Interview: Kim Dryden, co-director of Appalachian film “Over Home”

My introduction to Appalachian culture, which figures so strongly in The Hum and the Shiver, really took place in the late 1990s. Prior to that, I’d looked on the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee with some of the same distant awe as anyone else. Tennessee is a long, narrow state, and I grew up on the whole other end from … Read More

Guest blog: SJ Tucker on the magick of music

S.J. “Sooj” Tucker’s official bio states she performs with “a unique alternative-rock style, flavored with a dose of blues, a dash of celtic, a taste of punk, and even a hint of folk for good measure. Her music is interwoven with mythic lore, avant-garde poetry, and modern storytelling.” Having seen her perform, I’ll sign that. She was kind enough to … Read More

Jennifer Goree: the voice of the Tufa

If the Tufa have a voice, it belongs to Jennifer Goree. The Tufa may be the fictional people at the heart of my novel The Hum and the Shiver, but Jennifer is very real.  She’s a singer-songwriter from Six Mile, SC who has recorded three marvelous CDs that demonstrate such a range, it’s hard to believe the same person is … Read More

Guest blog: Dale Short on the music of the South

Dale Short is the author of Turbo’s Very Life and The Shining Shining Path, and the host of “Music from Home,” which airs on Oldies 101.5 in Jasper, AL and is archived here. I was born in the middle of the woods near a coal-mining town in northern Alabama, and I grew up in church. Literally. Seeing as everyone in … Read More

The dignity of the faux dead

This is an addendum to my earlier post on P.F. Kluge’s novel Eddie and the Cruisers. And I swear it’s true. In the late 1980s I worked in Florence, Alabama for the Olan Mills Portrait Studio chain. The studio manager was a woman then in her mid-forties, and one night just after closing our conversation turned to how much I … Read More

Rediscovered: John Barry’s score for King Kong (1976 version)

I was 13 when I saw the Dino De Laurentiis version of King Kong. That’s how it was promoted, and how it’s remembered: few people recall the actual director (John Guillermin), or the cast besides then-newcomer Jessica Lange (Jeff Bridges played the hippie hero and Charles Grodin the comic villain). Instead of the Empire State Building, the poster showed Kong … Read More

"That’s the way of the world, baby."

My next novel, Blood Groove, is set in 1975 for a couple of reasons. Since it’s a vampire novel, I wanted it to be free of the influence of Anne Rice; her landmark Interview with a Vampire came out in 1977. I also wanted it to take place in a time when it was still possible to exploit cracks in … Read More

The Music from Hell’s Waiting Room

Last night the family went out for post-dinner ice cream at the local Culver’s. We sat outside, since in the shade it was quite pleasant. However, we could still hear the background music, probably more clearly than the lucky folks packed inside. And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, in order, the music from Hell’s Waiting Room*: Ever Changing … Read More