You want live music? You've got it in just about every way you could ask for in Knoxville—bars, small clubs, big clubs, sidewalks, arenas, theaters, concert halls, outdoors, at lunchtime and in the afternoon until deep into the night, from local, regional, and national artists. Here are the biggest shows coming up this fall.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 22
Nashville singer/songwriter Dave Barnes has come to the logical conclusion that no matter how fine and polished a song's lyrics are, folks are more likely to remember them if you give them a little music to wiggle to while they're listening. His music has happy-go-lucky/hapless romantic positivity.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $19.50
Yamin, a former third-place finisher on American Idol, had a minor hit with "Wait for You" in 2007.
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $22/$25 at the door
FRIDAY, SEPT. 23
The Meat Puppets
The psychedelic/country/punk band from Arizona is still at it, more than 20 years after influencing Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria • 10 p.m.
M. Ward with Dawes
Portland, Ore., singer/songwriter M. Ward has had success as a member of She & Him (with Zooey Deschanel) and Monsters of Folk (with Conor Oberst, Jim James, and Mike Mogis), in addition to ever-increasing solo popularity.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $26
SATURDAY, SEPT. 24, AND SUNDAY, SEPT. 25
Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
It's been almost seven years since the honey-voiced Krauss released her last album with Union Station. But she's spent the time wisely—her 2007 collaboration with Robert Plant, the Grammy-winning Raising Sand, was a surprise success, and the pair are currently working on a follow-up.
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $49.50-$64.50
MONDAY, SEPT. 26-WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 28
The hard-touring Georgia jam-band survivors sit in for their annual three-day residency at the Tennessee Theatre.
Tennessee Theatre • 7:30 p.m. • $39.50
TUESDAY, SEPT. 27
Knoxville Jazz Orchestra with Wycliffe Gordon: "Hello Pops! A Tribute to Louis Armstrong"
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $15-$27.50
FRIDAY, SEPT. 30
The Charlie Daniels Band
The former long-haired country boy has become a crusty right-wing raconteur and crusader.
Clayton Center for the Arts (Maryville) • 8 p.m. • $25-$35
South Carolina singer/songwriter (and former Hootie and the Blowfish tour mate) Edwin McCain survived his biggest success in the late 1990s and is still on the road making music.
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $22-$25
Morris, a mainstay on the local music, art, poetry, and theater scenes for more than 30 years, celebrates the release of his new album, Rich Mountain Bound, a stripped-down collection of some his own favorite songs from his extensive catalog.
Laurel Theater • 8 p.m. • $6-$12
SATURDAY, OCT. 1
An all-day celebration of the widespread musical legacy of Howard Armstrong, the LaFollette-raised string musician who incorporated blues, country music, jazz, pop, and gospel during his long and varied career.
Cove Lake State Park (Caryville) • 10 a.m.-7:45 p.m. • $2-$5
SUNDAY, OCT. 2
The Australian acoustic guitar virtuoso returns to the Tennessee Theatre.
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $32
MONDAY, OCT. 3
Leon Redbone with Erin Donovan
To this day, no one knows who the hell Leon Redbone is. Some Internet sources claim to have outed him as a Cypriot immigrant, perhaps of Armenian ancestry, who grew up in Canada. It seems about as plausible as the notion that he might really be named Leon Redbone. Most of the songs Redbone favors were hits only for generations now deceased. He was an alternative for music fans who couldn't stomach anything else on the radio in 1976.
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $30
TUESDAY, OCT. 4
Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Will Oldham, in his various guises—primarily the Palace bands and Bonnie "Prince" Billy—has had an air of not quite being all he seems, of hiding something, of pulling an elaborate joke. How else do you explain him singing folk ballads about incest and performing in R. Kelly videos? He's a trickster, just like Robert Zimmerman was decades ago, inventing a whole new persona and myth for himself.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $18
SATURDAY, OCT. 6
Sugarland with Sara Bareilles
The best-selling country duo is still on the road in support of its platinum 2010 album, The Incredible Machine.
Thompson-Boling Arena • 7:30 p.m. • $23-$55.50
FRIDAY, OCT. 7
Somewhere in between punk, bluegrass, rock, and folk, the Avett Brothers have carved out a spot for their own eclectic brand of music. The energetic ensemble's use of twangy banjos, harmonicas, and guitars produces something reminiscent of folk smashed together with modern rock.
Smokies Stadium (Sevierville) • 7 p.m. • $39.50
The country star headlines the first night of the Foothills Fall Festival in Maryville.
Foothills Fall Festival in downtown Maryville • 9 p.m. • $50
Darrell Scott is, on the one hand, a consummate Nashville insider. He's played on albums by Randy Travis, Deana Carter, Rascal Flatts, and Martina McBride, and written hits for Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, and Tim McGraw. On the other hand, he's also a classic example of the Nashville outsider, a little-known figure acclaimed by his peers and a small cult following. He ignores the pressure of major labels and chart expectations and makes albums the way he wants to. (That his session work and songwriting royalties afford him that freedom is one of the paradoxes of Nashville.)
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $20/$22 at the door
SATURDAY, OCT. 8
The Civil Wars with Milo Greene
The last time Joy Williams and John Paul White played in Knoxville, they strained capacity at the tiny Pilot Light with a sold-out show. Now, just seven months later, the Nashville alt/folk/country duo has already sold out the Bijou Theatre on the strength of its debut album, Barton Hollow.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $21.50
Reba McEntire with the Band Perry and Steel Magnolia
Country music's biggest survivor headlines the Foothills Fall Festival in Maryville.
Foothills Fall Festival in downtown Maryville • 5:30 p.m. • SOLD OUT
SUNDAY, OCT. 9
The jazzy classic rockers, minus Peter Cetera, celebrate more than four decades together.
