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Chris Barrett

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Recent Work

  • Ed Westcott’s Secret City Photos Published 11/14/2012 at 1:57 p.m. 2 Comments

    For most people, memories of the 70-year-old Secret City that produced the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 exist in crisp, perfectly composed black and white images. These photos capture the intense, patriotic purpose of skilled workers and the ...

  • Dave Douglas Turns His Trumpet to the Hymnal on 'Be Still' Published 10/03/2012 at 10:20 a.m.

    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 ...

  • Danny Barnes Rescues the Banjo From Its Unfortunate History Published 03/30/2011 at 9:52 a.m.

    Rather than a loaded artifact, Barnes approaches the banjo as a flexible system of sounds of which he is in control. There are cuts on Pizza Box where Barnes’ banjo has more in common with beatboxing or choral music than ...

  • DeVotchKa: '100 Lovers' Published 03/30/2011 at 8:51 a.m.

    Violinist Tom Hagerman and numerous guests work toward a sound that’s more romantic Russian chamber ensemble and less parade.

  • Subterranean Songbird Jolie Holland Sticks With What She Doesn’t Know Published 01/26/2011 at 4:27 p.m.

    Jolie Holland plays familiar instruments—banjo, accordion, guitars, violin, ukulele, pianos (both toy and the other kind)—in unfamiliar ways that are almost always pretty. She sings as if she has not heard others sing, almost as if she’s French-inhaling her words ...

  • Adventure Is Out There: Climber Conrad Anker Refuses to Sit Still Published 10/18/2010 at 12:02 p.m.

    There is inconvenience and there is adversity, the word choice pretty much depending upon the person doing the suffering. We all know people who can be undone by an interruption of the signal to their iPhone. And on the other ...

  • "The Wildest Dream": Because It's There Published 09/13/2010 at 5:30 p.m.

    The stated reason for the Anker/Houlding expedition, and The Wildest Dream, directed by Anthony Geffen, is to determine whether British mountaineer George Mallory—last seen alive in 1924, 800 feet from the peak of Mount Everest—could have free-soloed Everest’s dread Second ...

  • Billy Bragg Still Wants to Change the World, One Person at a Time Published 09/13/2010 at 12:07 p.m.

    Billy Bragg can present himself believably—and more or less truthfully—as a representative member of England’s working-class majority. Often without judgment, Bragg offers poignant and articulate musical reminders of the many thorns in Britain’s side.

  • Dead Meadow Settles into its Psychedelic Sound Onstage Published 06/16/2010 at 1:43 p.m.

    Neither wholly new nor derivative, Dead Meadow’s trippy, slow-moving fugues call to mind a lot of records that are older than the band’s members (bassist Steve Kille, guitarist Jason Simon and drummer Stephen McCarty). But the players are creative and ...

  • R.E.M. Producer and Former Let's Active Leader Mitch Easter Comments on Taste and Trends Published 04/28/2010 at 9:08 a.m.

    Mitch Easter produced the first recordings of R.E.M. And for years he led—and personified—a band called Let’s Active, fondly remembered for songs about romance or nothing in particular that were delightfully easy to dance to. Actually, they weren’t merely easy ...

  • Operatic Pop: Knoxville Opera Company Attracts Younger, Mainstream Audiences Published 04/21/2010 at 4:10 p.m.

    At age 31, Marshall Stair is in the bull’s-eye of Knoxville Opera’s new target-age demographic. His first “favorite opera” was Lucia de Lammermoor.

  • New Orleans Piano Legend Allen Toussaint Rolls On Published 04/07/2010 at 9:39 a.m.

    In this era of contrived reunions and reinventions among aging bands and performers, Allen Toussaint’s model is unique. His recent recordings sound impressively similar to his first hits as producer and pianist on the New Orleans Minit label, circa mid-1960s. ...

  • Laura Bell, Former Sheepherder and Author of 'Claiming Ground' Published 03/24/2010 at 10:10 a.m.

