends. I have learned that behind every new acquaintance there lies the possibility of finding an old friend—not to mention discovering a new one. Such was the case this week when I was working on a feature about read more...


LIghts, Camera, Action! Film Festivals and Film Debuts in the South

Late winter and spring of 2008 will see the blossoming of a host of film festivals in the South. A number of the festivals showcase original films and present cash awards to the best new films. Others bring classic, hard to find, topical, or thematic films to the read more...


White Pelicans on Elk River

White Pelicans are a rarity on Elk River. I have never seen one north of Gulf Shores, but on Christmas morning a friend down the river called to say that a dozen White Pelicans were winging our way in the midst of a flock of cormorants. I had despaired of ever sighting pelicans read more...


Music and Movie Making in Alabama

Sorry to have been incommunicado since Thanksgiving. This time I was overwhelmed by the holiday madness and computer problems (my three year old monitor died). But now all is well, and I am looking forward to an exciting 2008 on Swampland. Today I am posting a read more...


Confessions Redux

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Auburn’s 1957 National Championship. Not only did the Tigers go undefeated that season, but they also held Alabama scoreless in the Iron Bowl while running up an astounding forty points. Saturday, November 24, is the golden read more...


A Day In The Life of A Great American Guitarist (Marc Ford) PART THREE

A Day In the Life of A Great American Guitar Player: PART THREE Marc Ford In San Francisco 11/05/07  "Featherweight read more...


Mystery & Manners Dispatch From San Francisco

Dispatch From San Francisco 11/3/07 Notes written on a back porch facing Mt. Tamalpais, known to locals as "Mt. Tam". I arrived read more...


Tiger Rag

In the spring a young man’s fancy may turn to baseball, but in the fall in the South everyone’s fancy turns to football, and in Alabama there is only Auburn and


Mystery & Manners' Honorary Southern Artist(s) PART THREE--Tom Waits

Mystery & Manners' Honorary Southern Artist(s) PART THREE 10/31/07 "The quill from a buzzard  The blood writes the word


Mystery & Manners' Honorary Southern Artist(s) PART TWO--Jerry Garcia

Mystery & Manners Honorary Southern Artist(s) Part Two 10/30/07 "I love the Dead. As far as Jerry Garcia, Jerry Garcia could walk read more...


October 27 & 28 Bridge School Benefit

21st Bridge School Benefit Hosts Various Musicians 10/27/07 In light of a


Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Wednesday night’s opening game of the 2007 World Series at Fenway Park was a heartbreaker for Colorado Rockies fans. I have always read more...


SWAMPLAND Goin' Out West...Frisco Bound...

Mystery & Manners Goin' Out West To San Francisco 10/25/07


It is Raining on the River!

I guess I rattled my rain stick enough this weekend to wake up the clouds. We In North Alabama are reveling in what the Navajos call a gentle “female” rain, and I pray it continues all week. I especially hope it rains profusely on Atlanta, Georgia, where they are having read more...


On the Road Again

Sorry I have been incommunicado lately. I am still struggling with allergies that seem to get worse rather than better. Ah, fall in North Alabama. Speaking of fall, this weekend my sister, her husband, and two of our friends made a road trip to the hills of middle Tennessee read more...


Arrivederci Roma, Ciao Athens (Alabama)

I have just returned from ten days in Italy (Venice, Florence/Tuscany, and Rome) and am way behind on my blog, so please bear with me. I am somewhat jet-lagged, and I am preparing to leave for Jackson, MS, on Wednesday to participate in the


Goin' Home: A Tribute To Fats Domino

GOIN' HOME: A TRIBUTE TO FATS DOMINO 9/26/07 Yesterday Vanguard released


More Alabama Authors: Eric Smith

Eric Smith is assistant professor of English at the University of Alabama-Huntsville where his speciality is Post Colonial Literature. Over ten years ago, Eric was a student in my classes at Athens State University. After completing his B.S. at ASU, Eric attended read more...


"When I die, the brush dies": Remembering Jimmie Lee Sudduth

  Jimmie Lee Sudduth, celebrated Alabama folk artist, died Sunday, September 9, in Fayette, Alabama, at read more...


Southeast Adventure Outfitters

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Hot and Wet or Hot and Dry?

The state of Alabama made the national news on two consecutive days this week: first regarding the referendum that could have reversed the legal sale of alcohol in the city of Athens (billed as "Alabama City Mulls Return to Prohibition") and secondly for the read more...


Turtle Tracks

In the fall of 2005, my sister Peggy bought a 1985 Toyota Dolphin RV from her son in Seaside, CA, and in late October Peggy, our friend Carol C, and I flew out to California to drive the vintage RV the three thousand miles from the west coast to north Alabama.


West "by God" Virginia and The Free State of Winston

Is West Virginia really a part of the south? Jason Headley in an article entitled "A State of Confusion" pleads the case for his home state in the recent issue of Oxford read more...


Look Homeward, Angel: In Memoriam Doug Marlette

On Tuesday, July 10, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in a car wreck on a rain soaked road in north Mississippi. Marlette and the driver of the truck, the theatre director at Oxford read more...


The Last Outpost of Time

7/9/07                            “All that we see is but a dream within a dream.”


07-07-07

Isn't seven the most powerfully magical number? -- Tom Marvolo Riddle to Horace Slughorn     Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Whether you are superstitious, mystical, fascinated by numerology, or simply curious, you have to be just read more...


