Benny Smith’s been involved in local music as a fan, promoter, and all-around booster for more than 20 years. He’s currently overseeing a resurgence of the University of Tennessee’s student-run radio station, WUTK, as the station’s general manager and program director. He’s putting on a benefit concert for the station and this year’s EarthFest (held at Pellissippi State Technical Community College on Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.) featuring madcap country music scion Bobby Bare Jr. and the Young Criminals Starvation League, Mic Harrison and the High Score, and Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, who will be performing along with 20-year-old YouTube ukulele sensation Julia Nunes.
Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminals Starvation League, The Longest Meow (Bloodshot, 2006)
Bobby is very pumped about coming back to Knoxville to perform for the WUTK benefit, but not as excited as I am to see him and his band play live. They are amazing on stage, so come on out and see what I mean.
Dexateens, Singlewide (Skybucket Records, 2009)
Quite possibly the only thing worth a damn to ever come out of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, For Crying Out Loud (F.A.Y. Recordings, 2009)
A bit biased here, but this might be Scott’s best since the V-Roys days. If the tune he sings with Patty Griffin does not give you chicken skin, then you need to check your pulse. Looking forward to seeing the boys live at The Shed on April 25.
Various Artists, Rawkus Presents Soundbombing II (Rawkus Records, 1999)
Rawkus is the label that first gave the world the Beat Junkies, Mos Def, Common, Dilated Peoples, and many other of my favorite hip-hop acts. I always break this 1999 release out when the weather turns warm.
Prince, LOTUSFLOW3R and MPLSoUND (NPG, 2009)
If you know me, you know how long I have been a very big Prince fan. He just keeps getting it right.
Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, et al.
I have been listening to a lot of R&B/soul from the ’60s over the last year, and that has to be some of the greatest music ever made. It sure has helped me get through a tough stretch.
The Wiggles, Getting Strong (Warner Bros., 2007)
Being a single parent has turned me on to a lot of new music!