    Nashville native Laura Bell works with the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming. Bell’s just-published memoir, Claiming Ground, is her first book.

  • The Mensch Factor: How Knoxville’s Jewish Community Quietly Helps Published 12/02/2009 at 10:52 a.m. 1 Comment

    Most religions teach selflessness and service. But not all believers and religious practitioners routinely practice selflessness and service. For personal reasons that range from the philosophical to the spiritual to the mundane, Knoxville’s Jewish community seems to be an exception. ...

  • Local Dealers Sell Out of Buells in Wake of Shut-Down Published 12/02/2009 at 10:22 a.m.

    You have probably heard by now that on October 15, Harley-Davidson announced that its third-quarter income was down by 84 percent. First on the list of fixes was the pulling of the Buell line. Buells justifiably have their fans, without ...

  • Sixty Years and Six Cylinders Published 12/02/2009 at 9:56 a.m.

    Bill Powell, is a Floridian who recently moved to Tennessee for health reasons. He’s 72 years old, and rode his first motorcycle right about 60 years ago. Powell tallies off the long list of motorcycles he’s owned: a KZ1 900, ...

  • Eugene Chadbourne Sustains a One-of-a-Kind Musical Career Published 11/11/2009 at 9:43 a.m.

    Composer, collaborator, and multi-instrumentalist Eugene Chadbourne makes truly unique music: highly improvised, often technically daring, and surprisingly rich in humor and expressions of social conscience. He got good at it early, first recording in the mid-1970s, and continues to seemingly ...

  • The Lady Bikers Hold Their First Rally Published 11/05/2009 at 10:42 a.m.

    In the May 2009 issue we mentioned a fast-growing group of women riders who call themselves, appropriately, The Lady Bikers. They ride together frequently. And at regular meetings and via their website, they stress safety and share information with women ...

  • Snell Gets With the ECE Program Published 11/05/2009 at 10:41 a.m.

    You have probably encountered the news that the Snell Memorial Foundation intends to revise its helmet-safety standards, resulting in a new SNELL 2010 rating you can expect to see in stores soon. Based on reports elsewhere, the shift in standards ...

  • Removal of Treble Clef Statue Raises Public Art Questions Published 11/04/2009 at 9:10 a.m.

    As the treble clef sculpture at the intersection of Gay Street and Summit Hill has made the transition from unattractive to unsafe over the past few years, it served to motivate Knoxville to more fully consider public art. The bigger ...

  • As It Turns 60, WUOT Faces New Challenges Published 10/21/2009 at 2:39 p.m. 1 Comment

    Happy Birthday, WUOT! After 60 years on the air, Knoxville’s public radio station is still going strong. Granted, it doesn’t sound the way many of us remember it. And the folks who run it now are working hard to determine ...

  • Dave Alvin Wonders Just What He's Gotten Himself Into Published 10/20/2009 at 3:17 p.m. 1 Comment

    The Blasters broke around L.A. just about 30 years ago. Dave and Phil Alvin, with Bill Bateman and John Bazz, somehow combined the precision and prestige of California rockabilly, honky tonk, and blues with the insistent energy of punk. They ...

  • Steady Rains Take Toll on Local Farms Updated 11/04/2009 at 12:37 p.m. 1 Comment

    According to meteorologists, this year’s extra rain provides some protection against drought into early next year. But it’s hard to take heart in the long view when you’re watching your broccoli—whether you’re growing it for your own table or your ...

  • Annie Clark Discusses Her Band, St. Vincent, and the Art of Whole-Body Guitar Published 10/07/2009 at 12:57 p.m.

    Guitarist/composer/vocalist Annie Clark’s great-grandmother’s middle name was St. Vincent. Clark named her band St. Vincent as a way to bring her along on the adventure. Before releasing Marry Me, St. Vincent’s debut, in 2007, Clark performed and toured with the ...

