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2011 August at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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

Archive for August, 2011

So long, Scott: Miller makes his move back to Virginia

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lScott Miller in front of Roy’s Record Shop in downtown Maryville, circa 2002. (The Daily Times file photo)

There’s something about knowing where a man lays his head at night that’s reassuring, and most of the time we don’t even realize it.

We take for granted that the friends we make and the musicians we love are just a part of life here in East Tennessee. Shows they play are a regular thing, and when we get to know them beyond the persona they project from stage, we take for granted that they’re our neighbors — that we might run into them buying steaks at Kroger or filling up their car at Weigel’s.

And then something happens — they move on or, God forbid, pass on, and suddenly we become very aware of that empty spot where that person used to be.

Fortunately for those of us who know and love Scott Miller, he’s decided to do the former. It doesn’t make it any less disappointing, but if there’s any comfort to be found in the singer-songwriter’s recent relocation to his home state of Virginia, it’s that he’s just up the road. And he assures us he’ll be back in the Knoxville area often.

“You won’t even notice I’m gone! I’m coming back tomorrow, and I’ll be there all week, through Monday,” including a show opening for The Dirty Guv’nahs on Friday night at The Tennessee Theatre with his band The Commonwealth, Miller told me on Tuesday afternoon. “I’ll be coming back for my October show at the Laurel (Theater), I always have Nashville stuff to do, and The V-Roys are rehearsing for New Year’s Eve. Even when I lived there, it’s not like I was in town anyway. I was always on the road.”

And to be fair, he pointed out, he’s never made it a secret that he wanted to eventually move back to the Commonwealth.

“Anybody that knows me, or anybody I have let get to know me, knows that I’ve always said I’m moving back near the (family) farm eventually,” he said. “I come home all the time — to help bring cattle in, two weeks to help bale the hay, and earlier in the summer, it was just painfully obvious my dad needed help. Anybody with elderly parents knows the deal. And I can work anywhere, and Thea (his wife) was cool with moving her business (Miller Lane Studio, an interior design firm).”

What he didn’t expect, he said, was to move so quickly. He and Thea found a house in Staunton, Va. — home of the Statler Brothers, birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson and the first town in America to implement the city manager system of government, the history buff is quick to point out — but it was a fixer-upper. Negotiations for a home loan took time, and the Millers weren’t sure their Rocky Hill home would sell in such a dismal economic climate.

“Then this guy called and said, ‘I want this house, and I need to be in it by Aug. 26,’” he said. “We were like, ‘Holy cow — that’s in two weeks!’ We were counting on a month, and I was even thinking it might be the first of the year. We thought we’d come up, work on this while our house was on the market and ease everybody into the idea. Sometimes, though, people need a kick out the door.”

And so last week, PBS sent a documentary film crew to town to spend some time with Miller for an “American Voyage” segment on East Tennessee. (”I spent the whole day with them and didn’t bother to tell them, ‘Hey, tomorrow morning there’s a moving van pulling out with all my shit,’” he joked. “To alleviate that guilt, I got them to do something on R.B. Morris, too.”) The next morning, he helped his V-Roys bandmate Mic Harrison with Harrison’s landscaping business, and that afternoon, the two hit the road driving two U-Haul trucks north.

There’s plenty of work to be done. In addition to rehabbing the old house he and Thea now call home, he’s working on a “mess” of new songs (”I’ve got to talk to Doug Lancio” about work on a new record, he said), and of course The V-Roys will undoubtedly sell out their New Year’s Eve show at The Bijou Theatre. (Disc Exchange on Chapman Highway will host a ticket pre-sale event at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, for that concert; the first 30 people who purchase tickets at the event will also be able to purchase an autographed copy of “Sooner Or Later,” the band’s new compilation album, two weeks before its regular release date.)

And with so many loose ends left untied here in East Tennessee, he probably won’t be gone long enough to miss us.

But for those East Tennesseans who came to adopt a skinny kid from Virginia who came here two decades ago, his absence will be noted.

“That town raised me, and I consider that my hometown,” he said. “I came to Knoxville a country ding-dong. Everything I learned in that city and East Tennessee, that’s part of me. East Tennessee is a part of me. I carry it with me, and I’ll carry it home.”

Written by wildsmith

August 30th, 2011 at 8:59 am

Dishwater Blonde leader channels Bono for Sept. 11 service

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u2charist_posterIf you’re a fan of Irish rock band U2 and love the voice of Davis Mitchell when he sings for local funk/soul/R&B outfit Dishwater Blonde, you might consider coming out to Maryville College on Sept. 11.

