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2010 April at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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

Archive for April, 2010

Remembering Mark Linkous

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This weekend, singer-songwriter Angela Faye Martin — whom we’ll profile with a story in The Daily Times Weekend section — will perform with Mitch Easter and the Tim Lee 3 at Barley’s Taproom in Knoxville’s Old City. Martin’s most recent album, “Pictures From Home,” was one of the last studio projects worked on by Mark Linkous, the late genius behind the band Sparklehorse who committed suicide in Knoxville on March 6.

She spoke at length to us about her association with Linkous, whom she considered a friend and mentor, and about the shock and devastation his death caused. She’s adamant up front that she holds no special place in the Sparklehorse solar system; she was just one of the myriad celestial bodies revolving around the bright and burning sun that Linkous was to those who knew him.

“Cheerwines, honeybuns, cigarettes — they were just a part of Mark’s self-destructive nature, and I didn’t think he was any more depressed than he already was,” Martin told us. “I thought that he might succumb to a smoking-related illness that was decades away. I always thought I would lose him that way — I had him on a big brother pedestal, and I don’t imagine somebody on that kind of pedestal getting to a point where they would consider suicide to be an option.”

Martin remembers an extremely sensitive soul who, when he first came over to her house, nearly burst into tears over a dog he had never met.

“My dog had just died five days before, and while I was talking to him, I told him about it,” she said. “He had never been to our home before and had never met the dog, but his eyes literally filled up with tears when I told him. I knew then that I was dealing with a different person than I’d ever know. He was one of the most sensitive people I ever met in my life. He was otherwordly in his sensitivity.”

Not that he was a brooding, moping soul who found no joy in the world, she hastened to add. She has plenty of good memories of making her album at Linkous’ Static King Studios.

“He was a neat freak, and his studio was unbelievably tidy,” she said with a laugh. “He taught me how to be a good housekeeper, which my husband greatly appreciated. He taught me that every object has a home, and that you don’t have to keep ugly shit around if you don’t want to. You can deface it and make it interesting-looking or just get rid of it.

“He used Lava soap, and he scrubbed anything shiny with steel wool, so that it would look worn and used. He didn’t like anything to look new in his studio. I remember when we went over to his house for supper one time, he was doing the dishes for his wife, and I had put him on such a pedestal that I objected to someone like him having to do dishes or take out garbage.”

In the end, Linkous’ suicide remains a mystery. He left no note, no explanation, no rhyme or reason as to why he shot himself. Like many fans and friends, Martin has her own theories.

“I think a good deal of his deciding to do it was because he thought he was hurting us all, and that because he was imperfect and human that he would continue to hurt the people he loved,” she said. “I truly believe he couldn’t handle the thought of doing that.”

Written by wildsmith

April 28th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Tangerine Jam for R.A.M.

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A new salon in Maryville, Tangerine’s, is combining its grand opening festivities on Saturday with some live music and a good cause. It kicks off at noon, and a portion of all the proceeds from the refreshments and the services will benefit Remote Area Medical, an organization that’s been in the news all week for the free health care clinics the organization recently held in Los Angeles. (It’s an East Tennessee-based organization, by the way.)

Performers for the event include Robby Bratta, Kendall Ross, Laurel Wright, SevenDayBeliever and Mike Thomas. It lasts until 8 p.m. and is free to attend. Tangerine’s is located at 1104 W. Broadway Ave. in Maryville, where the old Cranberrie’s salon used to be located. Call 977-4446 for more information, or visit Tangerine’s on Facebook.

Written by wildsmith

April 28th, 2010 at 11:45 am

Bannerfest slated for May 22-23 in Fountain City

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Edgepoint Church and His Laboring Few Ministries are teaming up for a massive, two-day Christian music festival in Fountain City next month. According to organizers, Bannerfest will be held May 22 and 23, with Saturday as the main festival day and Sunday as a day of services and worship. It’s absolutely free, and activities begin at noon on Saturday, May 22. In addition to attractions like “a bald eagle and a stilt walker,” there will be a children’s area with inflatables, food and 12 bands. The schedule:

A dance team will perform between sets during the day, while local track-waxer DJ Cookie will spin between sets at night. The festival takes place at Edgepoint Church, 4644 Walker Blvd. in Knoxville’s Fountain City community; organizers plan to block off the street and party down for Jesus into the wee hours.

