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Archive for the ‘Leon Russell’ tag

“The Shed” gearing up for another jam-packed concert season

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Last month, we talked to Aaron Snukals, marketing and special events director for Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson — 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville — and he revealed some of the names on tap for this year’s “Shed Concert Season,” which kicks off the first weekend in April. He revealed a few names — The Kentucky Headhunters, Blackberry Smoke, Mustang Sally, Todd Snider, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry, The Flatlanders, Marty Stuart, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and Leon Russell among them — and now the first two months of dates have been announced.

Tickets to the following shows go on sale March 1:

Obviously, it’s gonna be a busy, crazy spring at “The Shed,” and for the SMH-D folks in general: the Tennessee State H.O.G. Rally takes place in Maryville May 28-June 1, and SMH-D is the rally’s official headquarters and venue. Look for more details on a downtown Maryville street party that will coincide with the rally in the coming weeks. Call “The Shed” at 977-1669 for more information on ticket prices; shows all start at 8 p.m. If you have the scratch, your best bargain is a season pass — $195 for every show at “The Shed” this season (barring extra special events, of course), which runs through October.

Happy Birthday, SMH-D!

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OK, everybody sing along now: “Happy birthday to you … happy birthday to you … happy birthday Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson … happy birthday …”

You get the idea. It’s the annual Labor Day/birthday bash celebration this weekend out at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville, and to commemorate the occasion, owner Scott Maddux and his crack team of motorcycle and music enthusiasts have a full weekend of events planned.

Saturday night, there’s the annual visit by country-rock hooligans the Kentucky Headhunters with opening act The Van Lears; the show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20. On Sunday night, Blount County’s own The Drunk Uncles, with their pal and roots-music ace Larry Cordle, will take the stage at 8 p.m.; tickets to that show are $10. But it’s tonight’s headliner who’s getting a lot of press these days — piano man Leon Russell, he who resembles Gandalf the White and has played with just about everyone on the planet, from the Rolling Stones to George Harrison.

His most recent project is the one getting the most attention these days — “The Union,” a collaborative album with Elton John. The new record, produced by Oscar and multiple-Grammy winning producer T Bone Burnett, marks the first time these iconic artists have worked together since 1970. It was recorded live in the studio with Elton and Leon on dueling pianos, features 14 songs (including ones written by Elton and his lifelong lyricist Bernie Taupin, as well as the combined songwriting team of Leon, Elton, Bernie and T Bone).

According to a recent press release, Leon first met Elton in 1970 when he attended Elton’s first ever U.S. show at the famous Troubadour in Los Angeles. The meeting heralded the beginning of a long friendship and a mutual appreciation between the two artists.  “In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the one piano player and vocalist who influenced me more than anybody else was Leon Russell,” Elton said.  “He was my idol.”  The pair went on to tour together shortly thereafter at New York’s Fillmore East and to this day have held such high admiration for each other’s work.

After years of being out of touch, Elton listened to Leon’s music while on safari in Africa last summer and was inspired to reconnect with his idol.  “Elton called to ask if I would do a duet album with him,’” Russell said.  “I’m very happy that he chose me to do this.”

Russell’s performance takes place at 8 tonight; tickets are $25. Husky Burnette opens the show.