Alison Mosshart is the badass beauty with edgy rocker style and angsty vocals, at once throaty and dulcet, best known as front woman of The Dead Weather (Jack White, Dean Fertita, Jack Lawrence) and The Kills (Jamie Hince). She’s also an accomplished visual artist, who’s first solo show in New York last June teased fans with another side of the creative mania that appears to be the central pulse of her being. Though Mosshart keeps residences in London and Nashville, she makes much of her art on the go. A series of paintings from The Kills’ three and half-week American Tour, a collection of small pieces that slip into a suitcase like exaggerated postcards from the road.
Before embarking on a European summer tour for The Kills’ record “Ash and Ice”, Alison talked with the Journal about her visual art, balancing music and painting, skateboarding, muscle cars and Fugazi. Keep reading...
Our Well Worn series hands the mic to friends and customers who’ve grown attached to a specific Billy Reid piece, and asks them to share their own Billy Reid story. Usually, it’s a design from a few seasons back, but has remained at the front of their closet, honest testaments to the timeless design, quality and spirit of the loved garment.
Today, good friend and customer to our New Orleans store Abhi Bhansali, co-founder of the multi-unit healthy fast casual brand, City Greens, tells us about growing up in two worlds oceans apart, and how his love for the Fox Tux has nearly severed the relationship with his Bombay tailor. “I haven’t given up on him completely,” Abhi says. “But I also haven't bought a suit from anywhere but BR since I put my first one on. Like a glove.”
Originally published December, 2015
In 2012, Daniel Craig wore our Bond Coat as James Bond in the film Skyfall. The slim-fitting coat with horn buttons and leather collar detailing - so named for New York’s Bond Street, home to our SoHo store - was already a staple in many of our customers’ wardrobes. But with James Bond’s anointment, in a matter of speaking, came an all-new attention to the style. We’ve since remade the coat in different colors and fabrics, and it remains one our bestselling pieces to date.
The latest Bond film, Spectre, hits theaters this Friday, November 6. This time, it’s not 007 who sports a Billy Reid coat but Q, his young Quartermaster responsible for designing and developing Bond’s signature gadgets, weapons, and highly sophisticated computer security. Actor Ben Wishaw as Q wears the Astor Coat, originally designed for the Fall-Winter 2014 collection, is available for pre-sale on our website with an expected ship date of November 20.
When Skyfall premiered, Bond aficionado David Zaritsky, who runs the extremely popular website The Bond Experience was the first to share with his fellow M16 agent appreciators where they could get their own BondPeacoat. Through videos (numbering well over 70), blog posts, Bond news updates and social forum, The Bond Experience has grown into a reliable hub of insight and how-to for the Bond-inspired lifestyle. The Journal talked with David about the motivation behind this lifestyle, how he got started, Bond as a style icon and, of course, his favorite Bond girl.
Originally published November, 2015
This was originally published in April, 2014 in both the print and online edition of MADE Paper based in Montgomery, Alabama.
Florence is the quintessential small Southern town, with Victorian houses on tree-line streets and a downtown celebrated for its historic preservation. There’s a strong Native American lineage here, and, for the history buffs, informative plaques marking Civil War incidents on obvious, and often not so obvious, street corners, roadsides and parks. In the 1960’s, FAME recording studio (technically across the river in Muscle Shoals) and a group of talented musicians made the area famous to those in the know. Today, Florence is home to an unprecedented two CFDA fashion designers, Natalie Chanin and Billy Reid, and the local music scene is earning significant respect. New restaurants and drinking establishments have recently opened their doors with sophisticated vibes and approachable Southern hospitality. There’s a quiet art scene and a burgeoning class of entrepreneurial makers-doers that make Florence an exciting place to watch right now. Several of the businesses highlighted below have created collaborative and multi-faceted ventures that marry into single thriving entities (Odette’s local-fare menu + craft cocktail bar + market; Alabama Chanin’s retail store + cafe + design to product facility; Billy Reid + Single Lock Records live music venue), and there are several more yet to grab the world’s attention (and they will). With prominent landmarks and a few off the beaten path secrets, this “map of Florence” will set you up for an awesome weekend.
Cedric Burnside, grandson of reputed bluesman R.L. Burnside, released his self-produced album, Descendants of Hill Country, last year, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album of 2015. With this hill country blues record, Cedric is keeping his ancestors’ distinctive, percussion-heavy beats of hypnotic boogie alive. Not to be confused with Delta blues, theirs is an unwritten groove that lived mostly undiscovered in North Mississippi juke joints and private house parties until the 1990s, and has since influenced rock artists like The Black Keys. We had the great honor of dressing Cedric for the Grammy awards ceremony, and it’s no surprise that during a fitting at our Florence store, Billy and Cedric became fast friends, complete with an impromptu jam session.
The Journal spoke with Cedric about hill country blues, his music-rich family, his roots and the famous artists who influenced him along the way. Photographer David Paul Jones documented the fitting and contributed images of Cedric on stage for the Journal.
