, of the Johnson City trio The
Steed's Nope to Smoke Show
Knoxville's jet-setting man of rock 'n' roll letters, the ubiquitous Todd Steed has done the unthinkable, again. Sure, the unthinkable is expected from the esteemed Mr. Steed. But this time, old Todd's topped himself by scheduling a non-smoking show at The Corner Lounge on Friday, May 6.
"People always tell me they quit going to shows because of smoke," says Steed. "So it's time to see if they're lying or not, I guess. There will be a nice patio available for the smokers. I like smokers. I like non-smokers. Can't we all just get along? Knoxville has plenty of other stuff for your lungs to battle."
The ever-philanthropic Steed will donate the proceeds from the show to the American Lung Association . "If we don't make much money, I'll open my own wallet," says Steed. Whatta guy!
And that ain't all that's happening in Apeville. Steed just completed an album with the Suns of Phere called Heartbreak & Duct Tape . Pre-release listenings confirm that Duct Tape's a winner, natch.
Abetted by the Suns of Phere, Steed will deliver several sets from a side stage at . "This is my chance to finally do that 10-minute guitar solo in the wrong key and have people not walk out—and maybe even try to dance to it," says Steed of the jam-friendly Bonnaroo milieu. "And I won't be wearing sandals, no matter how hot it gets." ' Dave & The Premo Dopes ' bassist Dave Nichols , who Steed describes as "perfect for these types of shows" will appear as a member of the band for the Bonnaroo sets.
Steed will be joined at the Corner Lounge show by rock/country/blues legend Ronny Elliott . A Tampa native, Elliott began his career in 1964 and has since served in several major label acts including The Outlaws , sharing stages with the likes of Van Morrison , Patti Smith , Sly & The Family Stone and umpteen other heavyweights.
Elliott is touring in support of his latest release, the critically lauded Valentine Roadkill , released on Knoxville's own Lynn Point Records . As its title suggests, is a rather dark affair. Elliott's musical stories of broken lives and broken hearts rank up there with the best work of Steve Earle or Johnny Paycheck. Many have described it as Americana, Elliott himself prefers to call it blues, but this reviewer perceives the music as pure rock 'n' roll, in all its ragged glory.
So be a good Joe and help the smoke-free concept become a reality in Knoxville. Hell, it's for a good cause, it's bound to be a great show, and we don't want poor old Todd to have to dip into the family sugarbowl, now do we?
Sam Quinn , of the Johnson City trio The Everybodyfields, brought home first prize from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at last weekend's MerleFest. Quinn's song "T.V.A." from the band's debut disc Half-way There: Electricity and the South won best song in the bluegrass category, although the band's sound is arguably more folk than bluegrass. But who's quibbling?! Contest judges Steve Fishell , Caroline Herring , Hayes Carll , and Darrell Scott heard the best of 1154 entries that were divided into four categories. Quinn joins the ranks of previous MerleFest songwriting contest first-place winners Gillian Welch and Tift Merritt .
Nashville singer-songwriter Stephen Simmons , who plays in Knoxville on occasion, placed second in the general category with "Lay on the Tracks." He's in good company, too: Fellow Nashvillian Thad Cockrell 's "Pretending" came in second in 2001.
Hott to Trot
North Knoxville finally has its own answer to South Knoxville's growing . Fest , a brand spankin' new rock festival organized by Don Coffey , the former drummer who's behind Independent Recorders studio in Fourth and Gill, is shaping up to be quite hot indeed. With performers like Doug Guillard of Guided By Voices , plus local luminaries The Westside Daredevils, The Rockwells, Tim Lee, Mic Harrison , and too many others to list here, it's gonna be a grand old time. The shindig will be at the Corner Lounge on June 2-4. Mark your calendar and get the schedule of events at www.hottfest.com .
—John Sewell, Paige M. Travis, Molly Kincaid