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2010 February at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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

Archive for February, 2010

“I just don’t dig on swine, that’s all …”

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Jules Winfield of “Pulp Fiction” may not eat bacon, but the rest of us sure do. And this weekend, you can join fellow bacon lovers right here in East Tennessee. Yes, friends, there is a festival taking place this weekend in East Tennessee to celebrate that wonderful meat product we all know and love. BaconFest 2010 culminates on Saturday with “BaconBits,” taking place at Ironwood Studios, 119 Jennings Ave. in Knoxville’s Downtown North neighborhood: “Join us … for a semi-competitive bacon off. Bring your favorite bacon dish and drink. ‘BaconBits’ will feature live music and prizes awarded for various bacon categories such as: best use of bacon grease, most pork/bacon used in a dish, most contemporary interpretation of a traditional recipe, most exotic and many more. There will be a suggested $5 with a dish, $7 without, for BaconBits that includes a sampling of contestants’ food, live music, and other tasty treats.” If you’re interested in competing, check out the festival’s website for details; if you just want to go gorge on pork, be at Ironwood at 7 p.m. on Saturday. And enjoy.

Written by wildsmith

February 24th, 2010 at 9:31 am

Posted in Festivals

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Mike Hammond inducted into Country Music DJ and Radio Hall of Fame

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The Country Music DJ and Radio Hall of Fame dinner and awards ceremony took place last night (Feb. 23) in Nashville, and WIVK-FM Operations Manager Mike Hammond was one of the inductees.

The surprise of the night, however, was that country superstar Taylor Swift surprised the audience by showing up to do the honors.

From a report over at The Boot.com:

Looking stunning in a short black cocktail dress, Taylor took the stage to welcome Mike Hammond from WIVK in Knoxville, Tenn., to the DJ and Radio Hall of Fame. Commenting that she had been to Kinkos earlier in the day, Taylor surprised Mike with a nearly life size poster of a photo she had taken with him during her first visit to WIVK.

“I think in life the way you look at things is largely based on your first impression. My first impression of country radio came in 2005 when I walked into WIVK in Knoxville,” Taylor told the crowd. “That was the day that I met Mike Hammond for the first time and it’s my memories of that day that make me so incredibly happy and honored to be the one up here inducting him into the Country Radio Hall of Fame.”

In a lengthy and heartfelt speech, Taylor recounted the veteran broadcaster’s career accomplishments and spoke warmly of his family, calling each member by name. She recalled her first visit to the station and how he had put a then unknown, high school sophomore on the air. “I was just floored because I wasn’t expecting to get put on the radio. I didn’t have a single out. I was so excited,” she recalled. “And minutes later, I was on the radio, playing my song in afternoon drive. I talked about it for weeks after that and I’m still taking about it now.

“I’ve thought about it a lot over the years: Why Mike would put me on the air? This kid who had never been on the radio before,” Taylor continued. “I think it was because Mike started in radio when he was 15 years old. Back then someone gave him a chance and so he gave one to me.”

Taylor mentioned that she had recently talked to Kenny Chesney about Mike and he too had fond memories. “Kenny told me that his favorite thing about Mike Hammond is that he’s ‘made extraordinary things happen to an ordinary person from East Tennessee’ and he wanted me to tell Mike that tonight.”

Jackie Hicks of country nightclub Cotton Eyed Joe in West Knoxville was in the audience with several co-workers for the honors, and she told me today that it was an amazing experience. She said that Swift went on to say that after her on-air performance, Hammond turned to fellow WIVK-er (and Blount County resident), deejay Gunner, and said, “We’ve just witnessed a superstar.” As a present, Swift enlarged a photo of her and Mike in front of the Citadel Communications building that houses the station, off Kingston Pike in Bearden, blown up to poster-size.

Written by wildsmith

February 24th, 2010 at 9:23 am

Sam Quinn (of the everybodyfields) prepares for new CD

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Got an e-mail from Press Here Publicity updating us media folk on the latest with Sam Quinn, half of the folk duo the everybodyfields that relocated from Johnson City to Knoxville a couple of years ago.

We caught up with his former partner, Jill Andrews, back in November; we last did a story on the band itself in 2007, after “Nothing Is OK” was released. (Incidentally, there’s a never-released everybodyfields record that Sam and Jill recorded at Rock Snob Studios last year, before they announced their split. Whether it ever sees the light of day remains to be seen.)

