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2009 July at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

A cross between Rolling Stone, Soldier of Fortune and the Oxford American

Archive for July, 2009

Some soul music with your soul food!

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Got lunch plans on Friday? You do now — because we guarantee you won’t want to miss what’s cooking over at Bread of Heaven, 1366 N. Wright Road in Alcoa, across from First Baptist of Alcoa. Not only does owner Michael Colquitt cook up soul food so good you’ll weep, but now he’s serving it with a side of live music on Fridays.

Local singer-songwriter Scott McMahan, a dude we’ve written about several times (most recently back in May), is now performing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday at Bread of Heaven, helping Colquitt drum up some business.

(If I could editorialize here, it’s a shame he needs the help. What’s wrong with you people?!? I beg them to adopt me every time I eat there — the food alone should keep folks lined up out the door!)

Anyway … the prices are reasonable, especially considering it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, and the opportunity to hear McMahan’s work-in-progress — a forthcoming album tentatively titled “Dying on the Vine,” which features an all-star cast of backing musicians that includes Keith Brown, son of local jazz legend Donald Brown, on piano; local session phenom Greg Horne on fiddle and guitar; Marty Hodge on drums; and bass player Dave Peeples, who gigs with Blount County songbird Robinella — is even more incentive to skip breakfast on Fridays and head over to Alcoa.

Written by wildsmith

July 29th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Michelle Branch plays for the wealthy in Blount County

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If you saw Michelle Branch perform with her country band, The Wreckers, at the 2006 Foothills Fall Festival in downtown Maryville, you might be interested to learn that she’s returning to Blount County for another performance.

This time, however, those who wish to attend her show on Sunday, Sept. 6, will have to pony up some cash — because she’s playing an exclusive show at the luxury resort Blackberry Farm, located at 1471 W. Millers Cove Road in Townsend. It’s a swanky place, from what we here — and you’ll definitely need some cash to hear the honey-voiced singer-songwriter perform. A call to the resort reveals that there’s a three-night minimum stay because it’s Labor Day weekend. The prices — which, granted, include three fabulous meals a day, all snacks and non-alcoholic beverages and various other amenities — are more than the average person pays for a month’s rent: from $995 per night to $1,595 per night.

Short of hitting Powerball, we suggest checking out Michelle on her Myspace page if you want to hear her tunes.

Written by wildsmith

July 29th, 2009 at 8:03 am

Jerry Garcia bash to benefit Athens, Ga., theater

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You might think of Deadheads — those followers of legendary jam band the Grateful Dead — as a bunch of lazy hippies who would rather smoke dope, cook veggie burritos and drive across the country in tie-dyed VW vans than do anything productive. And you might be right — at least a little bit. But there are plenty of Grateful Dead fans who are responsible, productive members of society, as a group of them are demonstrating during the upcoming “Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash,” scheduled for 9 p.m. Aug. 7 at The Cider House, 940 Blackstock Drive (adjacent to The Valarium) in Knoxville.

On the bill: Jescoe (read a 2007 interview) … Grandpa’s StashTurtle FolkMatt Tillery … and The Last Straw (read a June story on that band). All bands will be performing songs by Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead.

Admission: $5

The goal for this year’s show: To help rebuild the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Ga., destroyed by fire on June 6. The Athens landmark was more than 100 years old and a jumping-off point for a number of bands, from Widespread Panic to R.E.M. Door proceeds from the birthday bash will go to help restore it.

Here’s the flyer:


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July 28th, 2009 at 11:34 am

Off the air/technical difficulties …

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My apologies for not posting a massive weekend calendar of live music and entertainment. I’m sure none of you were curled up in a fetal position, sucking gristle off of your thumbs without it. I’ve been off of the Internet all weekend due to a broken power cord from my home computer. Anybody have an AC adapter for a Compaq Presario V5000 just sitting around collecting dust?!? Stupid cord …

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July 26th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Free music Thursday! Tunes from Jonathan Sexton, TimLee3

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That’s right. Everybody loves free stuff, especially me. Not the accumulation of the free stuff, but the giving away of it — at least, when it comes to music. I’m grateful to all of the local bands and musicians who allow us to offer their music for free. It’s a win-win situation, because you get something (free tunes! duh!) and so do they — exposure. So download all you want, rock out and enjoy — and by all means, SUPPORT THESE ARTISTS. If you LIKE what you hear, go check them out live. Buy their CDs. Spread the word. All of those things are hallmarks of a vibrant music and arts community.

JONATHAN SEXTON: Saturday will mark one year to the day that I first wrote about local singer-songwriter Jonathan Sexton, and man, has that dude come a long way. He’s opened up at Sundown in the City and made his band — Jonathan Sexton and The Big Love Choir — an integral part of the local music community. At 6 p.m. Friday, July 24, he’ll perform at Club Catalyst, 125 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City, but this is no ordinary show. First up, it’s a benefit for Beardsley Farm’s Youth Leadership program. And there’s a ton of other musicians on the bill — Chastity Brown, The Distribution and Matt Urmy, whom we profiled in a recent interview earlier this month. Youth Leadership will showcase some of their projects in the courtyard of the Catalyst … a community cob mural will be built during the course of the evening to be permanently displayed on one of the courtyard walls … Beardsley will have produce for sale … and the video for “Babylon,” by Jonathan Sexon and The Big Love Choir, will premier and play several times on the big screen above the stage. Admission is $10, and $2 from every ticket will be donated to the program.