Originally published February, 2016
Pig&Vine, my wine blog, got a new look some months back. I've been busy creating wine resources for curious drinkers and scheduling interviews with awesome wine industry folk. Take a look, check out the wines I'm drinking, and sign up for the Pig&Vine newsletter.
Need a new website or blog design? Like my minimalist approach? Cool, let's talk about your project and how I can help.
This interview is the first in a new series on my wine blog, www.pigandvine.com.
Industry Interviews is a series of conversations with wine professionals in the area of their expertise where they can shed light on the complex world of wine production, buying, selling and drinking. I'm so pleased to share for the inaugural post a conversation with Spanish wine importer André Tamers of De Maison Selections. I had the great honor of selling his wines in New York many years ago, and traveling with him and 10 other dudes through Northern Spain, where we met several winemakers, including Emilio Rojo in Ribeiro, pictured here alongside André. Spain is a fascinating and perplexing wine producing country too often represented by cheap sub-par wine, and the novice is easily lost among grapes, regions, labels and price. André clarified for Pig&Vine why that is, how it's changing and what we need to look for so we can Drink Better. Keep reading...
Another incredible opportunity to interview a legendary singer-songwriter for the Billy Reid Journal. Ray Wylie is known for his rowdy Texas ballads "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" and "Screw You We're From Texas." He released a new album, The Ruffians Misfortune, and a memoir, A Life...Well, Lived, in 2015 at age 69. This has definitely been one of my favorite interviews to date. Anyone who talks Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell and Eastern philosophy has my super focused attention.
Read the full interview about Ray's book, life on the road, spiritual awakenings and the bands he's into these days.
Photos by Matty Chatburn.
What a treat it was to interview actress Maura Tierney for the Billy Reid Journal. We talked about her West Village neighborhood, her craft and her latest work on Showtime as Helen Solloway in the award-winning series The Affair.
My client, friend and - in all honesty - inspiration, Donnie Fritts, has produced a soulful, soothing album Oh My Goodness, which hit stores earlier this month. Today, music reviewer Ken Tucker sings it praises on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Honored to have been the wordsmith behind Donnie's official bio on this project. He is truly a gem, as authentic as they come.
Chef John Besh is one of my favorite interviews I've done on behalf of the Billy Reid Journal to date. He's uplifting to talk to, enthusiastic and wholly passionate about his cooking, his restaurants, his nonprofit The John Besh Foundation and his beloved city of New Orleans.
Another incredible opportunity to interview an incredible human for Billy Reid's online Journal. This was the second time the Alabama Shakes played the annual Billy Reid Shindig celebration in Florence. The first show was soul touching, but this performance blew minds and crashed through the Astral plane of live music experiences. Brittany and I spoke for a few brief minutes back stage several hours before the show. She's an inspiration, a force and the kind of rare breed that changes the world.
Billy Reid is one of my biggest clients. I work with them on a bimonthly intra-company newsletter, but it's the Journal - their blog - that keeps me busy writing and managing week to week. This interview for the Journal was particularly close to my heart. Donnie and John are friends and inspirations. I love to listen to them tell stories and, though I've heard much of this before (Single Lock Records hired me a while back to write Donnie's bio), it felt like the first time all over again.
My most recent wine column for the Florence-based publication No'Ala magazine discusses what to drink with oysters. Inspired by M.F.K.Fisher's Consider the Oyster, and my own recent discovery of the bivalves.
This article was published in the Montgomery-based MADE paper in May 2014 to coincide with the Southern Makers annual gathering of craftsman, artists, musicians and chefs in downtown Montgomery's Historic Union Station Train Shed. I conduct a lot of interviews for various client projects, and while this one was technically an editorial feature, I apply the same practices to client work as I did here.
Florence native Audwin McGee works large. His architectural designs are grand, incorporating natural elements like stone and rough hewn wood; original furniture designs boast carved details that demand attention; a recent series of sculptures made from recycled aluminum, commissioned by the four cities that make up The Shoals (Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Tuscumbia), represent the area’s rich music history and reach nearly 20 feet; and many of his paintings cover an entire wall. A few of those paintings – and a few smaller works – are featured at Southern Makers.
Of course there’s more to McGee’s work than impressive size. Painting is the artist’s preferred medium, and if you ask him a few questions you’ll quickly realize he is foremost a storyteller, like all good Southerners, and that each painting illustrates a personal tale. A recent painting titled “The Consumed and the Consumer” portrays a tarpon swallowing a man (the artist himself) who is in turn attempting to swallow a school of smaller fish. When McGee talks about the painting, one hears echoes of Santiago’s struggle with the marlin in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Both men are consumed with the fish, with reeling it in, as the fish consumes the man, taking every drop of his physical and mental energy in the fight. In Santiago’s case, the battle is a lost cause, a metaphor for the inevitable. But McGee’s work, even when the images slip into the sobering margins of life, exhibits a whimsical quality that reminds the viewer, and the sportsman, that it is a sport after all. The message may be simple, but it is poignant and effective.