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LiL iFFy at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Archive for the ‘LiL iFFy’ tag

Local scene odds ‘n’ ends: Robinella, Tim Lee 3, LiL iFFy, Steve Kaufman, “Behind the Barn” and more!

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First Sundays of the month with Robinella

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since Robinella (that would be Robin Ella Tipton Bailey, if you’re from Blount County) played her final regular Sunday night gig at Barley’s Taproom in Knoxville’s Old City.

For years — first with the CCstringband, featuring her former husband, Cruz Contreras, now of The Black Lillies — and later with her long-time group of ace backup musicians, she got the dance floor heated up and made for a weekly rendezvous of fans and friends who fell in love with her honey-sweet voice and her infectious combination of country, folk, jazz and a little of everything else.

Well, Robin’s coming back to Barley’s on Sundays: Earlier this week, she and husband Webster Bailey confirmed that starting Sunday, Nov. 3, Robinella and her full band will perform on the first Sunday of every month at the new Barley’s Maryville, 128 W. Broadway Ave., downtown. It’s a full band show that’ll start at 8 p.m., and it’ll be free.

You can call Barley’s at 983-0808 to confirm; you can also read our recent cover story on Robinella and her new album, “Ode to Love.”

“Behind the Barn” October lineup announced

Speaking of Barley’s Maryville, we told you a week or so ago about how another fixture of the restaurant’s sister venue in Knoxville’s Old City is returning to the stage, only in Blount County: “Behind the Barn,” which ran from 1999 to 2004 as a live radio show and hosted by Blount County singin’, songwritin’ couple Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle, kicks off at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, featuring the Trinity River Bluegrass Band.

It’ll be a regular thing every Thursday night at Barley’s Maryville — it’s also free — and Barbra shared the lineup of upcoming shows for the month of October with us. They include:

He also said the show on Halloween night will be a costume party, and that he’s dressing up as Conway Twitty. We can only hope.

Tim Lee 3 Pilot Light residency kicks off Thursday

Have we mentioned lately how much we love Tim and Susan Lee of the Tim Lee 3?

Because I don’t think we’ve gushed over them enough. Not only are they two-thirds of a killer rock ‘n’ roll power trio that calls East Tennessee home, they’re stalwarts of support for their fellow musicians and enthusiastic for collaborations that get them outside the standard genre boxes that hem in too many other bands.

And they like early rock ‘n’ roll shows, a boon for old SOB’s like yours truly. Which makes their third annual “4×4″ Pilot Light residency — kicking off this coming Thursday (Oct. 3) at The Pilot Light, 106 E. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City — a grand thing indeed.

Like last year, the Lees (with drummer Chris Bratta) will share the stage time with local poet/playwright/singer-songwriter/raconteur R.B. Morris; this year, they’re also adding a multimedia element to the shows, which will take place at 7 p.m. every Thursday night during the month of October, and cost a mere $5. (Early show … cheap … music and multimedia … you won’t find a better way to spend a school night, kids. Plus, you’ll be back home in time for the 11 p.m. news, since all shows end around 10.)

The schedule includes:

  • Oct. 3: Tim Lee 3, R.B. Morris and friends, The Drop Dead Darling.S and The Quake Orphans, plus the book release of Morris’s “The Mockingbird Poems.” The book and posters from the book will be for sale, and R.B. will read from it between musical acts.
  • Oct. 10: Tim Lee 3, R.B. Morris and friends, Nancy Apple and a screening of a the shortened version of Nashville-based filmmaker Tom Weber’s documentary “Troubadour Blues.” Copies of the film will also be for sale. The show, incidentally, will hit the road for stops in Nashville and Memphis immediately following the Pilot Light gig, if’n you feel up for a road trip.
  • Oct. 17: Tim Lee 3, R.B. Morris and friends, Greg Horne Band and a screening of the locally made short film “The Agenda,” created for the Knoxville Film Festival’s 7-Day Shootout Competition by the Scuffletown Monkeys team,. The Tim Lee 3 wrote and recorded the new song “Bang Bang” specifically for the film.
  • Oct. 24: Tim Lee 3, R.B. Morris and friends, Chuck Cleaver (of the Ass Ponys and Wussy) and Eric Lee (of Knoxville-based band White Gregg). A late show featuring Big Bad Oven and Birthday Girl will follow.

LiL iFFy album release blowout set

If you’ve never been to a show by Knoxville-based wizard-rapper LiL iFFy — a man whose art we’ve documented extensively over the past couple of years in the Weekend section — then you’ve cheated yourself from participating in one of the sweatiest, nastiest (the good sort of nasty, by the way), most fun parties ever to be held in East Tennessee.