Jonathan Sexton and The Big Love Choir online: Click here

Read last year’s interview with Jonathan Sexton: Click here

Download “The Mountain,” by Jonathan Sexton: Right-click here (choose “Save Link As” or “Save Target As”)

Buy “Big Love,” by Jonathan Sexton: Click here

TIMLEE3: If ever there was a rock-steady musician in the local scene, Tim Lee is the guy. He’s the “go-to” guy — the guitarist whose nimble fingers and shredding talent for all manner of indie-pop and melodic playing are sought out by other musicians who want to make what they do sound better. He’s been around for almost 30 years, playing with The Windbreakers in the early days of college rock, when groups like R.E.M. were still a bunch of misfits who got weird stares at the University of Georgia. The Windbreakers, the dBs, R.E.M., Let’s Active … those are the bands that helped forge what would become alternative rock. Tim’s a helluva guy, and later on this fall (Oct. 3, to be exact), his band — the TimLee3, which includes the beautiful and talented and ass-kicking rock girl Susan Bauer Lee (his wife) on bass — will headline their own Blount County show at “The Shed” at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville. At 8 p.m. Saturday, however, the TimLee3 opens up for those good-ol’-boy rockers Mic Harrison and The High Score.

TimLee3 online: Click here

Read last year’s story on the TimLee3 and the band’s album, “Good2b3″: Click here

Download “Chuck Berry in Space,” by the TimLee3: Right-click here (choose “Save Link As” or “Save Target As”)

Buy music by the TimLee3: Click here

Written by wildsmith

July 23rd, 2009 at 7:29 am

Things we wanted to get to for the July 24 edition of Weekend …

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… but just couldn’t. My excuse: NASA called this week, and I’ve been spending most of my time attempting to help them retrieve the video footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing that they freakin’ taped over. (That seriously happened. The taping-over, not me lending a hand. That’s a lie.)

As I’ve said in the past, space limitations and the fact that God won’t let me add a couple of extra hours to each day means I just can’t write about/tell you about everything I’d like to. That said, here’s a roundup of what you WOULD have read about in the July 24 of The Daily Times Weekend entertainment section, if I was more than a one-man operation.

K-TOWN COUNTRY CARNIVAL AT CLUB CATALYST: I’ve got to hand it to the talented Trisha Gene Brady — she’s turned these monthly “K-Town Country Carnival” performances at Club Catalyst, 125 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City, into true Americana showcases. The next one takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25 and features: Duke Brown (”opening with his beautifully written songs and strong vocals and guitar work”), Upland South (”consisting of Mike McGill, Trisha Gene Brady, Josh Sidman and the infamous Wade Hill … bringing you some traditional bluegrass with a twist”), The Naughty Knots (”your host band … will swoon you and then get you dancin’ with their sweet serenades”) and The Running Dogs (”featuring members of the Lonesome Coyotes — Steve Horton, Hector Qirko and Brock Henderson — will hit you with some real honky-tonk that’ll keep your feet and your booty movin’”). Admission is $10.

CASPER AND THE COOKIES AT THE PILOT LIGHT: I really wanted to interview this band. The buzz is intriguing in and of itself — one member used to play with Of Montreal, and they’re from Athens, Ga., a hotbed of good music. The press: “Over the course of three albums, (the band) has managed to carve out an aesthetic all their own, a labyrinthine tangle of ear-worm melodies, plot-twist production and the history of popular music. This is good news for those waiting for another XTC or Elvis Costello, ambitious artists that never left their audiences wondering where the catchy songs went.” The show takes place at 10 p.m. Thursday, July 31, at The Pilot Light, 106 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City. Also on the bill: Everything, Now! Admission is $5 (we assume). Check out the band online.

BLUE MOTHER TUPELO AT BRACKINS BLUES BAR: Well, it’s not so much that we didn’t get to write about Blue Mother Tupelo — after all, we did a cover story on the band back in May — but we wanted to remind you about that cover story. And the fact that you can see the duo and hear their most excellent new album (“Heaven and Earth”) in all of its live-performance glory at 9 p.m. Saturday at Brackins Blues Bar, 112 E. Broadway Ave. in downtown Maryville. Admission is $7.

Written by wildsmith

July 23rd, 2009 at 7:25 am

Introducing … Skyfall!

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Blount County girl Laura Bloomfield sent out a mass Myspace message late last night to introduce the world to her new band — Skyfall. I was impressed. Clean, crisp production on the one song up on the band’s page; professional-looking photos; and a driving, hard-yet-melodic rock sound. Go here to check them out. It reminds me of Fireflight, a Christian rock band that played “The Shed” at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson back in June. I interviewed that band here.

Laura, in case you’ve forgotten, won this year’s “Rising Star of Tennessee” competition, sponsored by Patch Ministries. I wrote about her victory in the Adult Division here.

