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Chyna Brackeen at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Archive for the ‘Chyna Brackeen’ tag

‘Scruffy City Ramble’: The shows will go on

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38_EdpThis week, Metro Pulse reported some interesting news regarding booking and shows at The Square Room over in Knoxville.

Kenny Woodhull, the guy behind the former Old City venue New City Cafe, blogged a bit about it on Jan. 18, and in an email exchange a few weeks ago, he told me that his organization New City Resources — which has put on several shows at Old North Abbey in Knoxville — was partnering with 4MS Entertainment, the organization behind The Square Room, to put on shows there, including a March “Talk Is Cheap” performance, a show in April by Andrew Peterson and the band CALEB and a show next week by Christian singer-songwriter Michael Card. In addition, “We’ll be hosting a weekly songwriter’s night on Thursdays starting soon,” Woodhull wrote.

So what does this mean for “Scruffy City Ramble,” the variety show/concert series produced by Chyna Brackeen of Attack Monkey Productions, the company that’s presenting the Feb. 20 Tift Merritt/David Wax Museum show? That remains to be seen, Brackeen
told me on Wednesday, despite Metro Pulse’s report that it’s “on hold” for the time being.

“We will still have the Feb. 21 show — it’s been scheduled, it’s still on, and it’s still happening,” she said, adding that Henry Wagons, Sturgill Simpson, Lydia Salnikova and This Mountain. “At this point, The Square Room had a conflict with the March date, and we agreed to give that up. I’m not sure if we’ll do a March show or not, since I’m slammed with the Black Lillies (whom Brackeen manages) performing at South By Southwest and planning for the Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival (which takes place the first weekend in April). But we plan to pick back up in April.

“Right now, we’re looking at venue options. I would love to keep it at The Square Room, but they’ve advised me that they have a conflict on Thursdays. We would like to work out something for one Thursday a month, but if we can’t, we’ll be looking at other venue options. Because ‘Scruffy City Ramble’ is such a big production, we can’t move it off of Thursdays at this point, but that’s certainly a conversation I’m willing to have down the road.”

Stay tuned for what will develop for “Scruffy City.”

Written by wildsmith

February 7th, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Rhythm N’ Blooms 2012 lineup gets leaked early!

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Pilot and Cherokee Distributing, in partnership with Attack Monkey Productions, was geared up for a big press conference at 3 p.m. Monday to announce the lineup of this year’s Rhythm N’ Blooms Festival, scheduled for April 20-22 in Knoxville as part of the Dogwood Arts Festival.

Unfortunately, the alt-weekly over in Knoxville got a look at the lineup and let the cat out of the bag early, no doubt making tomorrow’s big announcement not nearly as exciting as it could have been. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t excitement to be found about the festival, because Attack Monkey, run by Chyna Brackeen (who also books shows for The Square Room and manages The Black Lillies), has gathered up one hell of a roster of talent for this year.

Some of them we already knew about; Brackeen confirmed Jessica Lea Mayfield, Jake Shimabukuro, YARN, Darrell Scott and The Boxer Rebellion back in early January, when we did our big year-in-preview section. Here’s the full list of performers that’ll be announced tomorrow; the first two are considered the festival’s headliners:

Some programming notes: Langhorne Slim will perform on Thursday, April 19, at the second “Scruffy City Roots” show at The Square Room and will stay over to perform a solo show at Rhythm N’ Blooms. Amos Lee will have the headline spot on Sunday, April 22, at Knoxville Botanical Garden. On Friday, April 20, Big Sam’s Funky Nation will perform on the outdoor stage at Market Square, the only free show of the weekend; according to Brackeen, there will be some overlap with other performances going on at the same time, but organizers hope to schedule any overlap with acts that are on the opposite end of the stylistic spectrum.

Finally, Alice Smith will open for Citizen Cope, playing solo and acoustic, at The Tennessee Theatre on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville; afterward, the Black Lillies will play a late-night after-concert that will begin around 10-11 p.m. The full schedule and venue breakdown will be released by the end of the month, according to Brackeen.

Weekend passes will be $55; day passes are $25, but the day pass does not include entry to The Tennessee Theatre for Saturday night’s performances by Smith, Cope or the Lillies.

Tickets are currently on sale at the festival website, and physical tickets should be in area Pilot stores by Tuesday, according to Brackeen.

Black Lillies headed to the Opry stage

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June looks to be a busy month for The Black Lillies, but front man Cruz Contreras didn’t hesitate when band manager Chyna Brackeen inquired if he wanted to squeeze in one more gig.

“I think we’re doing some sort of taping before, and we play a wedding in Pennsylvania the next day, so she said, ‘I don’t know if you have time to do this gig, but would you like to play the Grand Ole Opry?’” Contreras told me today.

The answer, obviously, was an enthusiastic yes — and so the band is slated to perform on the Opry stage in Nashville on Friday, June 17. It’s the latest feather in the cap of the band, which returns to a local stage on Saturday, May 28, when the Lillies perform at The Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville with Americana chanteuse Tift Merritt. (Tickets to that show are $25.)