Here’s the press release on a unique event that will no doubt be a spiritual experience:

What do you get when you cross the music of Irish rock band U2 with Holy Communion? It’s called a U2Charist, and it’s coming Sun., Sept. 11, to the Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College.

This unique worship event, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre, is hosted by Maryville College’s Center for Campus Ministry and Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa. Classic U2 songs such as “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Pride (In the Name of Love),” will be offered up during the worship service by Davis Mitchell, other members of Dishwater Blonde, and keyboardist and Maryville College alumnus Jerry Sullivan.

“Many of U2’s songs are rife with spiritual themes,” said Buzz Trexler, pastor at Green Meadow United Methodist Church (EDITOR’S NOTE: Trexler is the managing editor of The Daily Times). “In recent years, many churches have taken the opportunity to explore those themes from the pulpit and in small groups. At Green Meadow, for instance, one Christmas Eve message was based upon the U2 song ‘When Love Comes to Town.’”

The Rev. Anne McKee, campus minister at Maryville College, will lead the service, and Trexler, who is designing the service, will present the message and assist McKee during the service.

Trexler said the Sept. 11 service at Maryville College has been a six-year effort at trying to put together a U2Charist in the Maryville area. U2Charists have been held around the world since 2004, featuring the music of U2, with a message supporting Millennium Development Goals, such as eradicating poverty and hunger, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

“The ability to have live music in a neutral setting was something that always seemed to evade me,” he said. “Yet, here it is coming to pass for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.”

As the band and the venue came together, it became clear to him that there was a U2-based theme relevant to this anniversary, he said.

“The chorus in ‘Sunday, Bloody Sunday’ is ‘How long must we sing this song …,’” Trexler said. “When you think of all the grief and misery that has come in the wake of that attack, what more relevant question to ask for such a time as this?”

The event is free and open to the public. An offering will be collected to benefit ministries related to One Millennium Goals: Strength for the Journey, an East Tennessee AIDS/HIV ministry; Family Promise of Blount County, a homeless ministry; and The Welcome Table, a food and fellowship ministry in Maryville.

Written by wildsmith

August 25th, 2011 at 8:51 am

Catching up with: Angela Santos of Dixie Dirt …

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angelaAngela Santos (left, with Pete Bryan on the drums) at a 2005 Dixie Dirt rehearsal at “The White House” in Fort Sanders. (Wes Hope | The Daily Times file photo)

This weekend’s Metro Pulse 20Fest has me in a nostalgic mood. Last week, I caught up with the Lewises of Knoxville pop-rock band Jag Star, and over the weekend, I heard from Angela Santos, the smokin’ hot guitar player from now-defunct Knoxville band Dixie Dirt.

It’s no secret that band has been a long-time favorite of mine; you can read what I said about the band in MP’s “Best Knoxville Band Ever” roundup a few years back. Singer/guitarist Kat Brock is still making music out of Nashville, where she moved a couple of years ago (she was a part of 20Fest activities at Morelock Music) … original DD drummer Simon Lynn is in Music City as well, collaborating her … his replacement, Pete Bryan, is still around Knoxville, running sound at Barley’s Taproom and popping up at various concerts … and Bradford Carruth, bass player/keyboardist/backup vocalists, fronted his own project, Invisible Giants, for a while. (Haven’t seen him around lately, though.)

Santos moved to Nashville at first to pursue her passion — the culinary arts — but then she popped up on the West Coast.

“I left Nashville late last April and moved to Seattle,” she wrote to me on Facebook. “Got a job offer, felt a wild hair and decided f— it, I’ve always wanted to see the Pacific Northwest. Twenty-eight days later, here I was. It’s really beautiful out here. and there’s a good competitive food scene.”

Food, incidentally, has been her focus since Dixie Dirt called it quits, she said.

“I am currently a head chef for Whole Foods and am focusing on writing new recipes for the Health Starts Here initiative,” she wrote. “I have also partnered up with two people out here, and we are working on opening our own restaurant. It will be called “Goldfinch.” I love that name.

“I haven’t played a single show since Dixie Dirt split. Musically, I haven’t been very active either. I still play my guitar at home, but as far as getting a project up and going, I am straight up not interested. What can i say? I was approached by a few musicians when i was still in Nashville but found myself asking questions like, ‘Who does your merch/ CD pressing? Are you planing to tour? Do you have a street team organized? Do you have an artist or designer that has created a solid image for all of your posters, shirts, etc? Are you involved with a solid publicist?’ Blah blah blah.