Sam, it seems, is preparing for the release of his own solo album. For the rest of the news, I’ll turn it over to Press Here.

A much wiser man than myself once said, “It’s time to move on.   It’s time to get goin’. What lies ahead I have no way of knowin’.”  Such is the case here.  This compilation of song, steeped in hopelessness, fortified with anguish and iced with 10 years of immediate responsibility that fell into one’s lap seemingly overnight, is a set of talks to myself that have been a long time coming.   – Sam Quinn, 2010

In an effort to keep the good times rolling in a gleefully depressing way, Sam Quinn’s latest musical incarnation finds the everybodyfields’ co-founder looking deep into his heart to deliver a collection of soul-baring songs that are part catharsis, part healing, and all beautifully written and sung. Aided by his band The Japan Ten, Quinn is stepping out in front with some new tunes, fresh faces and maybe even a new pair of brown pants. Quinn’s debut album, The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships, will be available on May 11 on esteemed NC indie label Ramseur Records.

Following the break-up of the everybodyfields, Quinn found himself off the touring circuit; it was time to rethink his life.  “After years carrying a bass amp and wearing goodwill neckties and explaining what my band sounded like to drunk people, I found some time to spend at home,” he says.  He also grew his beard to righteous proportions and quit worrying about if his suits were pressed as he confronted a painful break-up and rediscovered his way through writing the songs that became The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships.

“I did sort of use the pop music to work my life out. This album is so down it’s ridiculous,” he admits. “If you’re having a good time, you’re probably not doing something right. A happy song can lift you up for three-and-a-half minutes but sad song can make you feel bad a lot longer. It’s real stuff I was going through, a real bad year in my life so I just wanted to hash it out and get over it.  It’s real – it’s not about hopping trains or coal mining or making liquor.”

Recorded in an abandoned barn and old milking stable in South Knoxville, TN, the recordings have a warm, organic sound of like-minded folks making music together without a lot of distractions. The songs are reflective, the harmonies are aching and heartfelt, with keening pedal steel lines, piano parts reminiscent of The Band, violin lines and songs that gently build into group sing-alongs. The songs fit like an album, with a mood that settles in and makes itself at home.

Quinn has one of those imperfect voices that breaks in all the right places and sticks with you like a memory.  The songs alternately address pain and hope and often feel like confessions. On the track “Gun,” for instance, he sings, “I’m your gun and I’m loaded baby/ I could kill you tonight/ I never thought I would hurt you like I hurt you/ I can’t get you out of my sight … I kill myself a little every night.”

And though The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships is a stunning debut, it’s no party album – it’s a late-night, driving and reflecting on the past kind of record.

Explains Quinn: “Pop songs are chemically engineered to make you feel great.  These ones take a slightly different approach.”

Sam on Myspace

Sam on the everybodyfields

The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships Track Listing:

So Strong
Suite Motown
Mardis Gras
Help Me
Late The Other Night

Written by wildsmith

February 23rd, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Catching up with Tom Pappas: Warthog, Superdrag, Flesh Vehicle and more

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It’s the little things about Warthog, the Ramones tribute band hitting Barley’s Taproom on Friday night (Feb. 26), that give Tom Pappas great joy.

Pappas — the bass player in Superdrag and member of a number of other East Tennessee-to-Nashville bands — and two other Superdrag alums (John Davis and Sam Powers, along with drummer Joey Sanchez) put together Warthog for a Nashville benefit show, and the chance to play musical band positions, as well as the opportunity to ape the legendary punk band, has provided plenty of grins for Pappas and company.

“If you think about it, everybody reversed their position from the Superdrag lineup — Sam, who took my place on bass, switched to guitar for Warthog, and John, who sings and plays guitar in Superdrag, is playing bass in Warthog,” Pappas told us last week. “There’s a singer named Tommy — me — and a drummer named Joey. So it’s like The Ramones, but backwards.”

Warthog was a spur-of-the-moment project to help out a friend who’s also a Nashville club promoter. The guy put together a benefit concert for the prevention of lymphoma cancer, the same kind that killed Joey Ramone, and Pappas, Davis, Powers and Sanchez quickly rehearsed six songs to play that night.

“I just had a severe spinal injury at the time but was able to do it, and it wasn’t too bad,” Pappas said. “We just kind of left it for a while, and then we talked about it being a cover band for other punk rock covers. We tried that but decided to (forget) it and just be a Ramones tribute band.”