Written by wildsmith

April 28th, 2010 at 6:59 am

Go tell it on …er, about … the Mountain Top …

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Calling all environmental activists — there’s a festival for a good cause taking place Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15 in Knoxville’s Old City.

It’s being billed as the AMP Music Fest, and it’ll serve two functions, according to organizers — celebrating our beloved Appalachian Mountains and calling attention to mountain top removal, the mining process that literally scalps a peak to get at the coal beneath. Proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the United Mountain Defense Fund, which combats the practice and fights to end it.

Activities will be taking place in and around Southbound Bar and Grill, located at 106 S. Central St. in the Old City. In addition to the inside stage and the one upstairs at the overhead dance venue 90 Proof Nightclub, organizers will be making use of the big stage located in the Old City Courtyard (what amounts to that big freakin’ parking lot adjacent to Barley’s/behind Southbound that once served as home to Sundown in the City during the Market Square renovations a few years ago). Performers include: Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Truly Grimy, Big Country’s Empty Bottle, Skytown Riot, Lane Shuler with Black Atticus, Mac Comer, Midnight Radio, Mamma Jamma, Magma Blood, DJ JMarsh, Uncle Mountain, BlackJack, Refried Grass, Red County Gospel and more.

Tickets are $5, although additional donations are welcome; it’s set to begin at 5 p.m. both days. Full schedule coming soon; check the festival website for more information.

Written by wildsmith

April 26th, 2010 at 7:32 am

CS&N come to Knoxville!

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First, local entertainment conglomerate AC Entertainment announced a few weeks ago that icon Neil Young will be making his first visit to Knoxville ever on May 27. Now, according to both the touring website Pollstar and the band’s official website, Young’s old collaborators — the legendary folk/protest/rock trio Crosby, Stills and Nash — will becoming to town as well.

Date: Sept. 20, 2010

Venue: The Tennessee Theatre, 604 S. Gay St., downtown Knoxville.

Tickets: No word yet. (EDIT 4/26: The show is now up on the Tennessee Theatre website. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 18, and will be $80 and $100.)

RAWK.

Written by wildsmith

April 24th, 2010 at 11:44 am

That other Avett comes (back) to town …

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A week from tonight, Jim Avett — patriarch of the Avett family, which includes those boys Scott and Seth who play together as The Avett Brothers — will come to East Tennessee for a show at Preservation Pub, 28 Market Square in downtown Knoxville. We’ll have an interview with him in Friday’s edition of The Daily Times Weekend section; during our talk, he recalled his initial preparation for visiting Knoxville to play a March date on the WDVX-FM “Blue Plate Special.”

“When I told Scott and Seth about it, I was taking them to the airport — that was about six weeks ago, and they were going to Europe,” the elder Avett told me. “They asked me what I had going on, and I told them I had this and that and that I’d be over at the ‘Blue Plate’ in Knoxville. Seth said, ‘That’s one of my favorite places to play,’ and I said, ‘Really? A radio interview?’

“He said, ‘Daddy, it’s more than that. You better prepare more than four or five songs, because it’s a whole hour. People bring their lunch and watch you play.’”

Avett has another association with Knoxville as well; he’s an amateur musicologist who’s always owned an extensive music collection — roughly 6,000 to 7,000 albums, by his estimation (so many that he has a brand new vinyl record player still sitting in the box on standby for the inevitable moment when the one he currently uses goes belly-up) — but a few years ago, he started collection instruments as well.