“Terrible questions, and I got an eye-opening answer from my buddy Michael Crouch, who said, ‘You are thinking about all the wrong shit,’” she added. “‘Are all of those things necessary for you to consider playing music?’ So until those ideas fall off my radar … did i mention cooking being my focus?”

Still, Dixie Dirt holds a special place in her heart, as does the Knoxville music scene. She has fond memories of “every experience I ever had with Jason Boardman,” owner of The Pilot Light, of the first time DD played Bonnaroo, and the very first “Knoxville Drops Its Ball New Year’s Eve Party,” which the band hosted annually for a few years at Barley’s.

“We promised Ken Stuart that we would pack out the house with all of these Pilot Light bands, (and) we were sweating bullets hoping that 300 people would show up,” she wrote. “But then, (the) night of, there was a line down the block. It made us realize that we could do whatever we wanted, and it was a great feeling sitting upstairs with our buddies in bands, drinking free beer on a successful night that was all acomplished by our collective efforts — not managers, publicicsts, etc.”

And one of these days, she added, she might just make her way back to East Tennessee — after she’s checked off every item on her “bucket list.”

“Then i will come back, buys a house and live out my days on foot,” she wrote. “That’s the fantasy. Knoxville to me is like Never Never Land. It is the most special and wonderful place i have ever lived. Maybe i am romanticizing it a bit, but the memories i have of that place are like little gems i keep in my pocket, and I need that to stay as it is for a while.”

Much love, Angela. And for those of you who need further proof as to what an ass-kicking guitarist she is, go here and watch this.

Written by wildsmith

August 22nd, 2011 at 6:37 am

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Parenthood rocks: The Lewises put Jag Star on the back burner

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6835_jag_starSarah Lewis (center) and her husband, J. (right) have put Jag Star in indefinite hiatus to spend time raising their children.

Tonight’s “20Fest” party being thrown by Metro Pulse throughout downtown Knoxville is a star-studded affair to be sure, filled with rockers throughout the long and storied history of the East Tennessee music scene.

However, there are some noticeably absent names — not the fault of MP, but simply because … well, those bands aren’t around, or those rockers have taken a step away from music. In keeping with today’s big celebration of Knox rock history, I caught up with Sarah Lewis of the pop-rock band Jag Star this week, and while she’s still making music, she’s much more concerned with being a mommy these days.

“I had Sofie, our first kid, and she’s 2 now; then I had Charlie, and he’s 1,” Lewis said. “It’s crazy how our lives have changed. Everybody told us it would, and that’s why we waited to have kids so we could focus on our career. Then they came along, and we realized we were really missing out. We kept thinking, ‘Why didn’t we do this 10 years ago?’

“We would never take back the fun we had doing Jag Star, but we love being parents, and it’s such a time-consuming thing — in a good way — that we want to be completely involved. We can’t imagine dragging them out on the road at this point, or even taking time to rehearse for shows in Knoxville at this point.”

That’s not to say that Jag Star is finished, she added; for now, however, the Lewises are content with their all-American lives. Her husband (and Jag Star guitarist), J., sells real estate through Keller Williams Realty.

“He’s always been interested, and it was the perfect time when we started having kids,” Sarah said. “He really likes it.”

Sarah, meanwhile, works from home, composing music for television shows like “LA Ink” and “The World According to Paris,” starring celebrity Paris Hilton.

“The guy who originally contacted me about doing background music was a Jag Star fan who had placed our music in other shows,” she said. “I had sent him some background music and said, ‘By the way, I do this, too.’ That’s what I really love to do, so I sent him my stuff, and word just started spreading that way. It’s so different than what it used to be for me — they tell me what they want it to sound like, like whether they want it to sound tense or dramatic, and I have to imagine something and write around that. And they just plug it into the right spot on the show.

“I can do it at home, and the kids are right beside me playing while I do it. And I don’t do it every day. It’s been fun — probably the least stressful part of my music career, because I’m not worrying about the lyrics or the vocals, and I can do it at my house with my instruments and my keyboard.”

And while the instrumental score may not be identifiable with her voice, fans of the show can still hear a Jag Star show every now and then — although how it’s used isn’t necessarily up to the Lewises.

“One of the shows used ‘Sofie’ (about their daughter) for this really dramatic part about Paris wanting to lose weight,” Sarah said with a laugh. “I just thought, ‘That’s so wrong! That’s not what that song was intended for!’ But you just have to laugh, because it’s kind of cool.”

