WAYNESTOCK 2013: NIGHT ONE
by Christina Horn
If you attended Waynestock 1 you might remember the bittersweet taste in the air. Tragedy came face to face with an auspicious need to band together, quite literally. How many cities can you think of that rallied for a journalist as hard as Knoxville did in 2011? This Scruffy little river town pulled together in the name of love and support for a man who has done nothing but nurture our community and for whom we knew there was no real solace.
If you attended Waynestock 2 you might remember the celebratory nature of the event dedicated to a man whose life undeniably touched as many people as the festival ‘s namesake. Phil Pollard’s untimely passing knocked this whole town off its feet. You might also remember someone saying, “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a festival like this every year and it NOT be because someone died?” I think we have learned to remember those who have passed with joy, however hard the hole their passing left behind is difficult to fill.
I do not remember who made that statement but it lingered long after the weekend was over. So when Waynestock 3 was announced, with all proceeds going to benefit the Community School of the Arts, I had to smile. Sure, I’m happy that nobody had to die for us to get together again. More importantly I’m relieved we have finally learned that we are here for each other through the good times and the bad.
THE THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM.
Do you need a play-by-play? Do you want me to tell you how brave I thought Black Atticus was to perform completely acapella to an audience that was clearly parked and waiting to see Con Hunley? Or do you want me to talk about Kevin Abernathy backed up by Greg Horne, Cecilia Miller and Sean McCullough? Or can you imagine my surprise to see Mic Harrison and his band take a stunning background role to the music of Con Hunley? Who is Con Hunley? Well, I’ve just been schooled. I had no idea this man was born in Knoxville and and spent some of his formative years performing our beloved-but-now-closed Corner Lounge. Sorry Con! You’re piano playing rivaled the best here in Knoxville and if I remember Ben Maney was in the audience. Geez. And wow, Mic, how did you guys pull that off really? I mean, that was really real rock and roll. A friend of mine, who had never seen or heard of Mic Harrison, thought Mic was Con’s regular backing band.
Did you miss the Rockwells? Ooh-sorry to hear that! They do not play much anymore. Truth is, you probably will not see them again unless you call Jonathan up and convince them to play a show. Fred and Jonathan Kelly put down their touring van to stay closer to home and make records. Have you heard of Famous London Recording Studios? That’s them. They didn’t make any announcements or try the studio from the stage. For one night they wanted you to feel their inner rock-star. By the end of their set Jonathan was so sweaty and hoarse he couldn’t hold a conversation. Well done boys.
The Mutations are one of those up-and-coming bands that I hope can carry the torch. Each time I see them they are a little bit more evolved and I appreciate effort like that! Don’t stop growing boys...continue to find that which will set you apart from the rest of the boy bands. I can see it in you.
Bill Foster (photographer for the event) walked up to me and said, "Yak Strangler sounds like the name of one of your songs." Hmm. I don't understand completely, but what I do know is Yak Strangler is pure energy. Prog guitar and drums with a tidge of James Brown. You can listen to their music on Bandcamp for free. You might be interested to see Wayne Bledsoe's art glittering at the top of their page. Yak Strangler, you are a wonderland.
My only complaint was the boy-centricity of the event. I suppose that’s to be expected in a town where the majority of performers are male...but hey...Cecilia Miller, Steph Gunnoe, and Susan Lee did a great job representing. HOTTIES.
YOU HAVE THREE WISHES.
1. That the word about WS spreads a little bit farther than our tight-knit music community into the greater Knoxville area and beyond. (In the words of Greg Horne: “You can’t sling a dead cat without hitting a local musician here.”)
2. That the younger bands who are being asked to perform understand the significance of such a gesture and move toward the future with the same sense of community in their hearts.
3. That Waynestock becomes such a fixture in our annual calendars that other cities start to wake up and take note.
WAYNESTOCK 2013 NIGHT TWO
by Johnny Sughrue
Night two of 2013’s Waynestock was, dare I say, excellent.
I headed into the Holler on a semi-cold Saturday evening for the second dose of Knoxville’s musical offerings hoping to give to the cause, get a little misty eyed, and mostly to get rocked. And, I’m glad to say, all parts were achieved.
It was the festivals namesake’s birthday, don’t you know, so there was extra reason to celebrate even if everything started a bit low-key in the aftermath of the previous night. I grabbed some super Sweet P’s Bar B Q and one (maybe two) fabulous Magpie’s cupcakes (Wayne’s B Day favors- someone had to eat ‘em) and I got ready for what I knew would be an eclectic mix of Knoxville’s music.
Kukuly Uriarte and Gipsy Fuego classed things up right away with their exotic jazz tunes spiced with virtuoso violin work, Uriarte’s crafty guitar was equaled only by her sultry voice. The group treated a settling early crowd to a batch of tunes that reminded one of the boisterous and faraway days of Django (Reinhart that is).
And speaking of faraway days, the next up was Dor L’ Dor, who added a modern twist to traditional Klezmer music. Young and older players blended nicely on stage for some cool clarinet and trombone interplay in songs ranging from traditional to an interesting take on “Love Me Tender”.
Shifting gears into the indie rock or young bands to watch category was Johnny Astro and the Big Bang. Their moody blend of loud angular guitars, time changes, radio ready hooks, and the lead man’s voice made one think of Knoxville’s answer to the Cold War Kids.
Next, who is Guy Marshall? Well, it’s some new Americana rag-tag band of seasoned players from groups like The Bearded and The Young, led by husband and wife singers. They took the Waynestock stage at 10, clad in beards, flannel and a dress, slinging acoustic/electric instruments harmonizing beautifully over well crafted tunes that could tear your heart out. For a newer group, the sound was powerful, like old pros. However, they never did mention who Guy Marshall is.
The steadily building crowd had reached its peak of old and young, musicians and musicians’ friends, dancers and drinkers by the time Sam Quinn hit the stage at 11. The former Everybodyfields singer and former south-Knoxvillian easily charmed everybody with his own heart on the sleeve songwriting. This inspired set was more amped up and psyched out in power trio form as Quinn jammed on bass with former band mates Tom Pryor on guitar and Jamie Cook on drums. These two seemed happy to spread their wings in a different direction from their now regular gig with the Black Lilies.
Of course it wouldn’t be Waynestock without a word from Mr. Bledsoe himself. He had the crowd choked up as he talked of losing his son Andrew three years ago, but we were also reminded that this is still a happy celebration, thus the rocking should always carry on.
And the rocking did just that as Mr. stage manager and total event manager himself, Tim Lee stepped up from the sidelines into the lights to unleash his guitar fury upon the gathering. Together with his lovely wife Susan on bass and vocals, Chris Bratta on drums, and Greg Horne as extra guitar slinger and vocals, the Tim Lee 3 plus one put the Grande into the finale. Of course, being the finale, lots of local favorites joined them on stage for various tunes including (things could get a little fuzzy at this point, but I’ll try to remember) R.B. Morris, Kevin Abernathy, Black Atticus, Mike McGill, Sam Quinn and Jodie Manross… some Morris tunes, sweet hip-hop vocals, a bit of Neil Young and some loud Johnny Paycheck… geez could have been three to four guitars on stage all at once… the blissful chaos was just as well received as organized.
Waynestock 2013 proved yet again to be a success. It had achieved everything it set out to. There was a handsome chunk of change that will be donated to the Community School of the Arts. And it was also a raucous good time, and a chance to check out Knoxville’s diverse musical offerings. Waynestock! Party time! Excellent!