Bullet Backstory – The Whiskey Gentry

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This is a new series we’ve started here on the WDVX blog. It shares five bullet point facts to provide some backstory about an artist in his or her own words.

For this edition of “Bullet Backstory” we sat down with  The Whiskey Gentry, who’ll be performing at the Sweethearts of the Smokies Festival June 4th at the Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, Tennessee.

The band has been recording its new record, Dead Ringer, since last fall and it will be out later this year. They recorded it at Echo Mountain in Asheville, NC. They’ll be playing lots of the new tunes at the Sweethearts Festival the 4th and say they can’t wait!

We hope you enjoy their bullet backstory…

1) What are your biggest Musical Influences? My musical influences range from anything from U2 to Dolly Parton to Ryan Adams to Mozart to Outkast. It’s insane and doesn’t make much sense for someone to who plays country/Americana music! I’m really just influenced by all music that moves me in some way. It doesn’t have to be genre specific – I just love music and take inspiration from everything.
2) If you could work with any musician living or dead, who would it be and why? Such a hard question to answer!! Like I said above, my musical influences are literally all over the place, so it’s difficult to narrow it down to one particular person. Since you’re making me, I think I would say Beethoven. I don’t know if I really want to work with him (do you think he would like country music?), as I would like to see him work. I was pretty obsessed with him when I was younger, and I think it would be so incredible to see and experience his genius in the room.
3) What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? Visit with family. Jason was born and raised in Oak Ridge, and his family still lives up there, so we love spending time with them when our tours bring us their way.
4) Best advice for a young musician trying to hone his/her craft? I definitely don’t feel qualified to be answering this question! Hah! Still so, so much to learn ourselves, but I guess I would say just to be kind and humble and work hard. Those things seem to be worth their weight in gold in the long run.
5) What made you decide to pursue music as a career? I specifically remember the day I knew that music was the only thing I could see myself doing in the future. I was 15 and I was watching one of my favorite bands play at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, and I never wanted anything more badly in my life. It was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I never looked back. I’ve had other things that I love to do, but playing music and songwriting is the only thing that feels right. When I’m playing music, I feel like my life is on the right path. That’s a really powerful feeling you cannot deny yourself.
Now enjoy this great tune from The Whiskey Gentry! 

 

An Extra Helping of the Blue Plate Special – Kim Logan “Western Medication”

After a decade in the opera industry, Kim Logan moved from Florida to Nashville to write songs and make records. In addition, Kim has penned published poetry and essays, consulted on and served as muse for a fashion designers and vintage curators, and collaborated with everyone from filmmakers to burlesque and hoop dancers, to portrait artists, in interdisciplinary displays of performance art.

Her self titled debut album was released in 2015, and Kim treated the Blue Plate audience to a preview of “Western Medication”, which is from a new project that will be out in September 2016. Learn more about Kim Logan at: http://www.kimlogan.net/home

The WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon, Monday through Saturday, at the WDVX studio inside the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. Come and play your part as an audience member in the radio show that’s popular worldwide! Listen live at http://wdvx.com/

Bullet Backstory – Whiskey Bent Valley Boys

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This is a new series we’ve started here on the WDVX blog. It shares five bullet point facts to provide some backstory about an artist in his or her own words.
For this edition of “Bullet Backstory” we sat down with the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys who performed recently on the WDVX Blue Plate Special. Click here to see an extra helping of their performance!
  • Biggest Musical Influences – My parents played in a touring bluegrass band for 17 years so I would brought up around it, but after time really started to get into more of the old time sound , the mountain sound.
  • What advice do you have for young musicians trying to hone their craft? Practice, Practice, Practice.. and just the want and the will and the love for what your trying to accomplish.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? Our favorite thing to do in the great city of Knoxville, TN is eat at Tomato Head and bounce in and out of the thrift shops. Mainly the food. Our first trip to Knoxville almost 10 years ago, Matt Morelock took us to Tomato Head and it has been a hit and a band favorite ever since. We lived in the Gatlinburg area playing music for the city and at Dollywood 6 days a week for 5 years and on our off day we would always drive up to Ktown and eat at Tomato Head.. No joke. My favorite thing is the  Black bean and chicken Burrito. Hard to beat that. Hahaha. Also just walking around the farmers market area.
  • If you could work for any musician living or dead who would it be? Oh my that’s a tricky question. I guess the answer is No One. I like working for myself 🙂
  • Anything else you’d like to share? New record is called ON THE FLY we recorded that with Questionable Records. It’s a hard driving old time record, that’s for sure. Got some heat behind those tunes. “Heat=Speed” 😉