It appears Chad Silence, a veteran of Earth Takes Revenge, is also a part of this Skyfall project.

Written by wildsmith

July 23rd, 2009 at 6:34 am

Maryville grad, Frances founder releases solo album

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Hey, kids! Remember how we’ve blogged in the past about the New York-based indie-pop band Frances and its co-founder, Paul Hogan? Who graduated from Maryville High School in 1994? Who spent a bit of time recording the MHS marching band for inclusion on the end of a song on Frances’ most recent album? Whom we interviewed back in March? Huh? Remember?

Well, Mr. Hogan now has a solo album — under the moniker Paul Damian Hogan the Third — and he’s giving it away. (You can, if you’re feeling generous and you want to support the arts, give him a donation for it.) Here’s the press release, courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR:

Paul Damian Hogan the Third leads Frances, a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumental band spinning intricately-orchestrated, quirky pop gems. Hogan is releasing his second solo album, entitled “The Hut.” Originally conceived, composed and recorded as Paul’s doctoral dissertation, “The Hut” is a song cycle performed by Hogan (who sings, plays piano and prepared piano) as well as guest musicians on violin, acoustic bass, electric guitar and percussion.

The Hut follows the odyssey of a young man as he searches for the ruins of the composing studio of a long-lost composer. The music combines the rhythmic propulsion of Indonesian gamelan, the microtonal timbres of John Cage’s prepared piano pieces,  intricately composed rock drumming, and dreamy harmonies and catchy melodies reminiscent of Van Dyke Parks and George Gershwin. Paul is releasing the record as mp3 only and can be downloaded for free or donation at his website.

Go forth and get it on Mr. Hogan’s website.

Written by wildsmith

July 21st, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ to release first album in 12 years

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Courtesy of my pal and ace publicist Traci Thomas of Thirty Tigers:



“Crunching hard rock is the drivin’ part, brittle countryish balladry the cryin’, with the two linked by a heavy dose of Led Zeppelinphilia. If Paul Westerberg had grown up worshiping Angus Young instead of Alex Chilton, the Replacements might sound something like this youthful Atlanta trio.” Rolling Stone  review of Whisper Tames the Lion

ATLANTA, GA – Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ will put out their first record in twelve years. Great American Bubble Factory will be released on September 29, 2009 on Vintage Earth Music with marketing and distribution provided by Thirty Tigers/RED. “This record is the perfect crescendo to a long twenty-plus year career of the band. I think we’ve found the true essence of what we started to build back in 1985,” says Kevn Kinney.

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ originally started recording demos for this album on September 10, 2001. After 9/11 the band abandoned the sessions after deciding the time wasn’t right for their stories of blue-collar optimism. They returned to Sonica Studios in Atlanta earlier this year where the band produced the album in collaboration with Anton Fier, who produced their 1987 album Whisper Tames the Lion and James Barber, their ex-manager-turned-producer.

This record moves from the “Midwestern Blues” to the Flannery O’Connor South of “This Town” to the industrial grind of  “Detroit City” to the optimistic anthem (and Dictators cover) “I Stand Tall” to the genuine pining for home in “I See Georgia.”

The current DNC line up is: Kevn Kinney (guitar & vocals), Tim Nielsen (bass, mandolin & backing vocals), Mac Carter (guitar), Dave V. Johnson (drums, percussion & backing vocals). The band will be on tour throughout the fall, tour dates will be announced soon.

You can hear a preview of “Detroit City” on the band’s myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/drivinncryin

Great American Bubble Factory track listing:

1. Detroit City
2. (Whatever Happened to the) Great American Bubble Factory?
3. I See Georgia
4. Midwestern Blues
5. Let Me Down
6. I Stand Tall
7. Don’t You Know That I Know That You Know?
8. Get Around Kid
9. Preapproved, Predenied
10. The Hardest Part
11. Trainwreck
12. This Town

For more information please contact: Traci Thomas 615-664-1167 / traci@thirtytigers.com

Written by wildsmith

July 21st, 2009 at 9:45 am

Royal Bangs name new album, release first single

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Earlier this month, we told you about a brief conversation we had with Henry Gibson, longtime K-town musician and recent addition to the lineup of up-and-coming rockers the Royal Bangs.

Since then, a date for a Royal Bangs CD release show has been added to the calendar of Club Catalyst, 125 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City … and now there’s news of that new album’s name. Apparently, according to fwix.com, the band will be calling the record “Let It Beep.”

In addition, there’s a link to a song off the new album — “My Car Is Haunted” — and it kicks total ass. According to the website, it “sounds like the band has been digging into some old record crates for 70’s and early 80’s pop music as well, and at times reminds me of LCD Soundsystem. So enjoy the first tune from the new album below, and get ready for the record this fall.”

The site goes on to report that the Bangs are also hitting the road again this fall, supporting Patrick Carney’s new band, Drummer. (Carney’s a member of the Black Keys and founder of Audio Eagle, the Bangs’ label.)

Written by wildsmith

July 21st, 2009 at 8:08 am