On the surface, it may seem like a stretch linking the two — four New Yorkers playing fast-and-furious punk in jeans and leather jackets vs. a group of East Tennessee natives who channeled Brit-pop and power-pop to make a splash in the 1990s on MTV and commercial radio — but it’s not as big of one as you might imagine, Pappas pointed out.

“Basically, all the Ramones stuff is is doo-wop and music from the ’50s, and all of the music I’ve ever written you can trace to early 1950s music, which means you can trace it back up to The Ramones,” he said. “It’s all the same stuff, but louder.”

The project has caused quite a bit of stir among the Superdrag faithful, as well as grizzled old punks who enjoy seeing how much energy and attitude Pappas and co. inject into songs like “Commando” and “Teenage Lobotomy.”

“We’ve only really played two shows, and they’ve both gone over great — a lot of humor and stuff,” he said. “This last one was a free show at The Basement here in (Nashville), and I’ve never played The Basement when it was more packed. People were taking all of these black-and-white photos; it reminded me of (legendary NYC punk club) CBGB’s.”

In addition to Warthog, Pappas is working on finalizing plans for the release of a new album by Flesh Vehicle, the side project he started in 1996. The current lineup includes Pappas on guitar/vocals, Steve Latination (of Agent Orange) on drums and Mark Robertson (of Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers) on bass; according to Pappas, the album — tentatively titled “Racket” — has been in the can for five years.

“The recording process started in November 2004, and I’ve kept meaning to put it out for years, but I just started listening to it again and realized how good it is,” Pappas said. “It’s a pretty unique-sounding record. We did all kinds of things — we set up a speaker and reverse-wired it to be a microphone, so that I was singing into a six-inch Radio Shack speaker on the bulk of the songs.

“I played a lot of acoustic guitar and had the guitar and vocals going into the same mic, and we used all small amplifiers — but you can’t really tell though, because it’s got a big sound to it. We also took an acoustic bass — not a stand-up — put a microphone on it and ran two signals, one directly to the board and the other going to a small Marshall guitar amp, and then we took the two signals and mixed them together.”

He plans on doing a limited run of pressings and hopes to put together some Flesh Vehicle shows, but right now, he said, he’s concentrating on Warthog.

Incidentally, there’s a strange connection between The Used — the emo/punk outfit performing Tuesday night, Feb. 23, at The Valarium in Knoxville — and The Used To Be, another Pappas project.

The Used To Be was originally an alternative (and, in some ways, a forebear) to Superdrag and was called simply The Used; eventually, Superdrag took precedent and The Used fell by the wayside. In 2002, Pappas put The Used back together, but by then, the Utah-based band hitting Knoxville this week had already claimed the name. (In an even bigger twist of irony, that band was once called simply Used but had to add “The” to the moniker after nomenclature conflicts with a Boston band.) So Pappas called his resurrected project The Used To Be.

Got all that? No big deal; just interesting.

“We had to change our name when I heard there was another band called The Used through the grapevine,” Pappas said. “I was a little bit bummed, but I’d left that band by the wayside when we had broken up in 1993 or 1994. I could have done something to trademark the name — paid $600 or something like that. Before The Used To Be even re-emerged, somebody had told me about this other band called The Used.

“At the time, I just didn’t give a shit. I had Flesh Vehicle, and I thought was a cooler name anyway.”

Some websites for your perusal:

Superdrag online

Flesh Vehicle on Myspace

The Used To Be on Myspace

Friday night’s show starts at 10 p.m.; Barley’s is located at 200 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City. Admission is $5, and The Dirty Johns open the show.

Written by wildsmith

February 22nd, 2010 at 11:37 am

Get your Ears wet …

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If you’re a music fan interested in checking out the upcoming Big Ears Festival on March 26-28 but feel a little intimidated by artists you’ve never heard of and an atmosphere of creativity that you believe will make you feel like a Neanderthal, fear not.

First of all, there’s no reason to feel that way. Of course, Big Ears is geared toward fans in the know, the folks who can discuss artist-in-residence Terry Riley’s “In C” with all of the enthusiasm of Cold War-era scholars talking about East-West relations, but it’s not just for those people. It’s for anyone who loves music in general, as Big Ears organizers told us last year, and now you can prep yourself with a little know-before-you-go action.