  • Railroaded: Norfolk Southern vs. New Market's Farmers Published 09/30/2009 at 9:55 a.m. 1 Comment

    In May 2009, our New Market neighbors learned that their local government and Norfolk Southern had been secretly planning a 700-acre intermodal railroad facility and logistics park for two years or more. Facts revealed since suggest odd—if not foul—play by ...

  • Norfolk Southern's Surprise Development Published 09/30/2009 at 9:51 a.m.

    In May of this year, New Market residents learned that some of their neighbors had been offered options to sell their land to a recently formed company with ties to Norfolk Southern railroad. Subsequently, plans for an intermodal rail facility ...

  • ETHC’s Splendid Show of Smokies Art Ranges From the Classic to the Esoteric Published 09/16/2009 at 3:15 p.m.

    One interesting effect of these works, mostly from the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, is the way they temporarily dissolve the arbitrary, man-made boundaries that now form our favorite national park. You’ll see views of and ...

  • Tennessee Valley Bicycles' Fun Ride Published 09/09/2009 at 11:22 a.m. 1 Comment

    It’s the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend. What are you doing? Probably something related to whatever leisure plans you have for the three-day weekend. If you’re thinking about cycling, odds are you’re at the bike shop. So it’s not ...

  • Cherokee Survivors Motorcycle Rally Published 08/27/2009 at 9:50 a.m.

    The three-day Cherokee Survivors Motorcycle Rally and Concert kicks off on Sept. 11, in Cherokee, N.C. This annual event, going on 20 years old, began humbly in a local bingo hall. It was founded by Leverne and Susan Brown, and ...

  • After The Accident Published 08/27/2009 at 9:40 a.m.

    Every time you raise the kickstand, you are aware on some level that you are now at the mercy of forces greater than yourself and your motorcycle—the car and truck drivers who are texting, rocking out, coping with screaming kids, ...

  • Guitar genius Adrian Belew builds a young-blooded new Power Trio to re-interpret his repertoire Published 08/19/2009 at 3:57 p.m.

    Adrian Belew can make the guitar do any damn thing he wishes—from art-rock to shredding to electronic to classical to orchestral. He’s comfortable with that, and shoulders the guitar god mantle lightly.

  • Fiber Artist Anne Wilson Collaborates at KMA Published 08/12/2009 at 2:52 p.m.

    This week, Knoxville Museum of Art is hosting Chicago-based fiber artist of international note, Anne Wilson.

  • Scott Miller Kicks Off Jubilee's New Season Published 08/12/2009 at 2:49 p.m.

    Jubilee Community Arts kicks off its fall season with a special appearance by Scott Miller at The Laurel Theater, on September 11.

  • Runaway Circus Headlines Community Shares Fund-raiser Published 08/12/2009 at 11:48 a.m.

    This Friday (August 14) promises an opportunity to see some homegrown circus performers in a stellar location, and also do some homegrown good.

  • The Black Lillies Hire Manager, Plan National Tour Published 08/12/2009 at 11:31 a.m.

    As their recent release Whiskey Angel continues to impress, Cruz Contreras and The Black Lillies have engaged Chyna Brackeen as band manager, and she’s been busy building a national tour for later in the yea

  • A Draft in Chambers Published 08/11/2009 at 5:39 p.m.

    Knox County’s Old Courthouse is a problematic gem, and most of its problems stem from irreconcilable generations of Knoxvillians and their ways of thinking. The spectacular 19th century interior woodwork and marble have been sacrificed to security and a distracting ...

  • Local Bloggers To Be Featured On 60 Minutes Published 08/05/2009 at 5:19 p.m. 3 Comments

    Crews from CBS News’ 60 Minutes landed in East Tennessee Tuesday evening. They’ll be joined by host Lesley Stahl today, to assemble a feature on the Kingston Ash Spill. One of the primary interviewees will be co-founder of the community ...