For those unfamiliar, the Lewises took the Knoxville music scene by storm in the late 1990s, releasing the folk-pop EP “In the Beginning.” At the time, the band’s sound was tempered with Sarah Lewis’ mandolin playing and the gossamer-threaded sounds of former band member Erin Archer’s viola. That carried over to the band’s full-length independent debut, “Crazy Place,” released in 2002, but by then the band had adapted a much more rock-oriented sound, evident by the single “Mouth,” which won Lewis the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

The next record, “Cinematic,” took a decidedly pop-oriented turn. The songs, however, displayed a confidence born out of maturity, snapping and sparkling with Lewis’ lilting vocals and the uncomplicated but irresistibly catchy interplay between the members. Outside the studio, the band made two trips overseas, to the Middle East in the fall of 2003 and to U.S. bases in the Pacific in early 2004 to perform for American troops as part of a USO tour.

In addition, the group also won a Budweiser sponsorship, was featured in an advertising spread in Vanity Fair’s music issue and played at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles as finalists for the New Music Awards, having been selected by Dick Clark. Throughout its career, the band’s songs have been featured on a handful of TV shows — “Road Rules,” “The Real World,” “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills” on MTV, “Roller Girls” on A&E and “Pacific Coast Highway” on the Travel Channel among them — and Sarah Lewis was signed to a songwriting house based out of Los Angeles.

In 2008, the couple moved briefly to Nashville before returning to East Tennessee when Sofie was 4 months old. At the time, the band started work on “Static Bliss,” released last year during Sarah’s pregnancy with Charlie. With two kids, the Lewises just don’t have the time (or energy) to make Jag Star a priority.

“A lot of people say, ‘When’s your next show? Why aren’t you playing locally?’ But even the time and the work that goes into anything that you do — especially if you want it to be worth somebody coming out to see you do it — is a lot,” she said.”It’s just so hard for us to get out now. We stay in touch with people and with some of our fans, but they know how crazy we are right now. With a 1- and a 2-year-old, they don’t expect a lot of us.”

Written by wildsmith

August 19th, 2011 at 8:14 am

Posted in Music, Uncategorized

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Todd Steed, Bob Deck to kick off ‘Concert on the Couch’ at Southland

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171722_106904096052483_100343703375189_48954_5759918_oTodd Steed performs at WayneStock in Knoxville in January 2011. Photo by Mark A. Large | The Daily Times

Southland Books and Coffee Shop (801 E. Broadway Ave. in Maryville), a fine destination for java and literature right here in Blount County, has always been a supporter of music and the arts. Owner Lisa Misosky usually participates in the monthly Last Friday Art Walk, and her business shares a space with Southern Studios Stained Glass, owned by local artisan Catherine Frye.

While the shop has hosted acoustic performances in the past, it’s going high-class (or low-brow, depending on the mood of the performers on deck) with a new concert series — “Concert on the Couch,” which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 with a show by Todd Steed and Bob Deck. Steed is a local music scene icon and veteran of such bands as Smokin’ Dave and the Premo Dopes, Apelife, Opposable Thumbs and his current project, Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere. His most recent project, created with Deck, is a joyous, bizarre and trippy thing called “Unmind.” It sort of defies a short explanation, so we suggest you read about it here.

It’s a free show, but due to Southland’s cozy size and the probability the shop will fill up quick, we suggest getting there early. It’s the first of an ongoing series, according to Steve Foster (the organizer and the guy running the coffee shop at Southland), that will feature prominent local musicians. Stay tuned for more info on upcoming dates and performers.

I reached out to Todd and asked about previous performances in Maryville, and as always, he’s a reliable source for a great story. Here’s his Murvul tales, in his own words …

“The last time I played Maryville was at ‘The Shed’ (at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson) a couple of years ago with the Suns of Phere. A really great (gig), welcoming — and being in the out of doors is always a treat. That way, the couldn’t smell the band.  We really salute what they are doing.

“The last time I played downtown Maryville was 1979, if you can believe that. I must have been 3 years old, or perhaps 17. We played the Maryville High Prom after-party in a theater on the main street. (Don’t recall the name.)

“I was in a band called ETC. that played a wide range of covers ranging from Toto, The Doobie Brothers and Skynyrd  to Frank Zappa, The Cars and Devo. It was a democratic band so everybody got to choose their favorites, hence the setlist. We even had a manager, Glenn Reynolds, who is now the artist known as Instapundit, the world’s most read blogger. He and a couple of the guys in the band were from Maryville.  (Steve Profitt and Danny Cartlidge.)