“I know that WSM-AM 650 has been really supporting the band,” Contreras said. “They played ‘Whiskey Angel’ and they’ve been playing the new record (”100 Miles of Wreckage”), so I think that connection has probably been how we got put on that radar. I guess I wasn’t expecting it to happen this quick.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however — ever since “Wreckage” was released in January, the Lillies have been on an uphill climb. It currently sits at No. 11 on the Americana radio charts; video director David McLister, who’s worked with Lady Antebellum, Leann Rimes and Dierks Bentley, will be filming a video for the song “Two Hearts Down” in June in Nashville as well. And on June 10, the band will perform at the Country Music Association’s Festival & Fan Fair.

If you’re in Nashville on the 17th and want to see the band perform at the Opry, tickets are $28.50 to $55; call 1-800-733-6779 for more information. Although Contreras says it’s a “big, big deal,” it’s not the first time he’s been on the Opry stage — he played there once before as the bandleader of his ex-wife’s former project, Robinella and the CCstringband, back in 2003 or ‘04.

“It’s definitely the ultimate stage for any country musician,” he said.

Written by wildsmith

May 18th, 2011 at 10:44 am

Americana goodness coming

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Found this interesting tidbit on the Dogwood Arts Festival site for an upcoming sub-festival (?) scheduled for April 16-18:

Rhythm ’N Blooms
April 16-18
East Tennessee’s musical history is as rich as it is varied. Dogwood Arts Festival celebrates this heritage with Rhythm ‘N Blooms, musical performances by locally-revered and nationally-renowned artists whose work falls under the broad banner of “Americana” music – a genre that spans country, blues, jazz, rock, bluegrass, and folk and is generally characterized by a strong sense of musical tradition even as it may expand beyond traditional musical boundaries. Rhythm N Blooms is produced in partnership with Knoxville Americana Music Foundation, Metro Pulse and WDVX radio.

EDIT, FEB. 1: At the Black Lillies show on Friday night (which, due to the weather, I had to ditch during the second song, dammit. Still, good call — took me an hour over god-awful roads to get back to Alcoa.), I finally met, face-to-face, local promoter Chyna Brackeen, who’s currently managing both the Lillies and The Drunk Uncles. (Way cool company name, by the way — Attack Monkey Productions). The next day, she caught my Tweet about this post and e-mailed with some helpful details:

“I can help!  I am co-chairing the festival along with JR Sander (the general manager of Bandit Lites) – and I am handling the programming/booking for the event. This will be similar to Rhythm & Roots up in Bristol — and in more than just the name!  Essentially, patrons will be able to purchase a $40 festival pass that will allow them access to various venues in town.  These venues will be programmed over a three-day period with Americana music.  We’re still working out the final budget details, which of course will impact who we are able to book — but it will be a good mix of national acts along with emerging regional talents and the cream of the crop of local Americana music. It is being produced under the umbrella of the Dogwood Arts Festival in cooperation with the Knoxville Americana Music Foundation (also known as the people who brought you “Tennessee Shines”!). I’m in the process of making offers to artists right now, and I anticipate that the lineup will be released in mid-February.”

So there you have it … can’t wait!

Written by wildsmith

January 26th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Drunk Uncles, Jonathan Sexton sign management deal

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I’ve worked with local marketing guru Chyna Brackeen on a number of occasions, from her time with Knoxville Opera and AC Entertainment to her most recent gig as marketing director for Knoxville Botanical Garden (a k a Stone Wall Gardens, which we profiled back in July.)

A couple of months ago, it was announced that she had taken on local band The Black Lillies as a management project, quickly parlaying the group’s local success into a six-week national tour that’s wrapping up in the next couple of weeks. Now, she’s picked up two more East Tennessee bands to manage — The Drunk Uncles, whom we’ve profiled a couple of times recently (in an August cover story and again last month for the band’s CD release), and Jonathan Sexton and The Big Love Choir, which graced the cover of our entertainment section back in October.

“For The Drunk Uncles, the fact that they’re playing real country music is so rare these days, and it’s really setting them apart from the crowd,” Brackeen told us today. “We’re looking at a bunch of country music festivals for them, and we hope to really make a big impact regionally before spreading out next fall to some national festivals.”

Good news for the Uncles; be sure and check out the band’s new website as well.

“With the Big Love Choir, there’s so much potential there on a number of levels,” she added. “There’s a message to the music because it’s so positive and spiritual without being denominational.”

Sexton, she added, performed at the re-dedication ceremony of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, after a tragic shooting there in July 2008 left two dead. Because of his involvement there, she sees an opportunity to spread that positive message and expose the band to new audiences at the same time.

“One of the things we’re looking at is a way to kind of marry two tours together — one during the day of Unitarian churches and spiritual centers, and one at night at the rock clubs, so that we can hit two different audiences at the same time,” she said.

Be sure and check out that band on Myspace.

Written by wildsmith

December 7th, 2009 at 9:43 am