K-Town Sound Show – Songwriter’s showcase

Jay, Robinella, Van, Sarah and Griffin, Latitude 35, Knoxville, December 2010

In the middle of the Christmas hubbub a small concert was held downstairs at Latitude 35. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a new series. It’s a songwriter’s showcase, called the K-Town Sound Show. Some of you will remember this space as the World Grotto. The decor has changed, but much remains the same. The stage and bar are where they’ve always been and, while I don’t remember the sound being bad before, it was very good for this show. Unlike its World Grotto incarnation, chairs were arranged in rows across the center making this a listening event whereas shows tended toward dance at the old club. It continues to be smoke-free.

Entrance for the show was ten dollars and proceeds went to the American Caner Society. About one-hundred twenty-five people enjoyed the evening hosted by Jay Clark (fresh from dressing a deer) and Van Eaton. Joining them for this show was Robinella, Sarah Pirkle and Griffin Cavender (of the Naughty Knots). The five friends took turns playing their compositions, with the others joining on harmony, drums (Robinella on the side of her guitar) and fiddle (Sarah). Sometimes they helpfully supplied snide remarks and chided each other for forgetting lyrics.

Jay harmonizes with Robinella

All of the above made for one of the warmest, most intimate musical experiences to be had anywhere. The songwriting varied in style and content (mostly from dark to darker, still), but consistently hit a high mark for quality. Jay’s wry take on the world, Robinella’s jazzy vocal styling, Van Eaton’s tales of war and love, Sarah’s obviously developed songwriting and Griffin’s beautiful harmonies and introspective lyrics contributed to a caliber of entertainment we can all be proud to have in our area.

Inevitably a few covers came out and a few Christmas songs were sung. Notably, Jay’s song featured on “Homegrown for the Holidays,” “Happy Birthday Jesus,” Robinella’s tender rendering of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” and Van Eaton’s excellent cover of the Band’s “It Must be Christmas Tonight.”

Jay dons the strange Santa hat (hook on top) and performs while others listen

The fact that the songwriters in our area have known each other for so long and encourage and push each other added an element to the night that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Jay intimated that more dates in this series may be forthcoming to give the songwriters in the area a dependable place to display their work. If that happens I’ll certainly be there and I’d encourage you to support this endeavor as well.