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Maggie Longmire at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Archive for the ‘Maggie Longmire’ tag

Knox music royalty pays homage to Woody Guthrie

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The Laurel Theater, that esteemed church-turned-concert-venue in Knoxville Fort Sanders neighborhood, is a beautiful setting in which to see a show, and it’ll be the perfect setting for a “History Songs: A Celebration of the Life of Woody Guthrie” that’s scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19.

To celebrate the 100th birthday of the American folk music icon, local artists — including Maggie Longmire, R.B. Morris, Jack Herranen, Sarah Pirkle, Jeff Barbra, Greg Horne and Daniel Kimbro — will gather to recreate Guthrie’s canon, from his dustbowl ballads and traveling songs to his more political songs and writings. When we caught up with Longmire earlier this month, she said the concert is a small token of appreciation on the part of East Tennessee musicians for Guthrie’s influence over the years.

“It’s something we’re looking forward to,” Longmire said. “There are shows going on all year to commemorate this, and some of the big guys are doing their shows at places like the Kennedy Center, but I think this one will be real interesting. It’ll be a mix of music and spoken word, and with everyone we’ve got, it won’t be a straight-edge show.”

Longmire counts among her favorite Guthrie songs “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos),” Guthrie’s tale of a plane crash of undocumented Mexicans on their way south out of California, and his scatching indictment of the treatment of the dead.

“You know how you have a song that sort of impacts you? There’s something about that one that tied it together, the telling of these horrific stories through folk songs, for me,” she said. “Sometimes, things just kind of line up, and that’s one I connected with and sang as a young folk singer.”

More information about Guthrie can be found here; the concert, which takes place at the Laurel (1538 Laurel Ave. in Fort Sanders), costs $12.

Maggie Longmire presents ‘Granddaughters’

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Back in 2008, we interviewed local singer-songwriter Maggie Longmire, a k a “The Lily of LaFollette,” about a work that’s extremely personal to her — “Granddaughters: An Americana Opera.”

About it, she told us “it’s been full of a lot of appreciation for family members, and perhaps some regret that I didn’t spend more time with some of them before they weren’t available anymore. To know their stories and some of their struggles, it makes you say, ‘Wow — I wish I’d had more time with them.’ It’s just funny how little things will mean something particularly profound to you.

“It gives you an appreciation for their personalities — how they did what they did, how they lived their lives. The way we live now, older generations seem to be separated from their children and grandchildren; something in our culture has developed in more modern times that folks seem to lose, especially the stories that the older generation has to tell. There’s nothing like having stories told from the person who lived them.

“It teaches you to look over your shoulder to where you came from, and it gives you an appreciation for those who loved us and brought us into this world and gave us our creative talent,” she added. “Discovering that someone in my family loved to write … that my grandfather loved to play guitar … discovering something I didn’t know but got passed down, all of those are new things to have gratitude for.”

Longmire’s musical roots may go back to the skills handed down by her ancestors, but she’s been making a name for herself since the late 1970s, when her long-time band, the Lonesome Coyotes, took the East Tennessee music scene by storm. As one of the Western swing/country-rock outfit’s singers and guitarists, she helped craft songs and played music that defined a generation of Knoxvillians’ entry to adulthood. With the Coyotes, she rocked the Budweiser pavilion all summer long during the 1982 World’s Fair and performed with the band on national television, during a guest slot on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”

After a 17-year hiatus from playing music after the Coyotes disbanded shortly after the World’s Fair, Longmire found herself returning to music. A chance meeting with one of her old bandmates prompted the Coyotes to reunite in 2002, and Longmire pursued other projects on the side. Her 2003 album, “Teachers and Travelers,” earned her the Best Writer award in the Knoxville alternative newspaper’s 2003 readers’ poll, and when her brother John asked for her musical assistance for a project he was working on, “Granddaughters” was born.

Now, “Granddaughters” will see the light of day on a Knoxville stage (again; it’s been performed once at The Laurel Theater in Knoxville’s Fort Sanders neighborhood). It takes place at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at The Square Room, 4 Market Square in downtown Knoxville; tickets are $17 (you can purchase them here). About the show, she writes: “We have a great cast of musicians and singers. R.B. Morris will be on board to tell the story through both story and song. The music will be performed by the mighty acoustic orchestra Free Soil Farm, which includes: Jay Manneschmidt, Doug Klein, Cecilia Miller, Peggy Hambright, Charles Manneschmidt, Don Cassell, Danny Gammon, J.P. Reddick, Kate Reddick, Jenna Longmire, R.B. Morris and me.” Given the East Tennessee musical pedigrees of all of those players, it should be an amazing night.

Written by wildsmith

October 6th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

R.B. Morris eyes another release

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Last September, local singer-songwriter/poet/playwright R.B. Morris financed his new album “Spies Lies and Burning Eyes” (released in January) by taking advance orders. It must’ve worked out well enough, because now he’s doing it for his next book, “Keeping the Bees Employed,” he wrote in a recent e-mail.

I’m asking everyone who can to make a pre-purchase of copies of the book,” Morris says. “This will allow me to print up the first run of the books, and those who pre-purchase will be the first to receive signed copies of this volume of life and love.”

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For more information, e-mail Morris at morris_rb@hotmail.com.

On an interesting sidenote, Morris’s website notes that on Nov. 20, 2010, he’ll perform at The Square Room in downtown Knoxville — as part of an all-star ensemble bringing to life “Granddaughters,” an “Americana opera” by singer-songwriter (and Lonesome Coyotes member) Maggie Longmire. We talked to her about that project in 2008.

Written by wildsmith

July 19th, 2010 at 6:54 am