“We also had a cupful of original songs that were almost digestible to the teen audiences of the day.

“Anyway — we actually had TWO gigs that night, the first being at Bearden Junior High for some sort of sock hop type of affair.  We rocked those middle schoolers and quickly packed our gear.

“Then we drove out Alcoa Highway and had a quick dinner at the airport Shoneys.  I remember thinking at the time, sitting around with a bunch of guys talking about music at the Shoneys:  ‘I AM LIVING THE LIFE I HAVE BEEN DREAMING OF. THIS IS IT!’

“Then we were off to the post-prom gig. It must have started at midnight or later — and we played until about 2:30. Much happiness was had, people fell in love and broke up to the sounds of ‘Color My World’ — and we played as well as we could, whatever level that might have been.

“I remember getting and home and being so tired I fell asleep wearing my Chuck Taylors.

“So, I am very pumped about returning the scene of my teenage near-triumph.  No ‘Color My World’ this time, though.”

A follow-up email from Todd: “CORRECTION! 1980. It was the prom breakfast, starting at 2 a.m.  So we finished at 4 a.m. Gig was called “Prom Breakfast.”

Written by wildsmith

August 11th, 2011 at 8:48 am

Blount couple launches “In the Spirit” radio show starting Sunday

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Seventy-five years ago, folks all over rural Tennessee would gather around the family radio on Saturday nights and listen to the sounds of the Grand Ole Opry transmitted across the airwaves from Nashville.

Starting this Sunday (Aug. 14), there’s another type of family show that will be broadcast over the local airwaves — “In the Spirit,” which will air from 8 to 11 a.m. every Sunday on WFIV-FM, i105. You can pick it up at 105.3 FM, and it’s the latest specialty show on a station dedicated to local music. And the best part — the two hosts are Blount County’s Americana royalty, Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle.

“Tony (Cox, the station’s general manager) wanted to do a bluegrass-gospel show on Sundays, but after we talked, we decided to expand and not put any limits on it,” Jeff told us this week. “It’s all just good, inspirational music — from Sam Bush to Sam Cooke, from Bob Marley to Bob Wills, from Loretta Lynn to Mahalia Jackson.”

“Basically, it’s what you would hear if you came to our house on Sunday mornings,” Sarah added. “It’s what you’re going to hear from our collection while we make you breakfast.”

For now, the couple will pre-record the program from their home in Walland’s Barb Hollow community. Plans are in the works to expand it to the noon hour, and given the company the couple keeps, there’s no telling who might show up for a live segment — Larry Cordle or any number of local players.

In the meantime, Barbra and Pirkle are hoping to have their forthcoming gospel CD ready to go in time for their set at the “Worship in the City” music festival taking place the last weekend of the month. The two will perform at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the festival.

For more information, check out the “In the Spirit” Facebook page.

Written by wildsmith

August 9th, 2011 at 11:24 am

The Great Great Pines readying debut album

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If you’re going to record your debut album, might as well do it up right.

That’s what Laura Bost and James Maples — the husband-wife duo that makes up the folk act The Great Great Pines — have done. The couple is putting the finishing touches on “Letters to Us” with Scott Minor, the production engineer (and member of indie-rock outfit Sparklehorse) behind recent releases by high-profile Knoxville bands Royal Bangs and The Black Lillies.

“It’s our first album as The Great Great Pines, and it feels really great,” Maples told us this week. “Scott’s been a pleasure to work with, and we’ve been working on it forever — what do we want to put on it, what do we want to leave behind, what everything has been about with us. We want everything as simple as we possibly can.”

The focus, he added, is on the lyrics, the harmonies and the instrumentation — Maples on banjo and Bost on ukulele (although both play a number of other instruments). The two started out in the neo-folk ensemble The Centralia Massacre several years ago, but with the new group have gone into a decidedly more folk-oriented, stripped-down direction.

“We want to be the Gillian Welch and David Rawlings of this world,” Maples said. “There’s no need for 15 overdubs and horns and all of that. We want to keep it focused on meaningful lyrics to tell a story.”

The Great Great Pines will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Blount County Public Library, 508 N. Cusick St. in Maryville, as part of the “Hot Summer Nights” concert series. It’s a free show, and given their local ties — the couple lives in Blount County with their daughter, Josephine (who makes an appearance or two on the new record), and Maples is a 1996 graduate of Wiliam Blount High School — it should be well-supported.

The new album should be completed in late August, he added, with a projected September release date.

