Knoxville Arts & Entertainment Fall 2013 Guide: Music


Donna the Buffalo

New York's Donna the Buffalo has been turning out folkie jam-band rock for more than 20 years.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $20 •


The Bottle Rockets with Itchy and the Hater Tots

The Bottle Rockets' blue-collar spirit appeals to the rural values of the Midwest without getting sentimental or stupid about it. Like Son Volt, there's a musical nod to Crazy Horse, but with a cleaner, classic-rock style beneath it. Meanwhile, frontman and founder Brian Henneman takes an admirable stance for individualism in his lyrics, lambasting unnecessary alliances and society's need to label states "red" or "blue." In a way, the band's all-inclusive ethos actually makes it a more progressive political band that those who blatantly choose one side and generalize the issues.

The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson • 8 p.m. • $15 •


The Wood Brothers with Piers Faccini and Dom La Nena

This rollicking Medeski Martin & Wood spin-off captured its rambunctious live show on the 2012 album Live Vol. 1 Sky High.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $18 •


The Battlefield Band

The Scottish institution the Battlefield Band began more than 30 years ago, somewhere in the Glasgow suburb of Battlefield, when a group of schoolyard chums began playing music inspired by traditional Celtic melodies. Even though there have been many lineup changes over the years, the sound has never been compromised; it has only matured. It's part of a long tradition of historical preservation as well as artistic experimentation. These antiquated ditties, in spite of their historical significance, continue to be interpreted and reinterpreted, over and over again.

Laurel Theatre • 8 p.m. • $20 •

Bobby Rush

Chicago journeyman Booby Rush's career has covered R&B, blues, and funk.

Bijou Theatre • 7:30 p.m. • $30-$35 •

Mindy Smith

Smith, a Long Island native who lived in Knoxville briefly before landing in Nashville, straddles folk, country, and pop.

The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $20-$25 •


James McMurtry with Corb Lund

McMurtry, the son of Lonesome Dove novelist Larry McMurtry, sometimes takes his own novelistic approach to songwriting, in crusty red-dirt narratives like "60 Acres" and "Choctaw Bingo"; sometimes he's a leftist hell-raiser, as on the anti-war anthem "We Can't Make It Here." Sometimes he plays acoustic and solo, and sometimes he teams up with John Prine, Joe Ely, or his irregular Austin combo the Heartless Bastards. Whichever songs and whatever format, McMurtry's an uncompromising force as a performer.

The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson • 8 p.m. • $20 •



The legendary jazz-rock/adult contemporary band continues its career into the 21st century.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $80 •

Foreigner with 38 Special and the Marshall Tucker Band

A stadium-sized classic-rock extravaganza.

Smokies Stadium (Sevierville) • 7 p.m. • $41


Quintron and Miss Pussycat

Quintron and Miss Pussycat, a husband-and-wife duo from New Orleans, channel traditional N.O. R&B through smartass DIY electronic music. Quintron's primary instrument is a combo Hammond organ/Fender Rhodes rig tricked out to resemble the front of a hot rod, a set-up that makes a Quintron show as much about visual spectacle as it is about the music. It's also an arrangement that's prompted the keyboardist to invent a handful of novel automated accompaniments, from the Spit Machine, a hand organ manipulated by human projectile saliva, to the Drum Buddy, a light-activated drum machine. Go for the sideshow, stay for the music.

Pilot Light • 10 p.m. • $10 • 18 and up •

Blake Shelton with Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer

Shelton, the star of NBC's The Voice and one of country's biggest current superstars, brings his 10 Times Crazier tour to Knoxville.

Thompson-Boling Arena • 7:30 p.m. • $25-$54.75 •


City and Colour

Canadian singer/songwriter Dallas Green, who performs as City and Colour, tours in support of his fourth album, The Hurry and the Harm, with members of the Raconteurs and Constantines in his backing band.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $32.50 •

Unknown Hinson with the Cathouse Prophets

Unknown Hinson's story is one big psychobilly tall tale. The Charlotte, N.C., singer claims he's named after his father (it says "Unknown" where his father's name would be on his birth certificate, see?) and that he grew up in a traveling carnival before serving a 30-year stint in prison that ended in 1993. None of what he calls his chart-toppin' hits—"I Ain't Afraid of Your Husband," "Pregnant Again," "Rock and Roll Is Straight From Hell"—ever topped a chart, even during Hinson's unlikely tenure on Capitol Records from 2002-04. That hasn't stopped Hinson from becoming a live sensation, known as much for his wicked rockabilly licks and honky-tonk swing as for his outlandish pompadour and ghoulish makeup.

The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson • 7 p.m. • $20 •


Aaron Carter

The 25-year-old former teen pop star is back after a stint in rehab.

NV Nightclub (125 E. Jackson Ave.) • 6 p.m. • $12-$65 •


Kishi Bashi with Fancy Colors

Violinist K Ishibashi, who records as Kishi Bashi, has recorded with Regina Spektor, Sondra Lerche, and Of Montreal and was named NPR's Best New Artist of 2012.