Foothills Fall Festival in downtown Maryville • 5:30 p.m. • SOLD OUT
TUESDAY, OCT. 11
3 Doors Down with Theory of a Deadman and Pop Evil
Popular Mississippi rockers 3 Doors Down are still at it.
Knoxville Coliseum • 7 p.m. • $40.50-$50.50
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 12
The New York band stretches the limits of its ragtag folk-rock on the ambitious and eclectic new album Celebration, Florida.
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $15
FRIDAY, OCT. 14
B.B. King's greatest gift to audiences the world over has always come via the preternatural eloquence of his matchless fretwork: the stinging, singing, jubilant voice of Lucille, his fabled black semi-hollow-body signature model Gibson electric guitar. An elegant, virtuosic player who stands apart from even the finest electric blues stylists of his generation—an era that includes the music's most distinguished players—King solos as fluidly and easily as most of us speak. And his almost eerily lyrical tone—the byproduct of Gibson's famed craftsmanship, King's technical input on the signature model, and his singular tactile gifts as a player—has made his voice perhaps the most recognizable, across every style, that the world of the electric guitar has to offer.
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $67-$84.50
Miller, a fixture in Knoxville music for more than 20 years, recently moved back to his hometown in rural Virginia. But the wry singer/songwriter won't be able to stay away too long—he's reuniting with his '90s band the V-Roys for a New Year's Eve show in addition to this solo set at the Laurel Theater.
Laurel Theatre • 8 p.m. • $16-$18
FRIDAY, OCT. 21
Justin Townes Earle with Joshua Black Wilkins
His father's influence is apparent, but Justin Townes Earle gets down with some serious old-time country, from bluesy Jimmie Rodgers-style rave-ups to hardcore honky-tonk.
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $16/$18 at the door
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 26
The Music of Bill Monroe featuring Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, and the Travelin' McCourys
Some of the finest living practitioners of bluegrass come together to celebrate the form's original pioneer.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $33.50
THURSDAY, OCT. 27
The Jayhawks with Tift Merritt
The influential Minneapolis country-rock band's classic lineup, including Mark Olson and Gary Louris, is back for the first time since the mid-'90s, with a new album, Mockingbird Time, set for release later this month.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $31.50
FRIDAY, OCT. 28
Crooked Fingers with Strand of Oaks
Eric Bachmann, fresh off his acclaimed reunion tour with '90s North Carolina indie stars Archers of Loaf, regroups with his long-running other project, a moody folk/country/rock band based in Denver.
Pilot Light • 10 p.m. 8 $10 • 18 and up
FRIDAY, OCT. 28-SUNDAY, OCT. 30
AC Entertainment's second annual festival celebrating the legacy of synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog, featuring music by Moby, TV on the Radio, Tangerine Dream, Suicide, the Flaming Lips, and dozens more, plus a special art installation and discussion by Brian Eno.
Various venues in downtown Asheville, N.C. • $75-$199.50
THURSDAY, NOV. 3
Rev. Horton Heat with the Supersuckers and Dan Sartain
Rip-roarin', turbo-charged rockabilly.
The Valarium • 8 p.m. • $20/$22 at the door
Loretta Lynn might have as strong a claim as anybody on the title the Queen of Country Music.
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $47-$127
FRIDAY, NOV. 10
The Boxer Rebellion with Blue Canon
Moody English alt-rock, led by Maryville native Nathan Nicholson.
The Square Room • 8 p.m. • $12/$15 at the door
The Pixies with Surfer Blood
The alt-rock legends seemingly never-ending reunion tour continues. This time around, they're playing the 1989 album Doolittle in its entirety.
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $51.50-$67.50
FRIDAY, NOV. 11
Lady Antebellum has topped the country charts on the strength of big pop hooks and a shameless plundering of rock moves. But just as Taylor Swift is a pop-rock whiz kid by any other name, Lady Antebellum is best understood in the context of another Billboard category they currently dominate: Adult Contemporary.
Knoxville Coliseum • 7:30 p.m. • $49.50
SATURDAY, NOV. 12
Mellencamp's heartland rock 'n' roll, as exemplified by the indelible hits "Pink Houses," "Jack and Diane," and "Scarecrow," defined a certain part of the 1980s. He's still at it, teaming up with T-Bone Burnett, the unofficial dean of American roots music, who produced Mellencamp's last two albums.
Knoxville Civic Auditorium • 7 p.m. • $43.50-$261.50
TUESDAY, NOV. 15
John Hiatt and the Combo
Midwest rocker John Hiatt has circled around mainstream success for 40 years, but in that time the singer/songwriter/guitarist has more than earned the admiration of industry insiders.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $39.50
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 16
Dr. Dog's fifth (and most recent) full-length, 2010's Shame, Shame, shimmers with a Beatles-esque pop zeal but also incorporates classically funky, workmanlike grooves that feel totally out of place in current alt-rock's weirder-is-better landscape.
Bijou Theatre • 8 p.m. • $20
FRIDAY, NOV. 20
Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $47-$77
SUNDAY, NOV. 27
Thirtysomething blues master Joe Bonamassa released his 11th solo album, Dust Bowl, earlier this year.
Knoxville Civic Auditorium • 8 p.m. • $52.50-$83.50
TUESDAY, DEC. 20
Knoxville Jazz Orchestra with Carmen Bradford: "A Swingin' Christmas"
Tennessee Theatre • 8 p.m. • $15-$32.50
SATURDAY, DEC. 31
The V-Roys with Mic Harrison and the High Score
The legendary local country-rock combo comes back for one last performance, their first together since 1999. If it's anything like the band's old New Year's Eve shows, bring your dancing shoes and take a nap that afternoon—you're going to be out late.
Bijou Theatre • 9 p.m. • $35