About

I’m a writer, teacher, and radio host living in Birmingham, Alabama.

burgin-by-gottfried-grab

My first book, Doc: The Story of a Birmingham Jazz Man (University of Alabama Press, 2012), tells the story of jazz elder and educator Frank “Doc” Adams. Adams played with Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and others, and was a mainstay and hero in Birmingham’s jazz community. You can find the book here, or anywhere books are sold. Doc Adams died in 2014 at the age of 86; you can read my tribute to him here.

My weekly radio show, The Lost Child, features a wide range of downhome roots musics: classic country, southern soul, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, gospel, jug band music, western swing, old-time fiddles and banjos, and more. The show broadcasts Saturday mornings and Tuesday nights on Birmingham Mountain Radio; listeners can tune in also every Saturday at Radio Free Nashville. For more information, please visit The Lost Child’s Facebook page or find us on Instagram @lostchildradio.

My work with Doc Adams led to another book, now in progress, exploring in detail the history of Birmingham jazz. Magic City Bounce and Swing (a working title, subject to change) tells the story of how this unsung community helped shape the world of jazz, largely behind the scenes. There’s a rich, important story here which hasn’t yet been told, and I’ve spent this last bunch of years immersed in research and writing on the subject. I started this blog in part to introduce readers to the project as it continues to unfold.

Besides all this, I’m a lover of zine culture and self-publishing, and with my little Lady Muleskinner Press I’ve released since 2008 a series of homemade and handmade, pocket-sized labors of xeroxed love. Most of these titles trace some overlooked corner of music history; others feature little poems and (very) short stories. You can buy these writings, and a few other things, at my Etsy site.

A few other details, which are likely to come up in this blog: I’ve taught high school English for the past dozen-plus years. In addition to English 12 and A.P. Literature, I’ve designed and taught electives on Creative Writing and Film. I have an inspiring wife, Glory, and a funny, creative step-daughter named Norah.

Sometimes I draw pictures.

And this: in September 2017, along with our friends Lillis and Lloyd, Glory and I opened up a place in Birmingham called The Jaybird, a little homegrown experiment in community and the arts. We set out to offer a year’s worth of programs — monthly music, bimonthly art shows, and other sorts of community gatherings — and we have been blown away by the response. We have used books and zines for sale, and we’re home to the Alabama Zine Library. You can find out more about what we’ve been up to here.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy looking around.