Pilot Light • 9 p.m. • $10 • 18 and up •


The Dave Douglas Quintet

The restless trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Dave Douglas does not make music for lazy listeners. Since 1993, Douglas has released around three dozen recordings under his own name, and has appeared on many more than that as a sideman. About the only thing all of that music has in common is Douglas' apparent determination to never play the same thing twice. It's habit—and sometimes a comfort—to associate favorite players with a recognizable pattern of phrasing or a reliance on effective motifs. The characteristics that identify Douglas are his obvious delight in making sounds he has not made before, and a sublimation of the self—many minutes pass during his finest compositions without the sound of a trumpet. In place of ego there seem to be generosity and modesty and a genuine desire to hear what his always well-chosen colleagues will do with his ideas.

The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $25-$30 •


Scott Miller and the Commonwealth with the Paul Thorn Band

Knoxville may not be Scott Miller's hometown, but he's certainly a Knoxville music hero—so let's call this a homecoming concert. It's certain to be a roof-burner of a night.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $22 •


Chris Thile

Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile thinks of his career as one big audition, a quest to join the ranks of the upper echelon of musicians and composers—a group he calls the "musical fraternity." He speaks about this journey as if it's just beginning, as if his impressive accolades—most recently, he was honored as a MacArthur Fellow in 2012—and pure skill are no match for those of his heroes. But take even a passing glance at Thile's resume, and it's clear the 32-year-old is already a card-carrying member of that elite group; over his two-plus decades of writing and performing, he's collaborated with a who's who among bluegrass, jazz, rock, and classical music, from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer, and banjo all-star Béla Fleck.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $24.50 •


Hunter Hayes with Ashley Monroe

Ashley Monroe's 2013 solo album, Like a Rose, is deeply indebted to hardcore country traditions. While it seems likely to earn Monroe, a member of the trio Pistol Annies, respect from outside mainstream Nashville, much of it simply feels too traditional—and maybe even too daring—for country radio. Monroe nods convincingly at the pioneering '60s and '70s country of Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton while maintaining a thoroughly modern sensibility.

Knoxville Coliseum • 7:30 p.m. • $36-$93.50 •


Foothills Fall Festival

Maryville's annual downtown music bash features big-name performances by Rascal Flatts, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blues Traveler, the Black Lillies, Kix Brooks, and nearly a dozen other national and local bands.

Downtown Maryville • $30-$125 •


Ghost B.C. with Skeletonwitch

The Swedish retro-rock band Ghost B.C. is inspired by classic heavy metal from the late 1970s and early '80s. The six members—five Nameless Ghouls and frontman Papa Emeritus—dress up in robes and sing songs about the devil and witchcraft. RIYL: Black Sabbath (especially the cocaine-ravaged mid-'70s Black Sabbath—think "Laguna Sunrise," not "Children of the Grave"), Mercyful Fate, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, "Rainbow in the Dark," and Blue Öyster Cult.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $20 •

Rusko with Roni Size, Tonn Piper, and Dynamite MC

Rising British dubstep superstar Rusko and drum-and-bass titan Roni Size bring a big EDM party to the heart of the Old City.

Old City Courtyard • 8 p.m. • $30-$35 •


They Might Be Giants with Moon Hooch

TMBG's brand of Brooklyn goof-rock has been helping adults refuse to grow up for two decades now. Though band founders John Flansburgh and John Linnell have some heavy indie cred, they broker in the trade of light-hearted fun: Tunes like "Birdhouse in Your Soul," "Particle Man," "The Statue Got Me High" cut through the era of grunge angst by appealing to the kid in all of us.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $26.50 •


Patty Griffin

New England folk singer Patty Griffin has been hard at work crafting the career of a legend in the making since the 1980s. Her most recent accomplishment is the fine folk/country/Americana disc American Kid, released in May.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $34.50 •


Celtic Thunder

Public television's favorite contemporary Celtic music revue.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $35-$75 •


Blackberry Smoke with the Cathouse Prophets

Indie bands may get all the throwback press, but nobody—nobody—does retro rock with the same high fidelity as Atlanta quartet Blackberry Smoke. The band's 2012 album, The Whippoorwill, sounds like it's 30 years older than it is, all boozed-up bell-bottom swagger and no-frills Southern-fried country rock in the debauched spirit of Molly Hatchet, Black Oak Arkansas, and the Edgar Winter Group. It's the kind of music that sounds best from the tape deck of a Camaro on a hot summer night, but the Bijou Theatre will do just fine.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $18 •

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Even without founding member and music visionary Maurice White, Earth, Wind, and Fire remains an estimable funk, rock, and soul power—White's still running the show behind the scenes, after all.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $79 •

John McCutcheon

The charismatic folk singer and storyteller John McCutcheon's performances feature guitar, banjo, hammer dulcimer, piano, fiddle, and autoharp.

