I know some of you get a bit weary of all the music talk on this blog, but there is just too much great music going around to ignore it. Festival season has died down a bit around downtown Knoxville and that clears the way to get into a little early summer groove with some of the great live music floating all around the center city.
The photographs accompanying this post are from a Friday night a couple of weeks ago. It’s not a particularly unusual Friday night in the city. The capacity to jump from one band or artist to another and from one musical genre to another all night and into the early Saturday morning hours is there for you to take it. The same is true most Saturday nights.
On the Friday night pictured here, I found a high school competition on the Square sponsored by the CTE. A panel of judges evaluated the local high school talent as they performed songs of their choice. Some of them chose original material, but most selected cover tunes. Logan Murrell of West High School was declared the winner. A very talented student at West High School, many believe Logan is destined for great success in the music business.
Next I stopped in for a great show at Preservation Pub with Austin, Texas indie band Quiet Company. I really enjoy the early shows in the smoke-free Speakeasy. Often the talent is top-flight as was the case this night. It’s high energy, aggressive music and it’s anything but quiet. They are a seasoned band with a very tight sound and, of all things, a red trombone. Lead vocalist and lyricist Taylor Muse has written piercing, poignant songs for their latest CD which is produced by Tim Palmer (U2, the Cure, Pearl Jam). You really should give them a listen.
After that impressive display of talent, I ended the night at Bella Luna with Keith Brown on keyboards and some of the area’s very best jazz players supporting him. I’m very happy Bella Luna has taken up sponsoring some of the jazz that had been the province of the S and W before it closed.
Honestly, sometimes it seems we have more jazz than anything else in the city, which is generally OK by me. The band was amazing, as always. Tamara Brown joined the band for several songs and she’s always a welcome addition with her versatile vocals.
So, that was two weeks ago. Without even trying to give you an exhaustive list, let me give you a few choices for this weekend:
Swingbooty: Preservation Pub, 8:00, Speakeasy
Kukuly and the Gypsy Fuego: Bistro at the Bijou, 9:00 (Gypsy Jazz)
The Jay McDaniel Band: Preservation Pub, 10:00 PM, Smokeasy (Classic and Southern Rock)
Royal Bangs: Pilot Light, 10:00 PM (note: there are two opening acts, RB will likely take the stage close to midnight)
This Mountain: Barley’s, 10:00 PM (Certified awesome band. Think Mumford and Sons)
Vestival: All Day Festival in South Knoxville, just over the river from downtown, follow the link for directions – Amazing Bands: Nancy Brennan Strange, Guy Marshall, Jack Rentfro, Leah Gardner, Mic Harrison, Big Jon and the Nationals, Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle and many more
Stacy Mitchhart Band: Blackstock Exchange (formerly Cider House), 7:00 – 10:00 (House Band from B.B. King’s Club in Memphis) – Non smoking venue – $15 admission, food and drink on site.
Kay Walker and the Marble City Three – 8:00 PM, Preservation Pub in the Speakeasy – non-smoking, free show – This is the band that blew me away last Friday night when they played at Crush. If you like music at all, see this band. They are just that good.
Dale Ann Bradley and Blue Highway: 8:00, Bijou, $22
Big Country’s Empty Bottle, 10:00 PM, Preservation Pub in the Smokeasy