Eye on the Scene: Laith Keilany, Beeswax, and Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle

Jeff Barbra, who along with his wife, Sarah Pirkle, is one of Knoxville's hardest working musicians.

Jeff Barbra, who along with his wife, Sarah Pirkle, is one of Knoxville's hardest working musicians.

Bouncing Back

Former Knoxvillian Laith Keilany, a sometime musical partner of Jodie Manross and an extraordinary guitarist and oud player in his own right, is bouncing back from a recent medical emergency related to his 2006 lymphoma diagnosis. (He was hospitalized in Nashville in April for a respiratory virus.) He’s back home in Chattanooga and donating all proceeds from a recent instrumental guitar CD to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Every cent will go to them, I receive nothin’ from this other than the hope of contributing financially to a group that was extremely important in my and many others’ fight against cancer,” Keilany reports on his MySpace page. “Plus I hope some folks out there might dig the music.”

The disc is available at Pick N Grin on Kingston Pike and through mail order for $8. Checks should be made out to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and mailed to P.O. Box 21205, Chattanooga, Tenn., 37424. (Matthew Everett)

One Last Time

Late-’90s indie rockers Beeswax will reunite for one night only at the Longbranch Saloon on Friday, May 16. Former guitarist and vocalist Todd Stapleton is moving away from Knoxville, so this will be the group’s last chance for underground rock glory.

The band—Stapleton, bassist Scott Heiskell, drummer Scott Henshaw, and guitarist/vocalist Gray Comer, now of the Westside Daredevils—last played together in 1999. (M.E.)

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

Saturday was a long day for Americana duo Jeff Barbra and Sarah Pirkle, a couple of Knoxville’s hardest-working musicians. Bright and early, husband and wife split for their respective gigs in Gatlinburg and at Vestival; that evening, they opened for Nanci Griffith at the Bijou Theatre. With minutes to spare, they ducked into Ironwood Studios to costume up as French lunatic asylum inmates for the Actors Co-op’s eye-popping production of Marat/Sade.

Pirkle plays Rossignol, a trollop interned in the Napoleonic-era loony bin along with Barbra’s Kokol, Greg Congleton’s libidinous Marquis de Sade, and a large cast of fellow madmen and political prisoners.

“I’m mostly playing music,” she says. “A couple of the tunes felt like they needed a punk-rock treatment, so I’m doing the best I can at that.... I based my character on a woman that I know who likes pharmaceuticals and also used to be a prostitute. She’s loud and very unpredictable, and when she gets pissed, which is about every 15 minutes, she’s really ugly.”

Barbra is fond of the alcoholic musician he portrays. Music and theater may both be about performing, but, he swears, “acting is a hell of a lot harder work than any music I’ve made.” (Jack Rentfro)

© 2008 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 1

unclejeff writes:

Thanks for the plug on the play.
- Jeff Barbra

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