But you can rectify that. In fact, you can more than make up for lost time, as iFFy — a.k.a. Knox rocker/writer/mad genius Wil Wright — prepares to launch the final album in his wizard trilogy, titled “Wand Out.” (Go watch this badass trailer for the album; it’s like watching a preview for the series finale of “Breaking Bad” or something equally epic.) On Nov. 2 and 3 at The Pilot Light, iFFy and the Magic Hu$tle crew are putting on a two-night extravaganza worthy of all the pomp and circumstance of waiting in line all night at Barnes and Noble for the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

Here’s what’s going down.

  • Nov. 2, a Saturday night, will serve as the official “Wand Out” album and video release party, and DJ Tom Ato — the mastermind behind the beats of just about every Magic Hu$tle project — will open the show. It’s an 18-and-up affair that begins at 10 p.m., and no doubt will be a night for which you’ll wish you had a Time-Turner so you can go back and do it all over again.
  • Nov. 3 will start earlier — at 8 p.m. — and is open to all ages. The WandcOrchestra, a group of classical musicians led by Wright’s Weird Miracle bandmate Preston Davis, will flesh out iFFy’s music with some sweet arrangements.

Two nights. No repeats. In the words of the press release, “This two-night extravaganza allows all aspects of LiL iFFy’s music to be showcased as it was intended – from the hard-hitting, raunchy party to the beautifully nuanced slow jams.” Tickets are $10 per show, or $15 for a VIP pass to both nights.

Steve Kaufman back in the running for a fourth National Flatpick Championship

A traveling minstrel of sorts in his early years, Steve Kaufman came to Maryville in the late 1970s, around the time that he started winning his run of National Flatpicking Championships at the annual Walnut Valley Festival competition held every year in Winfield, Kansas. He won in 1978 at the age of 21 and returned as soon as he was able to win again in 1984 and 1986. Over the years, he gradually built up a music publishing empire of sorts out of his home here in Blount County, having produced dozens of instructional books and videos and traveling the world to conduct workshops (as he’ll do this weekend prior to Saturday’s concert). In addition to being a father, husband and owner of The Palace Theater, he puts on an acoustic camp and concert series every summer on the Maryville College campus.

Earlier this month, Kaufman went back to Winfield for the annual competition … and came in second only to Allen Shadd, last year’s second-place winner. “Just like the first time (he competed) in ‘77, except (against) a much tougher bunch of pickers,” he told us via email. “The Kid is back and going for the brass ring.”

All them young bucks aiming for a flatpicking title had best watch out. Congrats to Mr. Kaufman!

Date, venue set for New Hope benefit band competition

Last month we told you about the “Kids Helping Kids Band Competition,” organized by Maryville High School senior Hannah Rials as a benefit and celebration for Blount County’s New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center. Rials, a volunteer at the center, was inspired to put the battle together to call attention to child abuse issues in Blount County. Interested bands can still enter the competition, and now a date and venue has been set: from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Alumni Gym on the Maryville College campus, 502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville. Tickets are $5, and they can be purchased at New Hope, Foothills Music Shop, Pokey’s Sports, Shimmer Hair Spa and Williams Cleaners. Tickets will also be available at the door. Call 696-6975 for info or to enter your band.


Battle of the Bands 1 and 2

Dopplegangsta plans farewell blowout before hiatus

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Dopplegangsta: Faulteroy (left) and Reginald Birch

The local crazy-ass rap duo known as Dopplegangsta, which teamed up with wizard-rapper LiL iFFy to put together the Magic Hu$tle collective, has a show on Saturday night at The Well in Knoxville, and it’ll likely be their final performance for a while. Perhaps ever, Lil’ Lord Faulteroy confirmed today.

“(Reginald) Birch is gonna be a daddy; I’m making studio upgrades; and IF we come back, it will likely be to promote a full-length record (and) not a single,” he said via Facebook.

The duo made a splash locally with the summer anthem “Myrtle Beach Ya’ll” back in the summer of 2011; it received heavy airplay on WUTK-FM, 90.3 The Rock, and at the end of that year, Magic Hu$tle was born. The collective has grown to include a number of other rappers, two of whom — Halfdeaf and deejay Black Thunder — will be on the bill Saturday night.

The show features a couple of out-of-town rappers as well — Southern Croat and Blacknerd. It starts at 9 p.m., and admission is $5. Check out the event page on Facebook. You can also check out the guys at 8 p.m. Tuesday night on The Rock, located at 90.3 on your FM dial.