Thanks to the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys for sharing a bit of their story! 

Extra Helping of the Blue Plate Special – Whiskey Bent Valley Boys “Drink Up That Whiskey”

 

The Whiskey Bent Valley Boys recently took the Blue Plate stage and we’re still trying to catch our breath! Their website says that these boys from Peewee Valley, Kentucky will deliver their take on old-time tunes with an intensity that would knock the socks right off of their forefathers feet. After hearing them, that sounds like a pretty good description, and we think you’ll agree.

The band is made up of J.R. McFinnigan on fiddle and vocals, Col. Mason Dixon (“Yes, that’s my real name”) on banjo, and Leroy Jones on the doghouse bass. They’ve got a brand new CD called “On The Fly”, and you can learn even more about the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys at http://whiskeybentvalley.tumblr.com/

Since whiskey is a part of the band’s name, here’s a tune called “Drink Up That Whiskey”.

The WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon, Monday through Saturday, at the WDVX studio inside the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. Come and play your part as an audience member in the radio show that’s popular worldwide! Listen live at http://wdvx.com/

A Song & A Sip – Cherohala

This edition of A Song & A Sip includes a great track from Cherohala, which is made up of sisters Griffin Cavender Vann and Milly Cavender.

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The band will be performing at the inaugural Sweethearts of the Smokies Festival taking place rain or shine on Saturday, June 4th at the Dancing Bear Lodge Outdoor Pavilion Stage. Not only is this is a chance to enjoy great music, good food & drink, but you can feel good knowing a portion of the proceeds help the Appalachian Bear Rescue.

What better backdrop than the foothills of the gorgeous Smoky Mountains to showcase and celebrate bands that are led and co-led by women?

Other performers include Robinella, The Whiskey Gentry, Shannon Whitworth & Barrett Smith, and Katie Pruitt.

Siblings Griffin and Milly say they’ve been making music together forever, but Cherohala started about 10 years ago. Their musical influences include growing up listening to a lot of oldies, such as The Temptations, The Supremes, etc. They also listened to a lot of country music like Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Alan Jackson.

More recent influences are Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott. They both love these artists and say they’ve had a huge influence on Griffin’s songwriting. The ladies are excited about the Sweethearts festival, and the chance to play as Cherohala. They also play quite a bit with their other band The Naughty Knots.

Said Milly, “We like to use the huge amount of talent in Knoxville, so we have a rotating group of musicians we like to have join us at our shows. There are so many people we love to play music with, so it’s fun to always have a show be slightly different because of who we have playing with us. It allows us to play with our style a little bit, we might be really country sounding at one gig and then have some jazz influence in another. It makes it a lot of fun. Also, Griffin just won the International Biscuit Festival songwriting competition for her song “Kitchen.”

Have a listen to this great Cherohala tune, Josephine!

This is the latest in our blog series, A Song & A Sip, brought to you in part from our friends at Sugarlands Distilling Company. Each week, they share a great drink recipe as part of their #WhatToDrinkWednesday, and we thought it would be fun to pair the drinks with an amazing music performance.

This week’s What to Drink Wednesday is the Peach Tennessee Cosmo. A drink that’s both sweet and strong, we think it pairs perfectly with Cherohala’s tune, as well as the music of all the great Sweethearts of the Smokies artists!

