A show that really seems to be hitting its stride, Tennessee Shines brings high quality local and national artists together for an hour-long radio broadcast which is usually followed by a half-hour additional music. Often the musicians spontaneously collaborate after the radio microphones are turned off and the audience is treated to a one-off performance that is sometimes very special. Hosts Paige Travis and Bob Deck keep the action flowing and sometimes interject fun audience participation craziness. Throw into the mix local and regional writers reading excerpts from their works and the night is jam-packed fun.
The photographs here are from a couple of recent shows, both of which rocked. I absolutely adore the Lonetones. With the addition of Cecilia Miller on Cello they’ve moved to a new level musically and both Sean and Steph seem to be writing better than ever. It’s a rare CD that my wife and I both enjoy hearing over and over and their “Modern Victims” is the most recent to fit that bill. The addition of Black Atticus on the CD stretched the musical styles currently exhibited by the uncategorizable band.
The guest authors have recently included the aforementioned Black Atticus as well as former WBIR anchor Edye Ellis. The authors are often a highlight and Atticus’ high intensity spoken word performances are the stuff of local legend. Even when he forgets the words his improves are nearly as fascinating. Edye Ellis, who is easily the most classy woman in the house, read haikus she and others had written and the fun was extended by inviting the audience to write a haiku of which several were read on air.
Matt Duncan brought his brand of seventies-style funk to the house and the audience went crazy. It’s the kind of music that takes you back somewhere between the Staple Singers and Parliament Funkadelic. It’s funky, but with soul and not a hint of the disco that would soon ruin popular music forever. OK, I’m editorializing a bit, but it was funky good music that had everyone smiling and remembering their favorite pair of bell-bottomed pants.
Casey Driessen and Dylan Sneed shared the stage last week. Casey, a member of the famous Sparrow Quartet along with Abigail Washburn, Bella Fleck and Ben Sollee, consistently wows audiences with his looping, soulful, percussive and sometimes bizarre use of the violin. Adding layer upon layer of fiddle lines and percussion with just a touch of occasional vocals, he marshals a large band consisting of himself and “about a hundred pounds” of electronics. He simply must be seen to be appreciated.
Dylan Sneed is a Texas singer-songwriter on a mission (though he currently resides in South Carolina). His excellent, well-crafted songs fit well in the tradition that includes Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wiley Hubbard, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark and many others. His voice carries a bit of the gravel one expects from that ilk and his wistful, sometimes ironic lyrics stand along side the best. His current mission is to have his songs heard by a larger audience. He has a plan to accomplish that and he’s calling his campaign “Texodus Accelerated.” You can find out about his kickstarter campaign by visiting his Facebook page.
Here’s a sample of his work:
Tonight’s show features another excellent lineup with a jazzy twist when Stephanie Nilles brings her cool sounds to the stage with backing by Knoxville’s harmonica maestro, Michael Crawdaddy Crawley, and Joe Jordan on Trumpet. Brent Thompson will also perform with accompaniment by Wes Lunsford and Hunter Deacon. When Brent takes the stage anything can happen, so you might want to be there when it does. The show starts at 7:00 and runs until 8:30. It’s the best ten dollars you could spend tonight in Knoxville.