Steve Wildsmith

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Streamliners to kick off winter ‘Alive After Five’ series with a little help from R.B.

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l_77eb633d4633fd436e2f11c66d8eb8c2R.B. Morris

He’s already done the tux thing, and he wouldn’t mind doing it again — but on Jan. 6, local singer-songwriter/poet/playwright R.B. Morris will get to check off another item on his bucket list.

As the kick-off to the “Alive After Five” concert series at the Knoxville Museum of Art (1050 World’s Fair Park Drive in downtown Knoxville), Morris will sit in with the Streamliners Swing Orchestra, a regular at The Capitol Theatre in downtown Maryville and a favorite of “AA5″ patrons. It’s a show put together by “Alive After Five” coordinator Michael Gill, and it’s been years in the planning, Gill told me this week in an email.

A few (5 or 6?) years ago, I interviewed R.B. for an ill-fated publication that went belly up before the story got printed, but I learned two surprising things about RB that made the effort worth it,” Gill writes. “One was that he had been an All-KIL (Knoxville Interscholastic League) basketball player in high school, and, two, that he had long had a desire to sing with a big band. I stored that away in my memory banks and vowed to myself that one day I would make that happen. To make a long story somewhat shorter, that day is coming January 6 at Alive After Five when the winter series premiers with The Streamliners Swing Orchestra, joined by special guest vocalist R.B. Morris.”

Morris credits Gill for making the collaboration happen, even though he and Streamliners bandleader Mike “Catfish” Spirko are still working out a time to rehearse for the performance.

“He immediately was saying, I know a bunch of standards,’ and I said, ‘That could be great; I wouldn’t mind doing that, but I would love to work up a couple of my own tunes,’” Morris told me. “I think I’ve got a couple that lend themselves to that — ‘Old Copper Penny,’ which (a friend) described as sort of a Tin Pan Alley song, and ‘Summer’s Breaking Down’ might be good. We’ll have to see what works out, though. It’s still their gig, but just the idea of singing with them is great.”

Whether he’ll wear a tux, however, remains to be seen. He rented one for a dinner concert he performed earlier this year at The Square Room in downtown Knoxville — mostly as a goof — but it turns out the show might have been good practice for the Jan. 6 show.

“I came out, playing it solo, and I sang ‘Moon River’ and ‘Days of Wine and Roses,’” Morris said. “I didn’t have the big band behind me, but those are potentially big band songs.”

Written by wildsmith

December 21st, 2011 at 7:56 am