Next week, organizers will hold a “Big Ears Listening Party and Happy Hour” from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Square Room, 4 Market Square in downtown Knoxville. It’s free to get in, and there will be a door prize giveaway of a pair of all-access “Inner Ear” passes. More importantly, it’s an informal listening party to share videos and songs by Big Ears performers with area residents.

“There’s a lot going on at Big Ears, so it’s a lot to absorb,” says AC Entertainment founder and president Ashley Capps in a press release. “We want people who are curious about the festival to get together and find out more.”

At the listening party, Capps will share stories, music and videos about the performing artists and will talk about special collaborations, surprise appearances and unique performances to take place over the course of the weekend; highlighting the “firsts” that will make Big Ears 2010 an unparalleled musical experience.

Also announced yesterday — addition to the Big Ears lineup, including Sufjan Stevens, Adrian Belew and more. Get the full skinny at the festival’s website, where you can browse the schedule, read about the performers and purchase tickets.

Written by wildsmith

February 17th, 2010 at 9:51 am

“The Shed” announces lineup for spring concert season!

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“The Shed” at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville, is holding the second of its “Shed Unplugged” performances this weekend, featuring Ray Wylie Hubbard and his son, Lucas. (There’s another one slated for March 20 featuring singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith.) However, the good folks over at the dealership are already looking ahead to a bang-up spring and summer concert season, and just now they posted the lineup for the first three months up on their Myspace page. Here it is:

April 3: Unknown Hinson

April 10: Voodoo Lounge (Rolling Stones tribute)

April 17: Scott Miller and the Commonwealth

April 24: Mustang Sally

May 1: Winds of Thor (Led Zeppelin tribute)

May 8: Shannon McNally

May 15: Ray Wylie Hubbard with Hayes Carll

May 22: Bill “The Sauce Boss” Wharton

May 28: Devon Allman’s Honeytribe

June 5: Goose Creek Symphony

June 12: Todd Snider

June 19: Use Your Illusion (Guns N’ Roses tribute)

June 26: Hackensaw Boys

No word yet on ticket prices; if organizers follow last year’s formula, they’ll range from $5-$15. (I think the most expensive was $25 last fall for Leon Russell.) More details, including local bands added to the lineup, extending it into the fall and exact start times, will be announced later.

Bonnaroo 2010: The official lineup

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It’s late and I’m tired, so I’m going to use this press release from Big Hassle Publicity, the company providing PR logistical support to Superfly Productions and Knoxville-based AC Entertainment, for the bulk of the info about Bonnaroo 2010.

AC used its Bonnaroo Myspace page and Twitter account to roll out the annoucement of participating artists throughout the day rather than in one massive unveiling; it left many enraptured fans glued to Twitter and a few who expressed annoyance at the slow pace and sometimes confusing process.

In the meantime … here’s the press release:

The ninth annual four-day camping and music festival will be held on June 10 – 13 on the same beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles south of Nashville. A full list of confirmed acts follows, and more will be announced in the coming weeks. The final Bonnaroo 2010 lineup will total over 125 bands and over 20 comedians performing on 13 stages over four days.Tickets are on sale now exclusively at bonnaroo.com.

Once again, Bonnaroo has created a couple of unique ticketing options for its fans. The festival is offering a special payment plan in which tickets will be available for five (5) payments of $50.00 plus applicable fees. In addition, fans will have the option to purchase a Bonnaroo Green Ticket that will help to support the development and implementation of sustainable improvements at the festival for years to come. Festival organizers are constantly looking for ways to be aggressive with mitigating the event’s environmental impact and raising awareness about green issues.

As part of Fuse’s three-year deal with Bonnaroo, the network will be back as the exclusive television partner of the festival. Fuse will be reporting live from Bonnaroo throughout the weekend and will air a special, featuring interviews with the hottest bands and performances from this year’s star-studded lineup. www.fuse.tv

2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Confirmed Artists:

