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Blur Collar Hero PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Gibson • photo by Bill Foster   
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:42

Mic Harrison and the High Score celebrate ten years of working mans rock.


Longtime Knoxville music scene staple Mic Harrison was Americana before Americana was cool.

That’s because Harrison, a stocky fellow in his mid-40s with old-school black-rimmed specs and a frowsy mop of perpetually hat-molded black hair, came by the trappings of Americana honestly. The thrift-store shirts and John Deere caps, the love of classic country music and cheap American beer—none of those things are hipster affectations. Rather, they are simply the indigenous lifestyle choices of an authentic good ol’ boy who came to Knoxville nearly 20 years ago from storied little backwater of Skullbone, Tennessee.

Mic Harrison and the High Score will play Knoxville’s Scruffy City Hall Friday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. in celebration of 10 years together, and of Harrison’s two-decade career as a local music icon.

It would be tempting to call Harrison the quintessential journeyman, a first-rate second banana. His Knoxville odyssey has been marked by Johnny-come-lately stints in two of the city’s best-loved rock bands, the indie-power-pop quartet Superdrag, and hard-drinking proto-Americana outfit the V-roys. Harrison replaced bedrock members of both units, including mysterious, mercurial V-roys guitar wizard and co-founder John Paul Keith.

And in doing so, he stood next to two men hailed as minor songwriting geniuses in their own right in Superdrag’s John Davis and the V-roys’ Scott Miller.

But the truth is that one has to look beyond Harrison’s unassuming demeanor and workmanlike approach to life and music, and recognize the impressive depth of his talents. In point of fact, when Harrison was a member of the V-roys—his longest-running musical project prior to the High Score—it was the combustible mix of Miller’s wordy, highly personal songwriting and Harrison’s tuneful, bash-it-out blue-collar approach that elevated the band to the level of greatness it achieved in the latter half of the 1990s.

But in 2003, after two years and one very strong album with Superdrag, Mic Harrison decided to set out under his own name. In doing so, he called on his old friends in the High Score, a three-year-old local rock unit, the members of which had played with Harrison in previous, short-lived Knoxville groups.


Knoxville's Public Arts Committee wants your feedback on new downtown park PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
Written by Rusty Odom   
Saturday, 25 October 2014 17:11
The City of Knoxville’s Public Arts Committee requested that the East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC), facilitate a public input meeting and design charrette to develop site concepts and examine public art locations for the park at Summit Hill and Gay Street.
The meeting was held on August 21, 2014 at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville.  There were over 30 participants of the public input session and design charrette (defined as an intense period of design, with input from designers and users, to develop a solution to a defined problem).  We had a local artist and landscape architect or architect lead each design team’s work and discussion. The six design teams developed varying and distinctive park concept plans.
The ETCDC has refined each design, added explanatory notes, and images.  Through the Public Arts Committee's website and in person at the Emporium Center, the public can review each design team concept and provide comments and input.
Please visit to learn more about this exciting process and share your feedback with the Committee!
The website will be open for feedback until November 13, 2014.
Here are the six plans.
Matt Ward, Knox Comedy set to humor locals with inaugural event PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Written by Matt Rankin   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 20:50

Scruffy City Comedy Festival to take over downtown Nov. 6-8

Stand-up comedy witnessed a boom in the ‘80s, a collapse in the ‘90s and a resurgence with an alternative movement in the aughts.

This was true in major markets and in large population centers, at least; Knoxville has always been reluctant to embrace national trends, and modern residents of the city have been characteristically slow in adopting an appreciation for performance art, even in peak times of high national regard.

“The overall struggle here is getting Knoxville to accept that comedy happens locally,” says Matt Ward, founder of Knox Comedy Live, a collective of comedians and producers who perform and stage different kinds of shows at various locations throughout the city. “Comedy has never really been a viable option here….”