  • Composer/improviser Jason Ajemian returns to Pilot Light with new band Published 07/29/2009 at 4:31 p.m.

    It does seem, sometimes, that there are those to whom the planet sings. What distracts or annoys or goes unnoticed by the many somehow enriches the few. In spite of the fact that his most recent recording is entitled The ...

  • Sequoyah Hills Speed Trap Published 07/29/2009 at 3:20 p.m. 1 Comment

    Homeowners in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood have been trying for years to persuade the city to takes steps to slow down traffic on Kingston Pike, between Neyland Drive and Western Plaza. Recent efforts, combined with monitoring by the Knoxville Police ...

  • We Are All We Have Published 07/29/2009 at 2:48 p.m.

    The first few minutes for a visitor at a Trappist monastery are pretty special. The member monks and priests subscribe fully to the line of teaching that when Christ returns, He will present Himself as a stranger in need. You ...

  • Meet Joe Carson, Tennessee’s Biggest Whistleblower Published 07/22/2009 at 4:05 p.m.

    For nearly two decades, professional engineer Joe Carson has been blowing the whistle on substandard government work in Oak Ridge and elsewhere. Perhaps needless to say, it has impeded his career progress, complicated his personal life, and made him some ...

  • Dar Williams Celebrates Personal Progress Published 07/22/2009 at 3:46 p.m.

    Refreshingly, Williams speaks on the phone in the same voice she sings with—perfect diction in a broad musical range. On record and in concert there are shades of birdsong in her metrics. In conversation, she’s just really easy on the ...

  • Off the Beaten Path Published 07/17/2009 at 1:18 p.m.

    “You can always tell when this stuff is designed by people who don’t ride,” says Francois Saint Laurent. He’s showing a customer protective jacket-and-pants sets, and explaining why the clothing section at Dual Sport Touring, the Blount County shop he ...

  • Review: Mark Olson and Gary Louris Published 07/16/2009 at 10:42 a.m.

    This reunion music has a casual earnestness and high level of emotion that, from my listening experience, rarely survives the studio process. The two founding/former Jayhawks sing to and for each other instead of at or over each other, as ...

  • Carpe Librum Booksellers Emphasizes Face-to-Face Published 07/16/2009 at 9:06 a.m.

    The cover story in the current issue of Publisher’s Weekly is about the low morale and general despair and dissatisfaction among those in the book trade. Carpe Librum Booksellers, tucked just off Kingston Pike in Bearden, seems not to subscribe.

  • Ambrose Field and John Potter Published 07/08/2009 at 12:45 p.m.

    Once you become sensitive to early choral music, there follows the sensation that there may be—perhaps—just too damn much beautiful music. The composers were showing off for God. The modern performers are showing off for each other and a very ...

  • Maryville Graduate Wins Fulbright Published 07/08/2009 at 11:53 a.m.

    >“People often say that water is the next oil,” says Matt Murrill.

  • City Officials Consider Ideas for Slowing Down Kingston Pike Published 07/02/2009 at 12:48 p.m. 1 Comment

    Sequoyah Hills homeowners living along Kingston Pike have been working to persuade the city to reduce the speed of traffic on this major thoroughfare. Traffic enforcement officers from Knoxville Police Department, the city’s engineers, and the homeowners agree that there ...

  • A Raucous Ride Published 06/29/2009 at 10:10 a.m.

    Dan Paransky’s Blount County shop is rich in large boat motors, motorcycles, and European cars. Giving a tour, he is preceded by a lit cigar that he is not actively smoking, much as the priest follows his censer.

  • Harley's Fat Bob: Minimalist Monster Published 06/29/2009 at 9:19 a.m.

    Full disclosure: the 2009 Harley-Davidson Fat Bob is the first Harley I’ve ridden. And a woman (Angie Cole, who rides a Fat Bob and saw me struggling through the window at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Maryville) had to show me ...