I really don’t have any idea how old she is – let’s say timeless and ageless. Maggie Longmire was born, has lived and performed in east Tennessee for long enough to seem like a natural part of the terrain. Sadly, as long as I’ve heard her praised for her smooth vocals and picturesque songwriting, I think I’d only crossed paths with her once. She performed a couple of Bob songs at a Bob Dylan Birthday Bash a couple of years ago and I caught her there.
This past Saturday night I was able to hear her do a set of her own songs at the Bistro on Gay Street. The Bistro is an intimate little venue which features quiet little tables great for conversation or listening to excellent music. The food is always delicious and it features a full bar and the largest nude painting allowed in east Tennessee. Any of the above is worth the effort to drive or walk to. It is housed in the fourth oldest building in Knoxville, built in the 1820’s. Originally a residence, what is now the Bistro and the entrance to the Bijou Theater was originally the basement before the city of Knoxville removed the hill in front of it exposing that floor.
Maggie played on this particular night with friends Jay Manneschmidt and Alexia Pantanizopolous. Jay is an excellent guitar player I first ran into at Music Therapy which performed for years every Friday night at Borders on Morrell Road. Led by Danny Gammon of Y’uns, they now they perform at the Time Warp Tea Room. Alexia is better known as part of Norwegian Wood, who were featured in a recent post. Maggie, meanwhile, is also well-known as part of the Lonesome Coyotes, a longtime Knoxville band. Got all that?
The trio moved through a range of Maggie’s songs, including songs from her most recent CD. Maggie’s CD “Teachers and Travelers” won the 2003 best local CD release and she won the best local musician in the Metro Pulse Readers Poll that year. Her voice is strong, her playing subtle and her lyrics evocative of a past that she lived and learned about from her family and which seems universal in her capable hands.
It was a wonderful show and the small audience responded appreciatively. Though there weren’t very many people present, those who were seemed attuned to every word and that is a gift not often rendered to musicians playing live music. I’m glad I was there and I wish more people could have heard her.
PS. Without using Google, can you name the song quoted in the title? Just seeing if you’re awake.