It’s ironic that a guy whose band recently won the title of Best Blues Band in Metro Pulse’s Best of Knoxville poll is doing something that’ll make a lot of local music fans blue — leaving town.
Hector Qirko, that guitar god who’s been a fixture in the local music scene as a member of the Lonesome Coyotes, as sideman to poet/singer-songwriter R.B. Morris and as frontman for the Hector Qirko Band — which would have celebrated 25 years together this summer — has accepted a position at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. As a former South Carolina resident, I can’t say that I blame him; few cities are more picturesque than Charleston. It may be my second-favorite city I’ve ever spent time in. (The first being Key West, Fla.) And when you consider that Hector makes his living as an anthropologist — he’s been with the University of Tennessee for years — it only makes more sense, given Charleston’s long and storied history.
Hector wrote to me tonight: “I’m headed to Charleston, S.C., to take a job as Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Charleston. It’s a great school and department and a wonderful opportunity to do some full-time anthropology (my job at UT was great too, by the way, but part-time, and necessarily so because my degrees are from UT as well — they understandably don’t tend to hire their own). So I’m really looking forward to it.”
In the meantime, you should forget about the fact that parting is such sweet sorrow and make plans to be in attendance at a big ol’ bash coming up — a double-bill featuring R.B. Morris and the Coyotes at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 10, on the Old City Courtyard Stage (located behind Southbound Bar and Grill/adjacent to Barley’s Taproom). It’s only $5, and Hector will be pulling double duty with both outfits.
It’s his last show in town for a while, we’ve been told, and it leaves his various projects with giant shoes to fill. The Coyotes will probably try and soldier on without him, given they have several dates on the books (including one coming up in July at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend), and R.B. can probably find another guitar-slinger to back his own playing and singing … but the HQ Band may well have to significantly scale back its appearances when Hector’s able to make it back — if they play at all. On his own website, Hector comments on the Metro Pulse win by stating, “This one means a lot to us, because HQ has taken a job in Charleston, S.C., and it’s a very nice way to go out.”
And, he added to me, don’t count him out of the local scene altogether: “It’s not so far from K-town that I won’t be able to look in on, and hopefully play with, my old friends from time to time.”
Best of luck, Hector. You’re a helluva good dude and will be missed. For old time’s sake, here’s my 2008 review of his band’s album, “Old School.”