John Titlow Band, Laurel Wright go head-to-head tonight at Cotton Eyed Joe!

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The Texaco Country Showdown continues tonight at Cotton Eyed Joe (11220 Outlet Drive in West Knoxville), and after the boys in Blount/Monroe County band Southbound won the first round of competition on July 21, two more Blount County music acts are set to go head-to-head tonight.

It’s be a bit of a lover’s quarrel, albeit a professional (and friendly) one — local teen country singer Laurel Wright will compete against the boys in the John Titlow Band — which includes her boyfriend, Zach Long, on bass.

“It’s gonna be really different,” Titlow admits, pointing out that his band and Wright have shared the stage many times for various benefits and concerts — but never as rivals.

“They’re already saying it’s rigged!” Wright jokes about her beau’s group.

In all seriousness, both are fine representatives of Blount County in the competition, which gives them a chance to go for some national spotlight. It’s billed as “the largest country music talent search in America … designed to find the most promising country music talent and give these performers a chance to launch their professional music careers.”

Tonight is the final of three rounds of competition (the Greylan James Band won the contest last Thursday, July 28), and the three winners will compete on Thursday, Aug. 11, for the championship and the opportunity to compete nationally for $100,000. (And, we’re obliged to point out, the JTB and Wright are the only competitors tonight; there are three other country artists going up against them.) The competition starts at 9:30 p.m., and ladies get in free (admission is $5). It’s all ages, but for those 21 and older, there will be free pitchers of beer served.


Regardless of who wins (although we’re obviously pulling for the Blount County faction — both of them), it’s a feather in the cap of both groups. Wright is about to get busy in the studio, making an album with local Mojo Recording Studios owner Lewell Molen out at his headquarters in Greenback. She’s still talking from folks to Nashville, and who knows what those conversations may bring, but for now, fans of her music should be glad they’ll finally have an album in hand.

“We just decided it the other day,” Wright said. “Me and Lewell talked about it, and if we do one now, if somebody wanted to sign me later we’ll already have it done.”

Deciding what to put on it will be the hard part — she has 40 or 50 original songs and continues to write more (including “Can’t You See,” her latest, about “a boy being wrapped around my finger,” she said with a smile). That’s a Herculean effort given that she’s also a homeschooled high school junior doing her best — and succeeding — to enjoy her teenage years.

“I think everything is balanced good right now,” she said. “I feel really blessed.”


Speaking of new albums, the John Titlow Band is working on an acoustic record the guys hope to have out in late fall, Titlow said.

“We’re still working on some of it; it’s completely new material, and we have some really good songs,” he said. “I’m really proud of what we’re doing. It seems like the second go-around is going a lot easier and better than the first.”

Fans may have noticed that the band is getting out a lot more these days — after getting in with Copper Cellar, the John Titlow Band has been popping up at the various Smoky Mountain Brewery/Calhoun’s Restaurant locations around East Tennessee.

“It’s just exploded in the last six months. Things are really going good for us,” said Titlow — who was called on stage by up-and-coming country star Bradley Gaskin on Wednesday night at Cotton Eyed Joe to sing Gaskin’s hit, “Mr. Bartender.”

Assuming one of the two acts wins tonight, they (or she) will be in good company, given Southbound’s win on the 21st. And it’s proof that there are some extremely talented country musicians right here in our backyard. There’s a reason for that, according to Jason Harris of Southbound.

“We remember where we come from, and the way you live gets into your writing,” Harris said. “You write music that your neighbor can say, ‘I know exactly how that old boy — or old girl — feels. They relate to that music.

“Being a part of (the showdown), it just felt great to be recognized and have the opportunity to be able to go on to the next (level). And to have the opportunity to get national recognition out of this whole thing is just an added bonus itself.”

Written by wildsmith

August 4th, 2011 at 11:22 am

Boyd’s Jig and Reel inks in performance dates

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Boyd’s Jig and Reel, located where Manhattan’s Bistro and Bar used to be (101 S. Central St. in Knoxville’s Old City), is far enough along that owners have put up several live music dates on the venue’s website.

The pub’s hours are listed as 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the first official “happy hour,” according to the site, is Sunday, Aug. 21. The live music gets under way in September, and the grand opening itself is set for Sept. 23. Here’s what else is on the calendar:

In addition, on Sept. 30 a “WDVX-travaganza” fundraising event will take place at Boyd’s from 6-9 p.m.; no words on what groups will be on tap to perform, but tickets are $100 per person.

You can also check out and “like” Boyd’s on Facebook.