A Quiet Fourth of July

It is a strangely quiet Fourth of July on the river. Due to the devastating drought, the water level is unusually low, discouraging most boaters and skiers at read more...


Ninety is the New Forty-five

I hope each of you read the newspaper article by James Lewis of Newhouse News Service published on May 26th. Lewis wrote about four ninety-plus year old women from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who went out for an evening on the town. The women left the Country Meadows Retirement read more...


Uneasy Rider

Last weekend I traveled to Austin, Texas, for the 90th birthday celebration of Dr. Elva Mclin, my mentor, friend, and longtime colleague. Another former colleague and friend of the honoree accompanied me. Because neither of us had ever been to Austin before, we elected to stay in read more...


A Smoke Out In Rome

6/8/07 Old Havana Cigar Company 327 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161 706-295-0546


A Long, Hot Summer?

I don’t think it has rained in the Tennessee Valley since the day Clifton Taulbert spoke at Calhoun College and that day was merely a tiny oasis in what has become a desert of drought. I have never read more...


On The Road in Athens for Marshall Tucker at Georgia Theatre

The last time I was at The Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia was several years ago. We had made the hour and a half trek from Greenville to see a show by Gov’t Mule with special guest John Scofield and opener Chris read more...


On The Road at The Scott Boyer Benefit in Muscle Shoals

After a fun day with the Lopates (see my previous blog) we found ourselves at the Shoals Theatre in downtown Florence, Alabama for what promised to be a stellar all-star benefit concert. I had been looking forward to this one for quite some time, and The Mighty Field of Vision would read more...


From The Stone Pony To The Rockin’ Camel

(Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in Long Branch Any More) Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 It was almost a given that we would drop by and visit long time friend Mitch Lopate and his lovely wife Cheryl on our way to the read more...


Looking Ahead to Merlefest

It's getting close to that time again. Time for Merlefest, the biggest and best Americana music festival of all. Every year around this time, we start getting all excited about the festival, held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina in April. The line up this year is stellar as usual.


Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks, Robert Randolph and Alison Krauss To Play Eric Clapton Guitar Fest

Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks, Robert Randolph and Alison Krauss will participate in the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival, scheduled for July 28 at Toyota Park in Chicago, hosted by Eric Clapton. This year's festival will feature a full day of musical performances with many read more...


The James Burton Guitar Festival

....Interviewing the King of the Telecaster, James Burton, ranks as a great thrill for me... James Burton's musical accomplishments outshine any other guitar player. He's played and recorded with over read more...


Levon Helm Makes a Triumphant Return to The Big Stage

NEW YORK - He beat throat cancer. Then he sang his way out of bankruptcy. And this weekend, Woodstock's Levon Helm — whose earthen voice drove old Dixie down and pulled into Nazareth — capped his remarkable comeback with a packed show at the Beacon read more...


Amoeba To Release Vintage Gram Parsons Performance(s)

3/20/07 On March 15, through invitation only, a listening party was conducted at South By Southwest to debut the Flying Burrito Brothers (with Gram Parsons) performing a classic show at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco in 1969.


Get Front Row Seats For Skynyrd and Hank, Jr.

STUBHUB FORGES NEW PARTNERSHIP TO PROVIDE FANS EXCLUSIVE FRONT ROW ACCESS TO LYNYRD SKYNYRD, HANK WILLIAMS JR. SPRING TOUR StubHub Designated as the “Rowdy Frynds” Tour Official Premium Ticket Provider SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. read more...


Dickey Betts, Ed King Join James Burton Guitar Festival in Louisiana

    Shreveport, Louisiana- Dickey Betts and Chris Isaak are among 12 headliners announced for the


Two Benefit Concerts Scheduled For Scott Boyer

SHOALS & BIRMINGHAM BENEFIT CONCERTS SET FOR FORMER CAPRICORN ARTIST SCOTT BOYER FLORENCE, Ala. - Dates have been set in April for two benefit concerts for  former Capricorn Records artist Scott Boyer who has had surgery for an read more...


J.D. Crowe & The New South Announce Spring Tour

Bluegrass Hall of Honor inductee J.D. Crowe and his band The New South are hitting the road this spring in support of their newest album, Lefty’s Old Guitar.  One of the true pioneers of read more...


Road Trip to Beaufort, SC, Sports Fans!

Recently, we decided to take off, pretty much on a whim, and set sail for the shore. Jill and I had visited before, but it would be nice to take a leisurely drive and visit. I didn’t realize just how much that town has to offer until we took this unexpected road trip, read more...


Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Sister Hazel Set To Cruise in January 2008

Three Southern  groups, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band and


Marshall Tucker Band to Headline All Star Concert with Lee Roy Parnell and Randall Bramblett

Rome, GA - The Rome Braves along with Classic Rock KZ 106 and Miller Lite announce that southern rock legends , The Marshall Tucker Band, will headline the All-Star Concert at the Forum in Rome on Monday June18th. Joining the Marshall Tucker Band will be country-blues artist Lee Roy read more...


Po Monkey's: One of the Last Great Juke Joints

Merigold, read more...


Volunteer Jam Ready to Hit the Road Again

NASHVILLE- Charlie Daniels, leader of the Charlie Daniels Band, has announced the legendary Volunteer Jam Tour will, once again, hit cities all across America. The Volunteer Jam started back in 1974 when Charlie wanted to record "Fire On The Mountain" in front of a read more...


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