Written by wildsmith

February 18th, 2013 at 8:49 am

Introducing East Tennessee’s own gangsta-rap wizard … no really, he’s a wizard …

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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2Who you gonna call? If you’re Harry Potter ’bout to get f—– up by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you call up LiL iFFy.

There are rappers, and then there are gangsta rappers. And then there are wizard gangsta rappers. Straight outta the 865, LiL iFFy belongs in the latter category. And given his mad skills, I daresay he’d hold his own in one of those South Central drive-bys/gang wars/turf battles that were so popular in the East Coast-vs.-West Coast beef from a few years back.

A 9mm? Please. That ain’t shit compared to a spell-slinging wand. (No word on whether iFFy’s wand is bejeweled.)

LiL iFFy’s debut single, “Patron Us,” dropped this week. It’s the first song off his debut EP, due later this fall and to be titled “Wandcore.” He’s a mysterious dude, but I managed to track him down via his production team, Dude Source, on location in Chicago with another Knoxville musician, Wil Wright of Senryu. Wright hooked up Dude Source with iFFy, so the story goes; now he’s covering the Pitchfork Music Festival and Dude Source and iFFy are partying in the Windy City.

The dudes in Dude Source are almost as secretive as iFFy is; they decline to give themselves individual names, but they’re adamant about one thing — iFFy is the real deal. This is not a gimmick, nor is it meant to poke fun at the Harry Potter phenomenon or its fans. If anything, iFFy is a guy born of that world and holds writer J.K. Rowling’s books as sacred texts.

“The misconception about wizard rappers is that it’s all witches and galleons (the wizard dollar),” says one Dude Source dude, speaking for iFFy who, he adds, sleeps all day. “I think as he puts more music out, people will see that all the issues that affect American culture also affect the wizarding world. I think it’s going to be a real barrier-breaking release.”

Little is known about iFFy’s origins, other than he’s no Hogwarts graduate. He lays down furious rhymes that are not for the faint of heart; they’re explicit, rough and hardcore. Example: “Black-cloak bastards, blasting casting killing killer curses, but I’m laughing | This is the son of a wizard that got busy with a hippogriff and made a magic baby born to win the f—— Triple-wiz | F— the dark mark and motherf— a Malfoy | Red and yellow, bitch, Gryffindor.”

How big of a Harry Potter acolyte is iFFy? He name-drops such obscure characters as Peter Pettigrew, Rita Skeeter and more, enough that casual fans who haven’t cracked the books will appreciate his approach, and complex enough that hardcore fans will delight in deconstructing his more obscure references.

“We like to think of the Harry Potter world as an allegory; this is real s—,” Dude Source dude says. “The Harry Potter books are pretty accurate; they are the founding document by which we evaluate wizard culture.”

LiL iFFy remains vague about his origins; Dude Source claims he sleeps all day, awakens with portkeys to various clubs and vanishes to party all night. Wright introduced him to Dude Source, who provided the beats; even they have trouble, however, figuring out where he’s coming from.

“He doesn’t offer much; plus he’s a Parselmouth (one who speaks the language of snakes), so it’s hard to tell what he’s talking about sometimes. Usually he only talks about what he wants the beats to do,” Dude Source says. “He even records in Parseltongue, but it comes through the track into English. We don’t know what that’s about.”

It’s about magic, baby. And LiL iFFy is obviously one to carry on the Harry Potter torch, especially now that “Deathly Hallows Part 2″ is opening in theaters, bringing the series to a close in both book and film.

“He’s a real loyalist, and he feels like the books and the movies ended at a perfect time,” Dude Source says. “J.K. Rowling is one of his major influences, so whatever she says goes, as far as he’s concerned. He didn’t want the series to go on forever (any more than she did), but eventually it becomes like a reanimated dead body.”

And now that the shutters have been drawn on Potter’s world, it’s nice to know there’s a wizarding rapper out there who still carries a torch for the rest of us magic-loving muggles.

“Christian evangelists don’t send their books to Jesus; you have to send them out to non-believers,” Dude Source says. “Just putting out first release, he’s trying to get out to the broadest audience possible, especially to those not necessarily familiar with the books but who do like rap music and the films.”

Look for “Wandcore” this fall. In addition, iFFy will collaborate with Knoxville’s Katie and the Bass Drums addressing “muggle world topics” and “Mexican mythology.”

Read more about iFFy on the website where his track first dropped, The Music Slut: Click here.

Download “Patron Us,” by LiL iFFy: Right-click here (choose “Save Target As” or “Save Link As”)

Written by wildsmith

July 15th, 2011 at 9:13 am