Peach Tennessee Cosmo:

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2 oz of Mark Roger’s American Peach Moonshine

2 oz Cranberry Juice

1 oz Orange Juice

.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice

1 oz Water

.25 oz of Honey

Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain over ice in a Collins glass and garnish with a lime zest twist.

Bullet Backstory – Sarah Morgan

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This is a new series we’ve started here on the WDVX blog. It shares five bullet point facts to provide some backstory about an artist in his or her own words. For this edition of “Bullet Backstory” we sat down with mountain dulcimer champion Sarah Morgan to share a bit more about her influences and insight about music. Sarah Morgan will be playing on the Blue Plate Special June 10th, so be sure to tune in online or on the radio for what’s sure to be a great show!

Morgan started her musical journey at 7 years old and has fallen in love with traditional and folk music through the years. A native of East Tennessee, she has incorporated the rich musical heritage of the area into her music. At 18, Sarah placed 1st at the 2012 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships held in Winfield, KS. A year later she went on to become a finalist in the 2013 International Acoustic Music Awards. She has also won other titles, including
Mid-Eastern Region Mountain Dulcimer Champion, Kentucky State Mountain Dulcimer Champion, and Southern Region Mountain Dulcimer Champion. She currently studying Traditional Music and Appalachian Studies at Morehead State University.

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We hope you enjoy her bullet backstory!

  • Biggest musical influences – As a young teen, I became entranced with the folk musicians of the early folk revival of the 60’s and 70’s. I was drawn to the music of Ian and Sylvia, Judy Collins, and Pete Seeger. The music of that era is so real and honest and urgent.
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? – I always knew I wanted a career in traditional music. After high school, I didn’t know where or even if I wanted to go to college, so I took a gap year to teach and perform. After a year of traveling, I felt confident that pursuing a career in traditional music was what I was meant to do. Currently, I am studying Traditional Music, Appalachian Studies, and Arts Entrepreneurship at Morehead State University.
  • What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? – In our fame-obsessed culture, it seems that we define “successful musician” as someone who sells hundreds of thousands of albums and can fill a stadium with screaming fans. But being a success at music doesn’t have to fit that mold. For me, being a successful musician means striving to the absolute best dulcimer player I can be, performing and recording music that caters to my niche market, and teaching others how to play this amazing little instrument. I’m not trying to appeal to everyone and that’s okay. I would encourage young musicians to pursue the instrument and genre of music they love and not to worry about whether or not they will be “successful” as our culture defines it. All those things will fall into place if work hard at being the best you can be at your craft. You’ll be hard to ignore if you are really, really good.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? – Anything at the Laurel Theater! I remember my parents taking me to see the Hominy Mamas and ballad singer Elizabeth Laprelle as a young kid. Now, I love singing shape notes with the Epworth Singers once a month.
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? – Pete Seeger. I learned so much from his recordings and I love how he approached folk music. While he always respected the integrity of these old songs, wrote new verses to reflect current issues and lent a new feel to seemingly antiquated songs.

Thanks Sarah!

An Extra Helping of the Blue Plate Special – Wild Ponies “Love is not a sin”

Wild Ponies is the duo of Doug and Telisha Williams. Now living in Nashville, they are Americana music favorites, and veterans of the Blue Plate stage. They have a new album, “Radiant”, due to be released May 13, 2016. This tune, “Love Is Not A Sin” was released as a single in 2015, and Doug and Telisha “Hope this harmony-soaked tune becomes a pro-equality, “pro-love in all its forms” anthem.”

Sharp eyed viewers will note Knoxville musicians Greg Horne and Nate Barrett providing some exceptional backing work on guitar and drums. You can learn more about Wild Ponies at http://www.wildponies.net/

The WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon, Monday through Saturday, at the WDVX studio inside the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. Come and play your part as an audience member in the radio show that’s popular worldwide! Listen live at http://wdvx.com/

An Extra Helping of the Blue Plate Special – Lowell Levinger (aka Banana)

Lowell Levinger, better known as “Banana” from the classic rock band, The Youngbloods, treated the Blue Plate audience to an eclectic variety of tunes, and ended his set with “Get Together” a Top 10 hit for The Youngbloods in 1969.

