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Urban Review Archives

Review of The Coffee Shop Chronicles : Part 2

Review of: David Lummis

The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans, Part 2: The Last Beaucoeur by David Lummis takes place on a single day, Friday August 26, read more...

The Last of the Pascagoula: A Review

Review of: Rebecca Meredith

Rebecca Meredith's first published novel The Last of the Pascagoula read more...

Vertically Coastal by Jerri Chaplin---A Review

Review of: Jerri Chaplin

I met Jerri Chaplin fifteen years ago at a conference for the National Association of Poetry Therapy. I was struck at that time by her warmth and genuineness and read more...


Review of: Maria Taylor

(Saddle Creek) On her fourth proper solo album, Overlook, Maria Taylor proves that you not only can go home again, but it is often a good idea to seek out the familiar comforts that lie there.  Although Taylor is a Birmingham, AL native, she has been read more...

The Great Book Of John

Review of: The Great Book Of John

(Communicating Vessels) There appears to be a time-shifted symmetry in effect within Birmingham's music scene.  We've written about how the break up of Verbena, a band who were sadly forced towards major label grunge during the 90s, ultimately seeded that city's scene read more...

Barton Hollow

Review of: The Civil Wars

Last night as I sat with friends on my porch overlooking Elk River, I put The Civil Wars' new album Barton Hollow read more...

McLemore Avenue

Review of: Booker T & The MGs

(Concord Music Group) Recorded in January 1970, McLemore Avenue was the great Memphis group Booker T & The MGs tribute to the Beatles' landmark album Abbey Road. Booker T. Jones revealed read more...

New Orleans Jokerman

Review of: The Last Waltz Ensemble

(Raymond Records) The Last Waltz Ensemble formed in 2004. This Atlanta band plays the music of Bob Dylan &

Crossing the Creek

Review of: Anna Lillios

Crossing the Creek: The Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings University Press of Florida,  Gainesville, FL ,  2010 Literary friendships are relatively commonplace, but a friendship which reaches read more...

RIYEL----Eclectic and Kreyol Jazz

Review of: RIYEL (Ken Watters, Andre Atkins, Yves Abel)

 Summit Records, April 2010 Released internationally on April 13, 2010, Riyel’s first album is an overview of read more...

The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans

Review of: David Lummis

SIster Schubert: Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters

Review of: SIster Schubert

Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal Sister Shubert's recent cookbook,

A Review of Undeniable Truths

Review of: A. M. Garner

Rank Stranger Press, November 2009 Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal This month Anita M. Garner published her first collection of short stories: Undeniable read more...

Fairly Odd Mother

Review of: Kelly Kazek

Published by iUniverse, Inc   2009 Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal I have been a huge fan of humor in journalism for over thirty years. I particularly enjoy those southern humorists who follow in the footsteps of

When The Buddha Met Bubba: A Review

Review of: Richard "Dixie" Hartwell

Turner Publishing Co., Nashville, TN  2009 Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal When the Buddha Met Bubba is best-selling author

Pat Conroy's "South of Broad": A Review

Review of: Pat Conroy

Published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday Company, August 2009 Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal When I read my first Pat Conroy book in the early 70s, it was love at first paragraph. When I finished reading the read more...

Among The Gold

Review of: Cheyenne Mize and Bonnie "Prince" Billy

"Old music is a major passion of mine. As I mentioned, I play a little old-time fiddle and have always loved old gospel music. The idea of keeping old music alive is very important to me" -  Cheyenne Mize Considering the substance of Mize’s read more...

Tight Knit

Review of: Vetiver

Vetiver is the musical brainchild of Andy Cabic, who is part of a loosely organized group of musicians from the Swampland Footprint who have made their way out to California seeking creative refuge.  Some of the more famous members of his coterie are the Black Crowes' Chris read more...

Around The Well

Review of: Iron And Wine

In less than five years, Iron and Wine rose from a batch of unadulterated home recordings to become one of the indie scene's most influential and successful artists.  For those late to the party, Iron and Wine has but one member, Sam Beam who was born and raised in South read more...

Love Filling Station

Review of: Jesse Winchester

Jesse Winchester's songs have been recorded by songwriting legends like Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffett, Ralph Stanley, Delbert McClinton, and the Everly Brothers too name a few.  

Delta Blues

Review of: Ted Gioia

Delta Blues:The Life and Times of Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music by Ted Gioia W. W. Norton, 2008 Reviewed by bluesman Billy C. Farlow Delta Blues read more...

Me And My Friends

Review of: Matt Butcher

The best records shoot right to the heart with a truth and a passion that almost immediately puts them in constant rotation in your cd player, turntable, iPod, or, most importantly, in your mind.  It usually starts with the basic ingredients of a set a first-rate songs read more...

I'm That Way

Review of: Beth McKee

Is it something in the water?  Something in the land? People can analyze all they want, but Southerners have a different relationship to music than others.  Beth McKee is prime example number one. This Jackson, MS girl has toughed it out as a musician with a career read more...

Milking the Moon

Review of: Eugene Walter

Milking the Moon: A Southerner's Story of Life on this Planet  Eugene Walter (as told to Katherine Clark) Crown Publishers Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal Hold on to your hat and get ready for a wild ride.

Dixieland Delight

Review of: Clay Travis

As we head into the off season, now that the recruiting season is over (mostly), there might be no better time to pick up and read Clay Travis's

Friday Night Lights, Season 3

Review of:

Friday Night Lights began its entertainment lifespan as a fantastic book written by Buzz Bissinger.  Bissinger's book told the engaging story of the near "life and death" importance of a high school football team to the west Texas town of Odessa. Bissinger's read more...

Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi

Review of: Nanci Kincaid

Nanci Kincaid’s most recent novel hit the bookstores just two weeks before President Barack Obama delivered his inaugural address, read more...

Boys Will Be Boys

Review of: Jeff Pearlman

Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman Harper Books Jeff Pearlman's new book neatly summarizes the shift to the modern era of the Dallas Cowboys.  The early history of the team isn't read more...

From The Reach

Review of: Sonny Landreth

Sonny Landreth From The Reach Landfall Records Sonny Landreth returns with his first record in 5 years.  With his deep catalog of work both as a solo artist and a collaborator/contributor to others (

The Prince of Frogtown

Review of: Rick Bragg

“My father was the prince of Frogtown” writes Alabama author and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg in his latest book entitled

The Bourbon Dynasty

Review of: The Bourbon Dynasty

The Bourbon Dynasty The Bourbon Dynasty Night World Records It's good to have Charles Walston back making music.  Almost a decade ago, Walston's previous band, the Vidalias, were part of a roots and country music resurgence in read more...

Third And A Mile

Review of: William C. Rhoden

Third And A Mile by William C. Rhoden ESPN Books Third and read more...

Being Dead Is No Excuse

Review of: Gayden Metcalf and Charlotte Hays

Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting The Perfect Funeral Hyperion Press, 2005 Reviewed by Penne J. Laubenthal Straight out of the Mississippi Delta,

Just A Little Lovin'

Review of: Shelby Lynne

After an early career spent bucking against the Nashville system, Alabamian Shelby Lynne has emerged as one of our Footprint's significant artists.  Her latest, Just A Little Lovin', displays the vistas of her imagination and the strength of her read more...

Darius Goes West

Review of: Logan Smalley

“Something’s gonna happen like…Just spark the whole world,” exclaims Darius, the star of the award-winning independent documentary feature film Darius Goes West (DGW), 2007. read more...

Cappy's Oyster Bar (Volume One)

Review of: Cappy's Oyster Bar

Cappy’s Oyster Bar 2500 Cobb Parkway Kennesaw, Georgia 30152 770-590-9881 By James Calemine 

Song of America

Review of: Various Artists

Song of America Various Artists 31 Tigers Records By James Calemine This 50-song, 3 CD collection tells the story of America through songs from the year 1492 through modern times. Song of America contains a diverse line-up of artists read more...

Hurricane Season

Review of: Neal Thompson

Hurricane Season by Neal Thompson Free Press Author Neal Thompson has tapped read more...


Review of: Carter Martin

KELBRN by Carter Martin Xlibris Press, 2007

Runnin' With The Big Dogs

Review of: Mike Shropshire

Part of [beating Texas] is that old Okie inferiority complex. There’s no better cure for that than whipping Texas’s butt. -Barry Switzer, former Oklahoma coach In 1929 at the height of the Great Depression, the Texas-Oklahoma game was moved read more...

Whatever Remembers Us: An Anthology

Review of: Various Authors

Whatever Remembers Us: An Anthology of Alabama Poetry  edited by Sue Brannan Walker and J. William Chambers Negative Capability Press, Mobile, Alabama Whatever Remembers Us: An Anthology of Alabama Poetry, edited by Sue read more...

Dub's Burgers

Review of:

Dub's Burgers 204 South Jefferson Street Athens, AL 35611 256-232-6135 For the past forty-six years, Dub's Burgers has been serving up burgers and other such fare to the people of North Alabama. Located in a read more...

Driving With The Devil

Review of: Neal Thompson

Driving With The Devil by Neal Thompson Crown Publishing “We read more...

Whitt's Barbecue

Review of: Penne J. Laubenthal

Whitt's #1 1397 East Elm Street Athens, Alabama 35611 256-232-7928 My sister had a Whitt's BBQ sandwich for breakfast this morning. She called me on her cell phone to say excitedly that the Whitt's in downtown Athens, read more...

Gentleman Of Leisure

Review of: Jesse Winchester

(Sugar Hill Records) Born into a Memphis family of prominent heritage, young Jesse James Winchester hightailed it to Canada when he received his Vietnam draft notice. Filled with the sounds of Memphis music in his head, he started writing the songs for read more...

Deep Dark Black

Review of: D. Braxton Harris

D. Braxton Harris "Deep Dark Black" Ideal Records Still at work on the Quinsonic's new demos, leader D. Braxton Harris has put them aside and fashioned a quiet, transitional statement instead.  As a result, "Deep Dark Black" read more...

Chock Full Of Country Goodness

Review of: Amazing Rhythm Aces

Amazing Rhythm Aces "Chock Full Of Country Goodness" Breaker Productions Born out of soul music's ashes, this six man ensemble played country music - meaning the music defined by Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, and sometimes Al read more...

Say It One Time For The Brokenhearted

Review of: Barney Hoskyns

In the wake of Ray Charles's new country music box set as well as Lambchop's recent soul dabbling both on their own and with Vic Chestnutt, this reprint of Barney Hoskyns's "country soul" study couldn't have come at a better time. "Say It One Time For the read more...

Loose Strings

Review of: Carlo Nuccio

Carlo Nuccio Loose Strings Monkey Hill Records Carlo Nuccio has been kicking around New Orleans for over a decade serving as the drummer in residence for the roots rock scene in the Crescent City. Some might recall him from the Continental Drifter's read more...

Rest Of Our Days

Review of: Pawtuckets

Memphis has always seemed to exist in contrast to Nashville. Years ago as Nashville grew with country music, Memphis became one of the birthplaces of rock and roll. The dicotomy between these two Tennessee cities has been immortalized by fringe Nashville artist John Hiatt in his read more...

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