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Roscoe Morgan at Steve Wildsmith

Steve Wildsmith

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Archive for the ‘Roscoe Morgan’ tag

More “Spirit”: Jeff and Sarah’s radio show expanding in 2013

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Hard to believe Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle have been on the air for more than a year, co-hosting their “In the Spirit” radio show since August 2011.

When we talked to them around the show’s humble beginnings, their goal was a simple one: To play “just good, inspirational music — from Sam Bush to Sam Cooke, from Bob Marley to Bob Wills, from Loretta Lynn to Mahalia Jackson,” Barbra said.

“Basically, it’s what you would hear if you came to our house on Sunday mornings,” Sarah added. “It’s what you’re going to hear from our collection while we make you breakfast.”

But 2012 has been good to the duo, and starting Sunday, Jan. 13, “In the Spirit” will air twice on Sundays: From 8-11 a.m., and from 4-7 p.m. They won’t be a repeat of one another, meaning the evening show will stand on its own and feature different music — including some more upbeat numbers that might sound a little too wound up for the a.m. hours.

In addition, the two are incorporating a new segment into the show: “In the Moment,” a 15-minute interview/performance segment recorded at the couple’s house in Blount County’s Barb Hollow community. One recent guest: Local picker/guitar teacher Roscoe Morgan.

“In the Spirit” airs on WFIV-FM, i105, which can be found at 105.3 on your FM dial.

Written by wildsmith

January 4th, 2013 at 11:52 am

Paging Roscoe: The Moonshine Cherrys add some six-string firepower to the lineup

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Roscoe Morgan

Say this about Paul Beasley and Ted Thompson, the two dudes who founded local rock outfit The Moonshine Cherrys 15 years ago — they know how to roll with the punches and keep the band going. And with drummer-turned-guitarist Eric Keeble stepping away from the band (amicably, we might add) to focus on other projects, the two have made another decision that will only make the band better — adding local instrumental ace Roscoe Morgan to the fold.

The Cherrys started when Thompson, a 1993 graduate of Maryville High School, met Beasley at a show he played with his old band, South 333, at a friend’s lake house. The two got to talking, and the Cherrys were born. In 1998, Syren Records came calling and signed the band prior to production of the group’s self-titled debut album, and over the years, the band went through a rotating cast of drummers before recruiting Keeble in 2005, the same year the trio released its sophomore album, “Nights Like These.”

In 2010, the guys went into Music Row Studios (over at Music Row of Maryville) to work on a follow-up album, and engineer Scott Rader hit it off with the guys so well they decided to beef up the sound: Rader became the band’s drummer, and Keeble switched to guitar. But with demands from so many other projects, primarily The Barstool Romeos, as well as The Drunk Uncles, Keeble decided to step back a few weeks ago. Enter Morgan, a local picker known primarily as a bluegrass player who’s performed with people like Valerie Smith, Bill Monroe, Karl Shiflett and Jimmy Arnold and been a member of more bands than we can count. (Read our interview with him from June of last year here.)

About his new gig with the Cherrys, Morgan said this:

“I will be holding down the Les Paul side of the stage while Paul Beasley anchors the Telecaster side. The two guitars together sound great, as this blend tends to do. Moonshine Cherrys are a great, and well-established band … plenty good enough in their former incarnations. I am primarily known as a bluegrass guy, but that was never entirely by choice … I now again steal Robert Fripp’s mantra, ‘When there is Roscoe Morgan music to play, Roscoe Morgan will appear to play it.’ Well, Roscoe music is here, and with the songwriting and vocal skills of Ted Thompson, the great classic rock channeling of Paul Beasley and rock-solid drumming of Scott Rader, the Cherrys made it easy to return to rock.

“Return? Well, I’ve made a good chunk of my living as a teacher helping people learn rock, from ’50s up through thrash metal. I played in rock bands in the early ’80s and the early ’90s.The parallel with rock and bluegrass is simple-virtuosity is required, and you get a ‘crack’ at each song in the form of a solo. Bluegrass is portable music, and bad bluegrass is particularly easy to inflict upon people. The great thing about Moonshine Cherrys is the diverse tastes within the band, and how it all comes together to form a large wall of sound. Along with bluegrass, I come from a ’70s hard rock and 80s metal background musically, and Scott and I both dig King Crimson, Jean-Luc-Ponty and other stuff together.

“Paul still listens to old Faces and Stones records, and Ted is, in his words, ‘all about the song,’ citing bands like Drivin’ N Cryin’ and other ’90s bands as his favorites. He’s about 10 years younger than the other 3 of us, and that brings an interesting dynamic. We all like Black Crowes, and so the sound of the band is now a “wall of sound” — AC/DC meets Black Crowes meets Stones meets Wilco meets Aerosmith kinda thing. All this with Ted writing the songs … it’s great big ol’ music!

“So, in conclusion (finally) I am proud to step up into such a premier and established band as Moonshine Cherrys … 13 years of original music and still going. AND … yes, I’ll still be playing bluegrass, too. It will now be more fun and feel less like a musical prison.”

You can see the Cherrys debut the new lineup at 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at Brackins Blues Club, 112 E. Broadway Ave. in downtown Maryville.

Written by wildsmith

February 13th, 2012 at 7:07 am

2009 in words: Weekend interviews of local bands!

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As the year winds down to a close, it’s only appropriate, we think, to look back on all of the ink we’ve spilled over the past 12 months. Over the next several days, we’ll be rounding up all of the interviews that have graced the pages of The Daily Times Weekend entertainment section … starting with all of the East Tennessee bands and musicians of all genres to whom we’ve devoted space this year. Presenting … the local interviews of 2009!

Southbound (cover story)

The Drunk Uncles: (cover story)

Jonathan Sexton and The Big Love Choir (cover story)

Whitechapel 2 (front page story)

Dirty Guv’nahs 1 (cover story)

Royal Bangs (cover story)

R.B. Morris (cover story)

Maryville Metal Fest (cover story)

Brandy Robinson (cover story)

Scott Miller (cover story)

The Black Lillies (cover story)

Teenage Love13 (cover story)

Jill Andrews

Drunk Uncles 1

Whitechapel 1

The Dirty Guv’nahs


Mic Harrison and The High Score

Homer Hart

“Sneaky” Pete Rizzo

Color of Fate



Ian Thomas

Soundtrack Black

Robinella: Final Barley’s gig

Mountain Folk Reunion

Cain and Annabelle


The Dirty Works

Seeing Skies

Kings County Gumbo

John Myers

The Dirty Gunnz

Christopher Scum

Bright Shining Lie

J.C. and The Dirty Smokers

Sisters of the Silver Sage

Kevin Abernathy Band

Scott McMahan


Awake the Suffering

Madeline Ava

The Retroholics

The LoneTones


Dishwater Blonde

The American Plague

Mr. Kobayashi

Roscoe Morgan

Johnson Swingtet

Cutthroat Shamrock

Van Eaton

Steve Kaufman

Taylor Brown



Allen Swank


Angel Zuniga Martinez

The Akashic Mysteries

Jamie Cook

Dig 6 Down

Avenue C Band

Brad Walker Orchestra