Fred Eaglesmith Amazes the Blue Plate Audience – Plus, Waynestock starts tonight!

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

I’m publishing blog posts as fast as I’m able, but I seem to keep falling behind on writing about some of the great shows I’ve seen lately. One of the reasons is that so much great music has blown through in a very short time. I wrote a couple of days ago about seeing Jenna and Her Cool Friends’ phenomenal show at KMA and that same weekend I saw Fred Eaglesmith at the Blue Plate. And then I saw Blue Mother Tupelo (later post) at Boyd’s Jig and Reel.

And the music will keep on rolling this week. The second (annual?) Waynestock will be held at the Relix Theater. The Relix is locate in Happy Holler, just outside of downtown proper on Central. It’s a really cool venue which has been crafted from an old White’s Grocery Store. Most importantly, for only $5 a night, you can enjoy some of the very best local music and see more local bands in one stop than at any other time during the year. All money goes to benefit former Band of Humans’ front-man Phil Pollard’s family. Phil died this past fall and is being honored in this year’s event.

Here’s the schedule:
Thursday (starting at 7:00 PM) – Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle, Greg Horne, Kevin Abernathy and Jay Clark, Jack Rentfro and the Apocalypso Quartet, Ian Thomas and Christabel and the Jons
Friday (starting at 8:00 PM) – Sara Schwabe and Her Yankee Jass Band, The Lonetones, RB Morris, Tim Lee 3, King Super and the Excellents
Saturday (starting at 8:00) – The French, The Theorizt, Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, Senryu and an All-Star Tribute to Phil Pollard featuring members of the Band of Humans

Unbelievable. You just can’t miss this. Drinks and food available, but wouldn’t you do without both just to hear this? I’m serious. If you’d like to get a feel of how it plays out, you might enjoy reading my blogs about last year which you can find here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. But enough of that – you’ll get all the details later – let’s talk about Fred Eaglesmith.

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

Fred and his traveling show took over the Blue Plate at WDVX recently. Playing a show at the Shed later that night, they pulled their “special” bus into the parking lot beside the station, propped a piece of cement under the wheel and came inside to set the house on fire. Bill Poss did a couple of songs, followed by the Fabulous Ginn Sisters doing a few and then Fred took the stage.

He’s got a funny stage presence, part comedian, part icon, both wry and corny in the same story. His weathered voice, tasteful guitar work and always, the excellent songs he writes combine to form a perfect union. His band is just right for what he is doing and they are each very talented. Always joining him center stage, the Ginn sisters have a very unique vocal blend that twangs as hard as any Nashville vocalists.

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

He’s promoting his new album, “6 Volts,” which I bought that day and it is excellent. My favorite song has to be “Johnny Cash,” which is great on the album, but is even better live with Fred staring down the crowd spitting out lyrics like “You sure do like Johnny Cash, now. Now that he’s dead and in the ground . . . and where were you in 1989 when it looked like Johnny was on the decline. His career was fading, his shows weren’t selling and you were listening to heavy metal, but you sure do like Johnny Cash, now.”

When he sings “I’m dangerous to myself,” it’s believable. Sometimes he sounds as if he might be dangerous to anyone. Then he tells a joke or gives a wink and you aren’t sure if he’s dangerous or if he’s more like your mischievous uncle. He patiently signed everything handed to him after the show and posed for a picture with me when he certainly didn’t have to, so I’m thinking maybe on the not-so-dangerous end.

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

Fred Eaglesmith, Blue Plate Special, Knoxville, January 2012

The room was packed when I arrived a half hour before the show and the crowd got what they had hoped for. We all need to be very appreciative of the great music we get to hear at WDVX. It’s a great radio station that distinguishes our city from any other. And on this particular Saturday they gave us a great musician and a great band. Thank you Tony and thank you Fred.

I’ll end with Fred performing “Johnny Cash.” See you guys at the Waynestock shows.

The Special

Just Old Men Passin’ Through: Fred Eaglesmith and Urban Guy


  1. Knoxville Urban Guy says

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