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/

Bullet Backstory – The Pinklets

DSC_0090Hailing from Knoxville, TN, The Pinklets is made up of sisters Lucy, 13 (guitar and vocals), Eliza, 11 (drums and vocals) and Roxie, 16 (Piano, bass and vocals) Abernathy.

Don’t miss The Pinklets at Bob Dylan’s Birthday Bash on June 3rd as well as at the WDVX | Ijams Meadow Lark Music Festival, June 25th.

The band writes all of their own songs, and their sound is defined by their pop melodies and three part harmonies. They are excited to be working on new material and plan to record a full length album in the near future.

The Pinklets have played everything from petting zoos to clothing store openings, as well as street fairs, and bigger stages along side some of Knoxville’s best musicians.

Here’s your Bullet Backstory, featuring The Pinklets!

Lucy (guitar & vocals) 
  • Biggest musical influences – Ben Folds, Billy Joel
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? – I don’t remember, it just happened really, but I’m really glad it did.
  • What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? Play music with people you trust and are comfortable with
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? I like going downtown because there is so much to do in one place.
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? I would work with Ben Folds because I really like his style and stage presence.
Roxie (piano, bass & vocals) 
  • Biggest musical influences – Billy Joel, Elton John, Ben Folds, Fitz and the Tantrums
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? – I want to be a professional actor and performer and realized I have the most fun performing in general
  • What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? Get out there, play as much as you can for people who want to listen
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? I like downtown but I especially like the Tennessee Theatre and the gardens (UT, Botanical)
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? Billy Joel because I love him – and he’s my favorite musician and it would be an honor to work with someone as brilliant as him

Eliza (drums & vocals) 

  • Biggest musical influences – Billy Joel and Garbage. My drumming influences are Sheila E. and John Bonham.
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? – I love music because it is a way I can express feelings, and when I listen to it I automatically go into a good mood. Like Roxie I love acting, and I also love performing as a musician!
  • What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft? Just be yourself in your music, don’t try to make songs that sound like someone else’s style. It always stands out if you’re unique.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? I also love downtown/market square, and I love the sunsphere because you can see so much of the city.
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? Honestly I think it would be fun to work with Beyoncé on some of her older songs because some are very empowering and she mixes the music up a lot from pop, even to jazz on songs. 😂Also billy Joel and they have pretty much explained why.

An Extra Helping of the Blue Plate Special – Dori Freeman “Tell Me”

Rolling Stone picked Dori Freeman’s new album as one of the “35 Most Anticipated Country Albums of 2016”, and called it “A strong contender for Americana debut of the year.” They go on to say, “…she sings with the clarity of Kacey Musgraves but hops between styles with the ease of Lera Lynn, belting classic twang one minute and crooning smoky, Peggy Lee-styled blues the next.”

Dori visited the Blue Plate Special stage, and showed us why there is so much buzz about this new artist. Listen to “Tell Me”, from her new album, and decide for yourself! Learn more about Dori Freeman at http://www.dorifreeman.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 – Smiley and the Lovedawg

Mark your calendar for the 2016 Bob Dylan Birthday Bash, June 3rd at 5 p.m. on Knoxville’s Market Square. One performance you won’t want to miss is Smiley and the Lovedawg!

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Smiley and the Lovedawg is made up of band members Chris Durman, Leslie Gengozian, and Steve White. Steve and Chris have been playing together for 35 years now, but say they feel like that time has flown by. They both hail from Morristown, Tennessee, and started playing around campfires at parties and down by the lake when Chris was in high school and Steve had recently graduated.

The guys started calling themselves Smiley and the Lovedawg about 17 years ago. Leslie Gengozian started playing with them about 12 years ago and they consider her a great fit and complement to their sound and their group.

Steve and Chris first played at WDVX when the station was still in the camper and they have been back many times over the years!

All members of Smiley and the Lovedawg are also in the band Exit 65. Chris says they’re fine-tuning the songs for a new CD at present and hope to record during it during Exit 65’s thirtieth year.

This week’s Song, “Breakfast,” comes from their first CD, Chris Durman and Steve White “Smiley and the Lovedawg.” Through quirky lyrics and a catchy melody, this tune offers everything you love about this local fan favorite.

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 Smiley and the Lovedawg, this week’s Sip is a fan favorite recipe as well, often enjoyed at music festivals.
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Blackberry Sunset:
3 oz Blockader’s Blackberry Moonshine
3 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Club Soda
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
Pineapple to garnish
Blackberry to garnish
Build ingredients over ice. Add garnish and top with a dash of Cayene Pepper.

Win 2 Tickets to Christopher Paul Stelling Secret Show from WDVX & Knoxville Music Warehouse

Last Friday WDVX (along with Knoxville Music Warehouse) gave our email subscribers the chance to win 2 tickets to the Christopher Paul Stelling Secret Show May 15th. Congratulations to Ken S. for winning!

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For those who weren’t signed up before now, don’t despair!

You STILL have a chance to win a pair of tickets from WDVX and Knoxville Music Warehouse to the Christopher Paul Stelling Secret Show on May 15th in Knoxville.

Enter below for your chance to win!

Want to be in the know about future giveaways like this for tickets, merchandise and other cool prizes?

Make sure you are signed up for WDVX’s email newsletter and don’t forget to check your email each week to find out about the latest giveaways and other exciting news. We’ll never spam you or fill up your inbox with junk, we promise!

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