Archive for July, 2010
Mr. Matthew Everett over at Metro Pulse is reporting that Hasidic Jewish rapper Matisyahu is coming to the University of Tennessee. It’s a free “welcome week” performance at the Humanities Amphitheatre, taking place at 8 p.m. Aug. 21. Opening the show will be Nathen Maxwell (of Flogging Molly) and the Original Bunny Gang.
Blount County rock band The Moonshine Cherrys are on the cover of The Daily Times Weekend entertainment section this week, and in the story the guys — Paul Beasley, Ted Thompson, Eric Keeble and new drummer Scott Rader — talk about the new album they plan to record at Rader’s Music Row of Maryville Studios.
Adding a fourth member — Rader, with Keeble moving from behind the kit to second guitar — frees up the band to recreate the songs live as full as they are in a studio setting, Beasley said.
“When we did our old records, we would fill them up with all of these bells and whistles, but then we’d have to go out live and strip it down to the essence of the song,” Beasley said. “Bringing Scott on board really gives us what we needed to take it to the next level. With Eric on guitar, we can do a lot more harmony now. I don’t have to carry the load the whole time, and I can play acoustic some. I’ve always been an acoustic guitar freak, but at the same time, it was hard to get up there and play an acoustic guitar with a rock ‘n’ roll band when you need that electric stomp, rock ‘n’ roll sound.”
They joke that the new CD — scheduled for release sometime in the fall — might be called “Old Dogs, New Tricks,” a reference to the band’s longevity (The Cherrys have been a part of the local scene for 13 years) and to the expanded lineup. At its heart, however, the new record will be a return to form, Thompson said.
“This record to me is just about getting back to the basics, to when I was just starting this ride,” he said. “I’ve done the whole writing for radio, writing for our label, trying to think of the marketing aspect of it. After I took that year-and-a-half hiatus when my little one was coming on the scene, I kind of came back and said, ‘Ted — write like you used to. Don’t worry about whether it’s going to make it on the radio or if it’s what the kids like.’
“We don’t have to reinvent anything or do something out of the box. What we do is just raw, emotional, old-school rock ‘n’ roll. Look at a band like Led Zeppelin — those guys are timeless, no matter what the flavor-of-the-month on the radio is, and that’s what I always wanted to write — just good rock ‘n’ roll that’s timeless. So I went back to those old roots and listen to a lot of Zeppelin and Drivin N’ Cryin’ and Social Distortion while I was writing these songs.”
Memphis indie-rock outfit Snowglobe is one of the stories you’ll find in this week’s edition of The Daily Times Weekend entertainment section; among other things, founder/vocalist/pianist Brad Postlethwaite talked about fellow Memphis musician Jay Reatard, found dead in January from an apparent overdose. (I interviewed Jay in July 2009, prior to his show at The Pilot Light.)
“Me and (fellow Snowglobe member) Jeff (Hulett) lived with him for a little while, right after Snowglobe started when we first moved back to Memphis,” Postlethwaite told me. “That was when he was with (band) The Lost Sounds, and it was an interesting period of time.”
Although the two hadn’t seen each other in a while, Reatard’s death was a blow, Postlethwaite added.
“It really sucked,” he said. “We were close friends during that period of time we lived together, but eventually we saw less and less of each other, to the point where it was once a year at South By Southwest or something like that. But it definitely really made me sad.
“I still think about him, at least once a week. It still seems surreal. The thing that I worry about is that I hope he had gotten well-known enough to where his name is going to continue to live on. I think that it is; I hope he got his name out there enough so that, years from now, people will know who he is and go back and find his music.
“It’s just incredibly sad to think about how much further he could’ve gone,” Postlethwaite added.
Snowglobe performs at 10 p.m. Friday, July 30, at Barley’s Taproom, 200 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City, with The Carter Administration, a band that includes former Superdrag guitarist Sam Powers.
Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins is on the cover of Weekend this week. You can find interview clips on our website if you’d like to listen. Click here to check out the story; the clips are on the left side of the page beneath the photo. The band performs at 8 p.m. Friday, July 23, at The Valarium in Knoxville with openers Kill Hannah and Bad City. Tickets are $42.
On the band’s forthcoming album — “Feeding the Wolves,” due out on Aug. 31 and the group’s third for Universal Records — they’re capturing a little of that old ferocity, guitarist Brian Vodinh told me this week.
“We started out as a more aggressive band, and now we’re reverting back to that a little bit,” Vodinh said. “We definitely want our fans to hear this aggressive side of us, and we think they’re going to trip out when they hear this record.”
“Shoot It Out” is the album’s first single, but there are other tracks Vodinh is particularly excited about — like the song “Fade Into.”
“It’s definitely not going to go to radio because it’s 6 minutes long, so it’ll never be a single, but it’s full of crazy riffs and this little jam session in the middle,” he said. “It’s really dark and heavy — just a special song and basically something that we’ve never done before. I’m very excited for fans to hear it.”
The new album is impressive enough to earn some serious kudos from a fellow Knoxville rocker — Brent Smith, singer for Shinedown. That band is headlining the “Carnival of Madness” Tour that comes through East Tennessee on Friday, and Smith told us in a recent interview that he’s stoked his old friends are on the bill.
“I’ve known all of them for a while now, and I’m very proud of those guys,” Smith said. “I had the pleasure of being able to hear the new record, and it’s astonishing. It’s completely different from the other ones. I think they’ve come into their own as songwriters. They’re really stepping up and really focusing on making the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”
Heads up — there’s a show taking place at The Bistro at the Bijou, 807 S. Gay St. in downtown Knoxville, on Friday night that’ll call some attention to that hideous environmental nightmare process known as mountaintop removal mining. It ties into the show taking place next door at The Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay St. in downtown Knoxville — which features Daniel Martin Moore, Ben Sollee and My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James calling attention to the same thing — only the Bistro show is cheaper and features local talent — poet and musician David Phillips will be playing with local composer Brandon Beavers, Evan Carawan will be playing dulcimer and mandolin and Ben Maney will close the show on the piano. It starts at 9 p.m.; admission is $5, and information will be available for those who want to learn more about the process and do what they can to end it.
Remember back in March, when we told you about the 2010 Indiegrrl International Music Conference and Festival that’s taking place in Knoxville next month? We finally have some more details.
It features 65 showcase artists over four days, with the bulk of the conference taking place at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park Conference Center but other venues participating, including Preservation Pub, Sapphire, Downtown Grill and Brewery and more. Main stage featured artists are Jen Foster, Tret Fure, Tori Sparks, Karen E. Reynolds, Hudson K, Vicki Blankenship and The Posse Band, Suzi Ragsdale, Steff Mahan Band, Joelle Madison, RJ Cowdery, Leo & Lauren, Jackboots and more. Four-day armbands are on sale now at www.indiegrrl.com; they get you into all participating venues and cost $25. They’re sold online exclusively, and on Thursday, Aug. 19 at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park Conference Center main stage from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. only.
One-day armbands will be on sale each day for $10 and can be purchased at Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park Conference Center Main Stage and Preservation Pub in Market Square. The conference part of the event will feature workshops, panels, and keynote speakers on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park Conference Center. All educational forums being presented are designed to enhance the independent artist’s entrepreneurial development and also include a song critique panel and a song placement panel. This event is open to anyone to attend — both women and men. Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment will be the keynote speaker on Friday. Jen Foster of Fosterchild Records and the Nashville Songwriters Association will be the keynote speaker on Saturday. Other notable presenters and panelists are Lisa Aschmann author of “1,000 Songwriting Ideas,” Barbara Cloyd of Bluebird Café Nashville, Bill Pere of the Connecticut Songwriters Association, Todd Steed, Jason Wilburn of Sure Fire Music Nashville, Robyn Taylor Drake of Trio Productions Nashville and more.