Laurel Theater • 8 p.m. • $19 •


Emile Pandolfi

Composer and arranger Emile Pandolfi combines classic inspiration with Broadway arrangements.

Clayton Center for the Arts (Maryville) • 8 p.m. • $10-$25 •


Barenaked Ladies

The goofiest Canadian band to ever become multi-platinum international music stars? Quite likely.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $32-$47 •


Galactic with the Stepkids

Funky, jazzy jams from the heart of funky jazz country: New Orleans.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $21.50 •

Cyndi Lauper

The '80s girl just wants to have fun with a new tour highlighting the 30th anniversary of her 1983 debut album, She's So Unusual.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $49-$67 •

Joe Bonnamassa

The master of the modern blues.

Knoxville Coliseum • 8 p.m. • $62.50-$94 •


The Black Cadillacs with the Delta Saints

The Knoxville/Nashville six-piece band the Black Cadillacs mix up influences ranging from classic rock (the Rolling Stones and Faces) to contemporary bluesy country rock like the White Stripes, Black Keys, and My Morning Jacket.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $12 •

Florida Georgia Line with Colt Ford and Tyler Farr

Florida Georgia Line's smash "Cruise," a crossover hit from the country charts, has everything a summer hit needs—an irresistible sing-along chorus, big guitars, computer-polished harmonies, and lyrics about riding around and hanging out in the summertime.

Knoxville Coliseum • 7:30 p.m. • $32.50-$200 •


Steve Vai

The string- and brain-bending Steve Vai has had one of the most unlikely careers possible for an avant-pop/jazz fusion/metal guitar god: Zappa veteran, PiL session player, and hired gun for David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, among many others.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $34 •


The Eagles

The Eagles are a problematic band, beloved and reviled nearly equally, and in enormous quantity on both sides. You won't find many people who don't have an extreme opinion about the group; it's the 42 million copies of Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) sold worldwide against the Dude's taxi-cab rant in The Big Lebowski. The Eagles' intermittent reunions and extravagantly priced tours over the last 15 years haven't done anything to resolve the band's legacy, and neither did the exclusive deal with Walmart for distribution of 2007's Long Road Out of Eden.

One fact that often gets lost in the standoff is that Don Henley and Glenn Frey were pretty accomplished songwriters. At least a handful of their songs—"Hotel California" and "Life in the Fast Lane," both buttressed by Joe Walsh's guitar, as well as "Desperado," "Take It Easy," and "Already Gone"—are justifiable American standards now. It's that laid-back, drug-and-booze-fueled sense of entitled excess that those same songs represent that kills the Eagles in critical circles. But with the money they've made, what do they care?

Thompson-Boling Arena • 8 p.m. • $40-$149 •


Straight No Chaser

Award-winning pop a cappella.

Knoxville Coliseum • 7:30 p.m. • $32-$45.50 •

Friday, Nov. 22

Erick Baker

Local singer/songwriter Erick Baker has been one of Knoxville's quietest success stories in recent years, thanks to word-of-mouth publicity and old-fashioned radio airplay. He doesn't play in town very often, but it's a good bet the house will be at least close to full this weekend.

Baker will perform songs from his 2012 album, Goodbye June, his second collection of heartfelt folk-soul.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $25 •

Saturday, Nov. 30

Amos Lee with Mutlu

Here's what Philadelphia singer/songwriter Amos Lee's fans love about his music: his soulful tenor, weaving through webs of melismatic melodies soaked in down-home charm, and his light, groovy arrangements, heavy on acoustics and Hammonds, fleshed out with a jazz-inflected rhythm section.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $40-$50 •


Delbert McClinton with Alyssa Bonagura

The world has changed, but Delbert McClinton hasn't. During his almost-50-year career, the Texas singer/songwriter has variously been pegged as a rock 'n' roll singer, a bluesman, an R&B performer, and a honky-tonk act. Each one's appropriate, in its own way, but it takes all of those genre tags to do justice to McClinton's hard-swinging, blue-eyed, barroom soul. It's Texas music, is what it is.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $34.50 •

Three Redneck Tenors Christmas Spec-Tac-Yule-Ar!

A holiday performance from Billy Joe, Billy Bob, and Billy Billee.

Clayton Center for the Arts (Maryville) • 8 p.m. • $20-$35


Carolina Chocolate Drops with Pokey LaFarge

Most bands who win the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album do not turn around and hire a beatboxer as their newest member. And most bands who top the Billboard Bluegrass chart for seven straight weeks are not likely to break out a 2001 R&B hit as a staple of their live show. But the Carolina Chocolate Drops, whose name is a nod to the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, an East Tennessee band of the 1920s that included local legends Howard Armstrong, Ted Bogan, and Carl Martin, are not most bands.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $25 •


Knoxville Jazz Orchestra: A Swingin' Christmas

"Impossibly cool" guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli joins KJO for its annual holiday performance of Christmas music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller.

Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $36.50 •


Greg Brown with R.B. Morris

Two powerhouse alt-country/folk/Americana singer/songwriters.

Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $25 •