The concert/live radio broadcast series Tennessee Shines, held monthly at the Bijou Theatre since 2008, has hit a sponsorship snag that will put the series on a late summer vacation after July’s show.
The series’ main sponsor, Red Kap, a Nashville-based manufacturer of work clothing, has recently changed management, according to Patrick Hunt, chairman of the Knoxville Americana Music Foundation, the nonprofit organization that funds Tennessee Shines.
“Our relationship with them is very strong,” Hunt says. “They have a new focus and new marketing objectives that are a little different than they were when we established that relationship, and we’re responding to those.”
The next Tennessee Shines show is scheduled for Wednesday, July 28. After that, Hunt says, the series will take a break for a couple of months while Red Kap’s sponsorship is re-evaluated.
“I’m very confident we’ll be back in the fall,” Hunt says.
The lineup for the July show hasn’t been announced.
Tennessee Shines is hosted by Nashville singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale and features three or four artists—local, regional, and national—each month. The focus is on Americana and roots music—traditional country, alt-country, folk, blues, bluegrass, and various hybrids of all five. It’s an outgrowth of WDVX’s 10th anniversary show at the Bijou in 2007 and hearkens to Knoxville’s deep radio history with live-broadcast shows like the Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round. Each concert is broadcast live on WDVX and on the radio station’s website.
In a 2009 Metro Pulse story on the series, Laurens Tullock, one of the principal players behind Tennessee Shines and a board member of the Knoxville Americana Music Foundation, said the long-range plan for the series was to establish Knoxville as an industry city like Nashville or Austin, Texas. “If we’re aggressive and strategic about it, one of these days, we can stake out the claim that Knoxville is the home of Americana music,” Tullock said.