Dave Matthews Band
Kings of Leon
Stevie Wonder
Tenacious D
The Flaming Lips with Stardeath and White Dwarfs perform “Dark Side of the Moon”
The Dead Weather
Damian Marley & Nas
Norah Jones
Michael Franti & Spearhead
John Fogerty
Regina Spektor
Jimmy Cliff
LCD Soundsystem
The Avett Brothers
Thievery Corporation
Rise Against
Tori Amos
The National
Zac Brown Band
Les Claypool
John Prine
The Black Keys
Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
Jeff Beck
Dropkick Murphys
She & Him
Against Me!
The Disco Biscuits
Daryl Hall & Chromeo
Jamey Johnson
Kid Cudi
Baaba Maal
Kris Kristofferson
Medeski Martin & Wood
The xx
Dan Deacon Ensemble
The Melvins
Gaslight Anthem
Miike Snow
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Dr. Dog
They Might Be Giants
Punch Brothers
Blitzen Trapper
Blues Traveler
Miranda Lambert
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Martin Sexton
Dave Rawlings Machine
Mayer Hawthorne and the County
Jay Electronica
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Ingrid Michaelson
The Dodos
Manchester Orchestra
The Temper Trap
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Tokyo Police Club
The Entrance Band
Local Natives
Brandi Carlile
Mumford & Sons
Diane Birch
Monte Montgomery
Julia Nunes
The Postelles
Here We Go Magic
Hot Rize
Neon Indian

More acts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Written by wildsmith

February 9th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Festivals, Music

Tagged with

Superdrag dudes wanna be sedated …

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Speaking of “Funhouse” dudes in my aforementioned post, Mr. Senter gave me a tip about another upcoming Barley’s show, this one on Friday, Feb. 26. The Barley’s calendar simply lists the band as “Warthog: A tribute to the Ramones,” but a visit to the Superdrag website reveals some additional information:

“Back in March of 2009, Superdrag’s ‘Senator’ Tom Pappas, John Davis and Sam Powers enlisted the help of unstoppable drummer Joey Sanchez to put together a short set of Ramones covers for a Joey Ramone’s Birthday benefit gig in aid of lymphoma research at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge. They christened themselves Warthog for the occasion to honor the late, great Dee Dee Ramone, who penned the song of the same name (which also happened to be in the set that night). Anyway, they had such a great time playing, they’re bringing the Ramones tribute back for a couple more shows! They’ll be playing a half-hour set at The Basement’s fifth anniversary show on Feb. 6 in Nashville, and a proper headlining set at Barley’s Taproom (200 E. Jackson Ave.) in Knoxville on Feb. 26.”

Admission to that show will most likely be $5. Read last year’s cover story on Superdrag here.


Written by wildsmith

February 8th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Lucero returns to Barley’s Taproom

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After a November show that pulled them from their usual Knoxville venue — Barley’s Taproom, 200 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City — Memphis rock outfit Lucero appears to be returning there on Friday, March 26. The Barley’s live music calendar for March lists the band as performing there that night as part of the monthly “Funhouse Presents” showcases, brought to you by that wacky duo Rob Levering and Derek Senter, hosts of “The Funhouse” from 8-10 p.m. every Friday on WUTK-FM, 90.3 The Rock.

We did a story on the band when they played The Valarium last November, and the group’s most recent album — “1372 Overton Park” — made my year-end best-of list for 2009. Check out Lucero online here; no word yet on how much tickets might be or who the opening act is — our fingers are crossed for Glossary, the Murfreesboro-based band that frequently collaborates with Lucero and just put out a new CD, “Feral Fire,” on Lucero’s Liberty and Lament label.

Other notable March shows at Barley’s: Shannon McNally on Friday, March 5 … The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker on Saturday, March 6 … a CD release show by Knoxville expatriate and Nashville singer-songwriter Matt Urmy on Friday, March 12 … and former Dixie Dirt front woman/singer-songwriter Kat Brock on Sunday, March 21.

UPDATE: Tickets to the Lucero show will be $13 in advance and $15 at the door; still no word on opening bands. (Still crossing fingers for Glossary.) Call Barley’s at 521-0092 for more information.

Hot Topic in Knoxville Center Mall holding Battle of the Bands

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Think you got the chops to throw down in East Town? (Well … Knoxville Center Mall, although those of us who remember it back when it first opened can never go there or even discuss it without humming that gloriously quirky song by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, “East Town Mall.”) Then prepare yourselves, because that bitchin’ clothing/trend store known as Hot Topic is holding a Battle of the Bands competition on April 1 and 2.


It’s taking place in the store, and like most of the store’s live music performances, all sets must be acoustic. (Although if you need a small amplifier, one will be provided.)

The first band will go on around noon, the final band will wrap things up by 7 p.m. No word yet on details of judging or anything else, but if you’re interested in competing, call the store at (865) 637-7710 and ask for a manager to sign up. Details are also available on the Knoxville Center Hot Topic Myspace page.

Written by wildsmith

February 8th, 2010 at 7:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized