UAB doctors practice medicine, make music as Enriched White Hominy
During clinical rotations at Huntsville Hospital, four medical students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham completed rounds, while earning rounds of applause with their band.
All Alabama natives, Dr. Ty Ashley of St. Florian, Dr. Matt Caldwell of Thomasville, Dr. James Norman of Luverne and Dr. Jeremy Thompson of Lexington graduated from UAB on May 20.
“We first formed a band at the end of third year of medical school,” Caldwell said. “We were all interested in family medicine and had been approached by the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians to entertain for their annual meeting in Sandestin.”
“We don’t do skits, but I know a few fellows that can pick and grin,” Norman told the academy.
Enriched White Hominy (AKA grits) was Norman’s choice for the band’s name. “We’re a bluegrass cover band and a somewhat bluegrass ‘converter’ band. We recently converted ‘Forget You’ by Cee Lo Green into a ‘bluegrassy-type’ song,” Caldwell said.
Their standard set includes “Tell It to Me” and “Down-Home Girl,” Old Crow Medicine Show; “Long, Black Veil,” Dave Matthews Band; “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,” Bill Withers; “Calling Baton Rouge,” Garth Brooks; “He’s in the Jailhouse Now” from the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack; and “Peaceful, Easy Feeling,” The Eagles.
Ashley and Norman handle lead vocals. “James plays guitar, banjo and harmonica. Ty plays rhythm guitar and mandolin and yodeling on ‘Jailhouse Now,’ which always kills the audience,” Caldwell, who pumps it on bass, said. “Jeremy can play anything with strings — fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar — and some falsetto background vocals.”
“Wagon Wheel” is their favorite chart “just because we’re good at it. It relies heavily on the fiddle, which Jeremy is very good at,” Caldwell said.
Ashley and wife Brittany have a two-year-old son, Sam, and are expecting their second child. Caldwell and wife Katie are expecting their first child. Thompson and wife Jessica are parents of a six-month-old daughter Ruby. Norman is single.
Caldwell and Thompson will enter residency at Huntsville Hospital, Norman in South Bend, Ind. and Ashley in Bryan, Texas. All the doctors will enter family practice.