Banana began his career in the early 60’s in bluegrass on the East Coast with “Banana and the Bunch, Old Time Music with Appeal,” and has since played with countless other artists in just about every genre of music. He told the Blue Plate audience “I decided I want to be a folk singer when I grow up,” and is currently on a solo tour.

Check out the new collector’s edition of the Youngbloods’ most popular songs called “Get Together Banana Recalls Youngbloods Classics”, rearranged and recorded by Lowell Levinger with guests such as Jesse Colin Young, David Grisman, Ry Cooder and a host of others. Learn more about “Banana” at http://www.lowelllevinger.com/

The WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon, Monday through Saturday, at the WDVX studio inside the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. Come and play your part as an audience member in the radio show that’s popular worldwide! Listen live at http://wdvx.com/

A Song & A Sip – The Brothers Comatose

The Brothers Comatose Victory Photo Horizontal photo by Zack Sumner

We’re so excited to have The Brothers Comatose playing Tennessee Shines on May 25th. You can hear the show on the radio, online at WDVX.com or just come on out and enjoy it in person at Boyd’s Jig & Reel in Knoxville’s Old City.

Brothers Ben and Alex Morrison grew up watching their mother sing beautiful songs as part of a folk quartet. They had no shortage of musical influences so it’s really no surprise that they grew up to form a band of their own, The Brothers Comatose.

With Ben and Alex on guitar, banjo and lead vocalists, this rocking string band has become a West coast headliner and national touring act in a short time. The band also includes bassmaster Gio Benedetti and stellar accompanists Philip Brezina on fiddle and Ryan Avellone on mandolin. Together the guys create high energy, audience engaging shows that excite fans from San Diego to Seattle to Salt Lake to Silk Hope, NC and beyond.

Infused with a sense of relaxed, experienced confidence, The Brothers Comatose offer a southwestern-tinged, rowdy stringband sound in their new album that is sure to make it a favorite.

We know you’ll enjoy this week’s Song, “Knoxville Foxhole,” with its catchy beat and lyrics that evoke images of everything we love about the south. This is a track off the band’s City Painted Gold album, which released in March 2016.

This is the latest in our blog series, A Song & A Sip, brought to you in part from our friends at Sugarlands Distilling Company. Each week, they share a great drink recipe as part of their #WhatToDrinkWednesday, and we thought it would be fun to pair the drinks with an amazing music performance.

Just like this Song from The Brothers Comatose, this week’s Sip evokes memories of things you hold dear, a summer day, apple pie, and time spent with friends and family. We hope you enjoy!
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Apple Pie Sunshine
1.5 oz Appalachian Apple Pie Moonshine
.5 oz Triple Sec
.5 Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
Combine all ingredients in mixing tin with ice, shake, serve over ice and garnish with a lemon wedge.

An Extra Helping of the Blue Plate Special – Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass

Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass stopped by the Blue Plate stage before their recent gig at Scruffy City Hall. Chris is a veteran “grasser,” but has been influenced by all kinds of music, including rock, Celtic, rap, and hip-hop.

He calls his new band Hardcore Grass because of the intensity with which they perform his music – described as a kind of “white-knuckle, bite the cap off the coke bottle grit.”

The band members here are:
Chris Henry – Mandolin
Brent Lamons – Banjo
Pat Hoeper – Fiddle
Brad Benge – Bass
Merle Johnson – Guitar

Find out more about Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass at http://christopherhenry.net/

This selection is a “Traditional” bluegrass song that Chris wrote called Walking West To Memphis, which was nominated for the 2011 IBMA and SPGBMA Song of the Year. Chris’s song didn’t win, but the album that it appeared on, Help My Brother, by the Gibson Brothers, did win Album of the Year.

The WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon, Monday through Saturday, at the WDVX studio inside the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. Come and play your part as an audience member in the radio show that’s popular worldwide! Listen live at http://wdvx.com/