“I started buying guitars probably 15 years ago,” said Avett, who puts his six-string collection at 60 or 70 vintage guitars. “I have more than enough, but I just love a good stringed instrument. I play each guitar probably once a year, and I’ve got maybe 10 fiddles and some other oddball stuff, too. I sell some stuff through Matt Morelock’s store (Morelock Music, on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville) every once in a while. Knoxville’s a good town to be around.”

Written by wildsmith

April 21st, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Those crazy Paramore fans …

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How rabid are fans of the band Paramore, which performs Monday, April 26, at the Civic Coliseum in downtown Knoxville (with Relient K and fun.)?

Put it this way — they’ll risk life and limb for the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal, as bass player Jeremy Davis told me last week.

“We were in Baltimore a few years ago, us and two other bands, and we were gonna walk down the street to the mall before we played a show that night,” Davis said. “(Paramore singer) Hayley (Williams) was the only girl, and there were about 20-something guys, and we were all just walking down the street when this car goes by, and this guy starts leaning out the passenger window yelling, ‘Paramore! I love you!’

“Then he just opens the door and jumps out of the car — while it was still moving! His friend keeps driving, but he goes running up to us shouting ‘Hayley! Hayley! Hayley!’ over and over and goes rushing up like he’s going to hug us. But then I guess he noticed the rest of us — 20-something guys — were sort of surrounding her, and he stops real quick and says, ‘Oh! I mean … Josh (Farro, Paramore’s guitarist)! I mean, I love all you guys!’”

Davis laughs, but the story doesn’t end there. Crazy car-jumper followed the band to the mall.

“He just kept following us around the mall, saying creepy stuff like, ‘Do you like apples? I like apples,’” Davis said. “We had to do a fake phone interview just to make him get away from us.”

Look for the full interview with Davis in Friday’s edition of The Daily Times Weekend section.

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April 21st, 2010 at 11:42 am

Clayton Center schedules “Friday Night Music Series”

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After the semester ends over on the Maryville College campus, that doesn’t mean the newly opened Clayton Center for the Arts will be shuttered for the summer. In addition to the Acoustic Concert Series that’ll be held in conjunction with Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamps, the venue’s website shows that a “Friday Night Music Series” will begin next month. No word yet on ticket prices; but the shows will take place at 8 p.m. in the facility’s Lambert Recital Hall. Here’s what’s on the calendar so far:

In addition, Clayton Center Marketing Director John Cherry told me recently, the venue will roll out its 2010-2011 lineup of entertainment in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Introducing Latitude 35

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After weeks of being a blank page, the website for the new Market Square club in the former location of World Grotto — 16 Market Square — is now active. Back in September, I blogged a bit after talking with someone who’d gotten some inside info into the venue’s transformation, but it turns out the end result might be something else entirely. It’s called Latitude 35, and according to the website, it’s “an urban outlook on comfort food, innovative sports viewing and a premier nightclub.” So far, the calendar is pretty spartan, and there are no live music listings up as of yet. No word even on a grand opening, but you can keep up by following the venue on Twitter.

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April 20th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Local venues

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“The Pickin’ Porch” announces 2010 schedule

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The fine folks up at Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop, 7645 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, have posted their schedule for the 2010 season of “The Pickin’ Porch.” It’s a great — and free — concert series that takes place every Saturday night at 7 p.m., and it kicks off this year on May 15 with a performance by Native American flute player Randy McGinnis. It runs through Oct. 23. A variety of performers are on the program this year, including Bing Futch, whom we profiled a couple of years ago.

Wood-N-Strings is a family business started by husband-and-wife Mike and Connie Clemmer. Their daughter, Cherith Millar, runs the store and sees a large number of visitors who come to this area for the music as much as the scenery.

“I’d say 80 percent of them want to hear music while they’re here,” Millar told us last year. “A lot of people who come in here to the store want to hear music, even if they don’t want to buy anything. They’ll ask, ‘Can you play something for us?’, just because they want to hear that kind of music. That’s something you really don’t get in a whole lot of other places. There are very few places you can actually hear it live, especially in an authentic setting like Townsend.”

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April 20th, 2010 at 12:28 pm