Full workshop schedule and presenter bios listed on the www.indiegrrl.com website. Conference passes are $100 if purchased by July 30 and will allow access into all workshops, showcase venues, the conference kickoff party on Thursday, and the exhibit hall. One-day walk up conference passes will be available for purchase on both Friday and Saturday for $50.
My pal “Ramblin’ Man” Randall Brown, who maintains a most excellent blog for the Knoxvul daily, is also quite the fine musician. His band, Quartjar, has been through a lot of ups and downs over the years, but Randall’s always persevered, and now he’s ready to introduce the latest Quartjar lineup to an unsuspecting public. The band will debut at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at the Knoxville Museum of Art, 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive in downtown Knoxville. It’s part of the museum’s regular “Alive After Five” concert series, and according to Brown, “the show will feature a bunch of new songs and Quartjar classics, presented in full electric glory.”
No word yet on when the new album, “42,” will be ready.
Here’s the new line-up — (from left) bassist Macolm Norman, Brown on guitar and vocals and drummer Tory Flenniken.
Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Ga., has made a lot of careers over the years — artists like Shawn Mullins, Indigo Girls, Sugarland and more got their start at the club. Many more have made a pilgrimage there to compete in the a twice-yearly “Eddie’s Attic Open Mic Shootout,” a songwriting contest featuring a $1,000 prize and past winners that include John Mayer, Jennifer Daniels, Jennifer Nettles and more.
Now, Christina Horn — front woman of the local art-pop band Hudson K, which we profiled on the cover of Weekend back in May — is looking to do a similar contest here in East Tennessee. She’s billing it as “Listen Up, Knoxville!,” and it starts one week from today on Monday, July 26. Here’s what she had to say in a recent e-mail:
“I am so excited to get this series rolling. I have been going to Eddie’s Attic for a few years now and I always come home wishing we had something similar to offer in Knoxville. The reason I love it so much is because it was my first taste of what a listening room should feel like. Eddie’s was also the first time a very green artist like myself got to experience a full room of people tuned into what I was trying to say and play. I always came out of there feeling like, ‘yeah, I can do this music thing…people like it…people care.’ Now I want to try and create that same feeling here at home.”
The objective of the series, according to Horn, “is to provide a platform for local artists to meet regional artists in order to establish working relationships for future gig-swapping and support. The closed-mic will also provide a positive atmosphere for both professional and up-and-coming artists to try out new material and hone their skills as performing musicians.”
It’s starting out as a regular free show — through the month of August — in order to build support. Each week solo performances will be paired with a feature band that will perform a 30-minute set. One winner will be announced at the end of the evening. The winner will proceed to the final showcase in December for a chance to win the grand prize — one song or 10 hours with Famous London Recording Studio in Knoxville, a photo shoot with Tovah Love Photography, a poster design by McQueen Creative and a show with Hudson K.
The series takes place at Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N. Central St. in Knoxville’s historic Downtown North neighborhood (also known as “Happy Holler”), and the show begins at 8 p.m. The first band on the bill is the Lake Terrace Trio for the kick-off performance on Monday the 26th; Valley Young is set for Aug. 2.
Last September, local singer-songwriter/poet/playwright R.B. Morris financed his new album “Spies Lies and Burning Eyes” (released in January) by taking advance orders. It must’ve worked out well enough, because now he’s doing it for his next book, “Keeping the Bees Employed,” he wrote in a recent e-mail.
I’m asking everyone who can to make a pre-purchase of copies of the book,” Morris says. “This will allow me to print up the first run of the books, and those who pre-purchase will be the first to receive signed copies of this volume of life and love.”
For more information, e-mail Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On an interesting sidenote, Morris’s website notes that on Nov. 20, 2010, he’ll perform at The Square Room in downtown Knoxville — as part of an all-star ensemble bringing to life “Granddaughters,” an “Americana opera” by singer-songwriter (and Lonesome Coyotes member) Maggie Longmire. We talked to her about that project in 2008.