Archive for the ‘Jonathan Sexton’ tag
Jonathan Sexton outside of Bread of Heaven in Alcoa, 2011
The last time Jonathan Sexton performed in East Tennessee was on a stage in Maryville at the 2011 Foothills Fall Festival, but that’ll change later on this month.
Sexton, former bandleader of Jonathan Sexton and The Big Love Choir and a former member of Oversoul, Redhouse Project and The Whiskey Scars, will debut his new project, Badlands, on Thanksgiving night at Preservation Pub in downtown Knoxville. Since the launch of the mobile software platform Artist Growth — a project he founded with Knoxville expatriate and Nashville singer-songwriter Matt Urmy — he simply hasn’t had the time, he said.
“Everything’s finally kind of leveling out, and that’s why I’ve had time to do a band,” he said. “I don’t have time to get in the van and drive all over the country, but I’ve got time to rehearse a night a week and play a gig every now and then. Thanksgiving at Preservation Pub has a special place in my heart, because that’s when and where Whiskey Scars started. It’s just a good night.”
Badlands features former Big Love Choir members Andrew Sexton (Jonathan’s dad) and drummer Dave “The Animal” Campbell (also a member of The Coveralls and a number of other projects) on vocals. The group is rounded out by Andrew Bryant on drums and Aram Takvoryan on bass. It’s a cover project, Sexton said, and the guys play “mostly ’70s hard rock.”
“Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Bad Company,” he added. “I was just looking for a reason to hang out and rock out, but with no pressure, and I wanted something that can exist without me. If those guys get a gig and can’t come, they can find a sub, where as if I’m the lead singer and the songwriter, that’s not the case.”
In the meantime, he’s looking at putting together an original Jonathan Sexton project sometime next year. He still travels to Nashville three days a week for Artist Growth business, and he’s looking at an August date for a wedding to his long-time girlfriend (and Big Love Choir bandmate) Elodie Lafont. In the meantime, though, he’s excited about playing music again.
“I want to play for the love of it and not to chase a career; just something on the side that won’t take up a lot of time but will scratch an itch,” he said. “I suffer from the same thing any artist suffers from — wanting to do someting different — but I haven’t had time or energy to commit to deciding on what’s next for me as a songwriter and an original project. I’m thinking real hard about it, and I still jot down ideas all the time. The songwriting muscle still works.”
A couple of months ago, Knoxville expatriate Jon Worley checked in after a noticeable absence from the music scene; today, he called about future shows coming up down in the East Tennessee area.
I’ll say this about Mr. Worley — he makes my day whenever he calls. He’s crazy like a fox, and for those who don’t know him, he comes across like a wide-eyed hillbilly version of Hunter S. Thompson, complete with the drug-fried brain. He is, however, quite the opposite — intelligent, crafty, industrious and prone to God-kn0ws-what sort of adventures. It’s always a trip hearing what he’s up to lately.
“I’m just sitting naked on the back porch in Pennsylvania in the middle of a heatwave,” he told me this afternoon before launching into a non-stop commentary of what’s happening in the world of Worley. That includes hooking up with local singer-songwriter Jonathan Sexton, who found himself in a bind when he came up short on some Northeast dates. Worley stepped in to tag-team, booking some dates feature Sexton’s Big Love Choir and Worley’s Cornbred Blues Band. It made for a few nights to be remembered, Worley said.
“We load into Brooklyn and played a show where we were in a 65-capacity room and there was 135 people in there,” he said. “By the time we got done playing, it felt like the paint was going to melt off the walls. It was some of the most existential music I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Our call had to end early because the insurance adjustor showed up to assess damage to Worley’s RV — “Some idiot Jersey housewife hit me doing 85 mph, crushed my bumper and took out my shitter,” he said. “Her car was totalled, though. Looked like something out of ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ — two cars in, one car out.”
Worley returns to town on July 31 for a show at Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N. Central St. in Knoxville’s Downtown North neighborhood. It’ll be a full Cornbred show, he said — a six-piece (possibly seven) with the full horn section. Singer-songwriter Duke Brown will open the show at 9 p.m., and the middle set will feature a performance by The Big Wooly, the alter-ego of local rockers Garage DeLuxe. Cover is $5. Worley will also appear on “Homegrown,” the local radio show dedicated to the East Tennessee music scene, on July 21 on WFIV-FM, 105.3; that show is broadcast live from The Disc Exchange on Chapman Highway in Knoxville.
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