August 19, 2014

UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Birmingham’s Duquette Johnston

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duquette johnsonDuquette Johnston, one of the most talented artists to emerge from Birmingham’s music scene, will perform live Friday, Sept. 12, in an intimate show presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Armand Margjeka will open for Johnston. The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. in the ASC’s continental-style, acoustically excellent 350-seat Sirote Theatre, 1200 10th Ave. South. Tickets are $29.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit

Over his last three records, Johnston explored his relationship with Alabama, where he has been a fixture in the music scene for more than 20 years. His albums offered many raw looks at his time coming out of ʼ90s rock ‘n’ roll — he founded and played bass for Verbena before the band signed with Capitol Records — the costs of fame and the toll it can take on the creative mind. But through the trials, three exquisite records emerged, each building on the others’ strengths and revealing Johnston’s knack for writing songs in his own commanding voice.

Johnston’s 2013 groundbreaking release, “Rabbit Runs a Destiny,” is new territory. Produced by Margjeka, these songs mark a new journey for Johnston, unveiling a voice that is willing to be vulnerable and strong. Anchored by sweeping and majestic sonic landscapes, “Rabbit” shows a musician firmly in control of his craft and unafraid to grow and dig deeper. From stripped-down acoustic tracks to enormous crashes of drums, haunting strings and thick vocal harmonies, the album also boasts backing singers Isaaca Byrd of Nashville-based band The Bridges and singer/songwriter Natalie Prass.

This performance will bring together Johnston’s rock band with orchestral musicians, forming the largest band the artist has performed with to date.

The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. in the ASC’s continental-style, acoustically excellent 350-seat Sirote Theatre. Tickets are $29.50. Call 205-975-2787 or visit

“I’ve been performing with a nine-piece band, which includes my string quartet; but being able to play in the ASC Sirote Theatre will allow me the space and setting to bring to life the orchestra I have envisioned in the past year,” Johnston said

Margjeka was born in Tropoia, a small town nestled in the Albanian Alps. Margjeka’s musical influences came during his formative years as Western music slowly made its way into a country still reeling from the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a songwriter and producer living in Birmingham, Margjeka has developed a reputation for his fascination with the process of making great records: that intentional, incidental and accidental sounds breathe life into a recording and embody its unique character. Margjeka’s recently released sophomore album, “Hummingbird,” is available from Birmingham’s Communicating Vessels.

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