by Tanner Rutherford, Alec Cunningham, John Flannagan and Rusty Odom
Knoxville’s largest music festival eased into rhythm Friday evening with a host of local acts as well as a handful of nationally recognized artists. The festival in is full bloom on day two, with Gogol Bordello set to take the Cripple Creek stage at 8:00PM. This will be the first time the band has played Knoxville and it could be the highest energy show that has ever occurred in Rhythm and Blooms history. Here are some of our favorites from night one.
Shayla McDaniel Lonesome Dove Courtyard 6:30
Knoxville-Local, Shayla McDaniel played a groovy, mellow set at the Lonesome Dove Courtyard. Though she musically exhibited a RnB/Jazz texture, her lyrics exuded singer-songwriter sensibilities. She had a three-piece band including drums, bass, and her on guitar. She sang songs about Coffee and Food including her hit single, “Coffee,” and pleasantly pulled the beauty and humanity out of these commonplace communal objects. McDaniel will play at Boyd’s Jig & Reel at 2:30 on Saturday and 3:00 at the Pilot Light on Sunday.
Travis Bigwood Lonesome Dove Courtyard 7:45
Travis Bigwood, who plays bass guitar with Knoxville band, Guy Marshall, stepped out on his own to play a solo set at the Lonesome Dove Courtyard. Leading from an understated electric guitar, his subtle melodies were ornamented by two strong female harmonies and a fiddle player. He played a mix of originals and interesting covers that kept the crowd engaged as the sun began to set. Fans of old-timey music, as well as modern folk, would appreciate Bigwood’s musical stylings. Hopefully, we see more of his solo work moving forward.
Dave Barnes 8:30 Cripple Creek Main Stage
Dave Barnes, based in Nashville, Tennessee, headlined the evening and captured the crowd with his unique blend of comedy and feel good music. The crowd became part of the performance at many moments throughout the set including early on when he prompted the crowd to sing along with the line, “you give me what I need,” in harmony. Barnes seamlessly transitioned between sentimental love songs and upbeat dance numbers. Barnes attended Farragut High School and cut his songwriting teeth at New City Café which used to be in the old city, he felt like playing under the bridge in Old City was coming home. A special moment in the set was when the band gathered around one mic to sing the toe-tapping “Good Day for Marrying You.” The crowd danced rowdily throughout the set which made for an entertaining vibe on all ends.
Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line 10:15 Jackson Terminal
Although Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line played on the main stage in the afternoon, their upbeat old-time bluegrass blend led to rowdy crowd participation in this late slot after all main-stage shows were over. The crowd tapped their feet and danced around as The Party Line played their slow-building drum-driven bluegrass jams. Led by the classic songwriting of Struthers, The Party Line became the quintessential backing band in the same fashion of the Heartbreakers and the Cardinals. Struthers led the whole Terminal in a guided square dance before setting them free to dance on their own. Struthers and multi-instrumentalist Joe Overton stripped down to one mic to play some old-time fiddle tunes that the crowd praised highly. Struthers and Overton will play a similar set at Boyd’s Jig & Reel at 4:00 on Saturday.
William Wild 12:00 Jackson Terminal
Local’s William Wild capped off the end of the first night of Rhythm and Blooms and transitioned strongly into day two. Even though it made for a late night, fans came out in full force to support the local favorite. Led by Garrett Sale, William Wild’s unique indie-folk blend energized the crowd that was exhausted from a full day of festival going. The band played their fan-favorite, Townsend, second in the set as the crowd passionately sang along. Anyone who has engaged in the local music scene in past years knows how great a show William Wild puts on. Sale pleased fans new and old by playing a variation of new and old songs. William Wild’s eclectic rhythms paired with sentimental lyrics moved the crowd both mentally and physically as they danced and contemplated the earnest lyrics. William Wild’s set served as a perfect end to the night and set the bar high for all the following acts of the weekend.