January Scruffy City Ramble (with pictures from last month)

Lil' Iffy, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Lil’ Iffy, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Here’s my monthly post on this great series. The lineup tonight is crazy good. Sadly, unless I get an assist from mother nature, I will be dutifully working away and will miss this one. I love them all, but this one seems better than most for my taste, so it stings to not be there. While I’m hoping for snow, you can go ahead and make your plans to be downtown for the show. If you live downtown, it’s the perfect snowy night outing. The show starts at 7:00 PM sharp and tickets are $15 the day of the show.

Scott Miller, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Scott Miller, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Benny Smith, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Benny Smith, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Hosted by Scott Miller and MC’d by Bennie Smith, the series kicks off tomorrow with local favorites The Lonetones. In previous posts I’ve gone on about their new album and how I can’t stop listening, so I’ll spare you that, this time. Still, these are some of the best people, the finest musicians and the most organically beautiful music you can hope to encounter.

Jamie Cook, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Jamie Cook, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Tom Pryor with Jamie Cook, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Tom Pryor with Jamie Cook, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

This Mountain is a “collaborative folk-rock band from Johnson City” who have been together for nearly three years. They promise and earthy, Americana via Appalachia style music that should be very enjoyable. Reading any reviews of their music will reveal that critics tend to wax eloquent with vivid imagery and evocative incantations. Who can’t love that?

Tim Easton, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Tim Easton, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Jack Neely interviews Jimmy and Ashlee Brown of Matrimony, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Jack Neely interviews Jimmy and Ashlee Brown of Matrimony, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

The Tim Lee 3 will light up the stage and, perhaps, we’ll get a glimpse of their new music. Always energetic, musically heavy and featuring Tim’s sometimes startlingly good guitar licks, this promises to be another show highlight. I’m excited to hear them in what I consider one of the very best listening rooms in the city. If the snow would cooperate, perhaps I could finally get the photographs of them I’ve tried to get other places, but have failed. The Square Room is one of the best places to photograph bands.

Matrimony, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Matrimony, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Ashllee Brown of Matrimony, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Ashllee Brown of Matrimony, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Finally, Holly Williams will headline the artists for the evening. I’m interested to hear how Jack Neely handles the interview portion of the show if she is interviewed. How could you not ask about her father (Hank Williams, Jr.) and her grandfather (Hank the first, of course)? Still, many progeny of hopelessly famous and iconic parents do not like being asked, preferring to keep the focus on the music they are playing.

A multi-instrumentalist with a very soulful voice, she’s charting a direction of her own, equal parts country, folk and Americana, she is a very talented musician who would not need family roots to make fans take notice. Her new album “The Highway” is set to be released in a couple of weeks. Maybe we’ll get a preview and a chance to buy it early.

The photographs in this post are, of course, from last month. As always, the December show proved to be excellent. The night started off with local artist Jamie Cook, earstwhile drummer for the Black Lillies (who have a CD release party coming up in March – I’ve got my tickets, do you have yours?)  He performed well with great assistance from a talented band including the ever-amazing Tom Pryor who just seems to get better and better.

Lil' Iffy, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Tim Easton brought his own driving brand of folk and I really enjoyed that along with Matrimony (the band though, for the record, I love the institution, too). Their driving folk/Irish/Americana via Mumford and Sons sound could easily have highlighted any show. Excellent musicianship and great songwriting have landed them a recording contract with Columbia. I have to say vocalist and keyboard player Ashlee Brown, who is married to lead vocalist Jimmy Brown, is so beautiful she’s worth the price of admission before she starts to sing.

Jarius Bush with Lil' Iffy, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

Jarius Bush with Lil’ Iffy, Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

The night, however, belonged in the end to Lil’ Iffy who did an amazingly curse word-free show. His rapid-fire rapping and the visuals of his partners Playboy Manbaby, DJ Tom Ato and others has developed into quite a serious hip-hop package. Joined on stage by Jarius Bush of Theorizt at one point, the entire set simply sparkled. If you like hip hop, you really should give a listen to their latest CD “Wand Ambition.”

It's the End of the World as We Know It, Finale Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” Finale Scruffy City Ramble, Square Room, Knoxville, December 2012

One of the best moments each month is the finale with all the bands joining together on stage to play, sing or recite whatever clever theme host Scott Miller has dreamed up. This particular show fell the week the world ended according to the Mayan calendar, so what else could the choice be but, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It?” Playboy Manbaby did the honors for the vocals and did a creditable job singing the rapid-fire lyrics.

I hope to get out of work and see you tonight, but if not, I’ll expect you to tell me about it.

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