Tim Lee with Surprise Guests Kevin Abernathy and Greg Horne at the Pilot Light

Tim Lee 3 at Pilot Light, Knoxville, January 2012

This post has been slow in coming, but the night was so good, I can’t let it pass without a post and a glimpse at some of the pictures. It goes all the way back to First Friday this month. Urban Woman and I had delicious appetizers and beverages at 31 Bistro for a nice low price and then walked to the 100 block where my friend Mustapha was holding his official Grand Opening. We had mini-cupcakes and two great cups of Americano.

Urban Woman decided beauty rest was in order for her, so I walked her home and then went to the KMA for Alive After Five for the Streamliners with RB Morris. It ends early, so around 8:30 I walked over to Morelock Music on Gay street and listened to a little Old Time music for about an hour before walking to the Pilot Light.

Tim Lee, Susan Lee, Greg Horne and Kevin Abernathy

 My plan was to see the Tim Lee Three at 9:00 and then make it to Preservation Pub to hear Hudson K around 10:30. I’d seen nothing to indicate that Tim had an opening act and I knew Hudson K did, and so would be later taking the stage. The first indication that my schedule might not work out was that at 9:00 no one was close to getting on stage. I learned the show would start at 9:30, which I still figured would work out OK. I’d noticed Kevin Abernathy and Greg Horne were hanging out with Tim and Susan Lee, so I figured they would sit in for part of the show.

I talked with Kevin for a bit and learned, among other things, that he and his wife operate a kennel in south Knox County. He and everyone else were kind enough to put up with me while we waited for the show to begin. Of course, they were the show, and I realized Kevin was opening, which was cool, but I sensed Hudson K slipping off my list of possibilities for the evening. Still, it was pleasant watching the crowd slowly build. Most people seemed to have gotten the memo I missed about a later starting time, but the seats are comfortable and the waiting wasn’t unpleasant.

Kevin Abernathy, Pilot Light, Knoxville


Kevin Abernathy, Pilot Light, Knoxville, January 2012

Sometime after 9:30 Kevin took the stage and, as anyone who has heard him would expect, he was as good as ever – and this time with a twist, for me – he played solo acoustic. I’d heard him once before, at the Relix Theater last year, and he played with his band. As you might expect, his acoustic slot really highlighted the songs and the songwriting and I realized both were excellent. His guitar work is always going to be good, but maybe some of these songs get buried behind the band and might benefit from this sort of treatment more often.

Kevin Abernathy with Tim Lee at the Pilot Light

Tim Lee, Kevin Abernathy and Greg Horne, Pilot Light, Knoxville

As his set wound down he invited Greg Horne to sing harmony on a song and he added his great vocal touch. Greg seems to be the guy that all the guys want to sing with. He’s also an excellent musician and songwriter, of course. Tim Lee joined in, also, and the three of them finished Kevin’s set in great style.

Once Susan and Bill Van Vleet joined Tim on stage, the music turned to serious blues-based rock and roll – with a little punk element, I think, but they might disagree. The thing that rings true through every song is that this is a band with real soul. This is no manufactured, auto-tuned sterile money machine, this is a collection of people who want to play honest rock and roll and they know how to do it.

Tim Lee 3, Pilot Light, Knoxville, 2012

Time Lee 3, Pilot Light, Knoxville, January 2012

One of the highlights for me was a slow blues jam that I just could not get enough of. I kept thinking it sounded like some band, but the night was getting late and my poor memory mingled with fatigue and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Until the next day. I had my ipod on shuffle and hit a Zepplin song from, I think, their second album and realized that was it: Tim was channeling Jimmy Page. That might not sound possible if you haven’t heard Tim live. I’m telling you, I’ve heard Jimmy Page live and while I’m not saying Tim is as good as Jimmy Page – and I’m not sure anybody alive is – I’m saying Tim has the chops to bring Jimmy to mind.

Mobile Art Sales in the Old City after midnight

Around midnight I had absorbed all I could take in. I realized I had worked eight hours and then walked or stood for the next seven listening to music all around town. As I walked home I passed Preservation Pub and realized Hudson K was still playing. Maybe if I was sure they would have played a while longer I would have stopped in, but it was late, I was exhausted and I just didn’t have any more fun in me for that night. But it was a great night of music in the city and I went to bed a very happy Urban Guy.