This localized apathy with regard to comedy is something Ward and his colleagues have been trying to eradicate in the nearly five years since Knox Comedy’s inception, and they are hoping that next month’s inaugural Scruffy City Comedy Festival will go a long way in rendering such indifference obsolete. Taking place Nov. 6-8 at five downtown venues (Scruffy City Hall, the Pilot Light, Latitude 35, the Jack Cellar and Star of Knoxville Riverboat), the event will feature more than 50 performances by some of the best local, regional and national talent working the circuit. Produced by Ward’s own Super Cat imprint, it also will showcase several different comedic styles, from traditional stand-up and improv to roasts and podcasts. It is an ambitious undertaking, but one at which Ward and many others have worked long and hard to see come to fruition.

Bobby Denton: The Voice of a Tradition PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
Written by Ken Lay with testimonials from Rusty Odom   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 19:26

Football Time in Tennessee will never quite be the same.

On August 31st, The University of Tennessee’s football team played in front of a sell-out crowd for the first time in what seems like an eternity, but one man was noticeably absent. That man was legendary Neyland Stadium public address announcer and music industry titan Bobby Denton.

Denton, the former program director of WIVK radio, was the voice of Neyland Stadium for nearly five decades. He never missed a game after replacing John Ward, who went on to become one of the best college football and basketball broadcasters of all time.

Denton, the Knoxville radio legend, passed away last April after a bout with cancer.

The University of Tennessee has many football legends in its iconic gridiron history. Names like Manning, Holloway, Pickens, Shuler, Majors, Neyland and Fulmer sit atop the list. Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors both played and coached on Rocky Top. Robert Neyland built the Big Orange football program as fans now know it. And Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever wear pads.

But Denton was a star in his own right. If you didn’t know his name, you certainly knew his voice. His golden baritone echoed throughout Neyland Stadium for 47 years.

He is thought to be the longest-tenured PA voice in college football. He had a passion for the Big Orange and often kept fans in the games through some of the team’s lean years.

Like any other great craftsmen behind the microphone, Denton had his catch phrases such as his trademark “It’s Football Time in Tennessee,” and “Pay these prices and please, pay no more.”

But Tennessee football was only a part of Denton’s legacy. He cast a deep shadow in Knoxville radio at WIVK and beyond. The pipeline he created includes such personalities as Bob Kesling, now the voice of the Vols, Phil Williams, who has an afternoon talk show on WOKI, and Mickey Deerstone, now the program director at WNML where he has his own sports show during the morning drive. Deerstone is also the play-by-play announcer for Lady Vols basketball. Denton also mentored Jeff Jarnigan, another prominent Knoxville radio fixture and the man who now occupies the head chair in UT’s PA booth.

The list goes on, too.

Arts & Culture Alliance Presents "Frutos Latinos" and Day of the Dead Exhibitions and Celebrations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rusty Odom   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 22:54

The Arts & Culture Alliance is pleased to present a new exhibition hosted by HoLa Hora Latina in commemoration of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), featuring a collection of traditional and modern ofrendas (altars), paintings, masks, sculptures, and paper mache catrinas by artists Angel Luna, Hector Saldivar, Margarita Garza, and others. Additionally, the exhibition will include selections from “Frutos Latinos,” an exhibition showing the diversity of media and style produced by contemporary artists who explore what it means to be Hispanic artists now living and working in the United States. The exhibitions will be displayed at the Emporium Center in downtown Knoxville beginning November 7, 2014 with special activities throughout the evening. The public is invited to vote for their favorite ofrenda (altar) until 8:00 PM. Children and adults may participate in a costume and makeup contest for which the public may also select winners. Other activities in Casa HoLa (the office/gallery space of HoLa Hora Latina, Suite 109 in the Emporium) will include coloring, face painting, and sugar skull decorating. The First Friday reception features music and dance performances by Pasión Flamenca from 6:00-6:30 PM and a Jazz Jam Session hosted by Vance Thompson and Friends from 7:00-9:00 PM in the Black Box Theatre.

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