eye (2006-24)

Badass Badu

Local Album Review

Badass Badu

While stars like Kate Hudson have been known to trashtalk our city recently, Badu was reportedly charmed by it. While she and her crew were having their after-party at the World Grotto, and after surprising everyone by jumping onstage and grooving with Afromotive , Badu dined on executive chef and former Dixie Dirt rocker Angela Santos ’ specially prepared vegan menu of seared seitan with chile sauce, roasted sweet potato, whole-wheat couscous and cherry tomato, corn and avocado relish. Badu enjoyed the Caribbean-inspired feast so much, in fact, that her manager approached Santos and requested that she prepare Badu’s meals for the remainder of her time here in Knoxville. “She was really nice and down to earth, not queen-y or rockstar-y,” says Santos, who delivered all the meals personally to Badu’s hotel room. “I noticed that she even carried her own luggage.”

Aside from her personal good fortune, Santos was particularly excited by the prospect that Badu’s notoriety might further boost Kuumba’s standing as a growing festival. “I thought Erykah’s presence at Kuumba was really cool because a lot of white folks here don’t know what the hell it is,” she says. “She’s at that caliber of fame where everyone knows her. And it sort of helps legitimize the festival in the eyes of people that maybe didn’t know about it before.”

Expect to see Badu back in Knoxville soon, this time headlining a show at the Grotto. And this time, she promised Grotto owner Suzy Dew , “she’s bringing her friends.”

Local Album Review

On The Flatville Murder Album , the song “Jail Cell” poses the question, “How long? /How long? /You loathsome son of a bitch, /before your debt catches up to you,” made all the more authentic with a healthy layering of slide guitar. “Abner’s Ride,” in contrast, has a flair for extreme lamentation, the kind of muffled, painful moans you’d expect to overhear while hiking the Appalachian Trail. This is real country, the unpolished, heartfelt moans that were so good that they’ve resisted change for over a hundred years. And we’re all the better for it. We’re better because of Medford’s Black Record Collection, too, because it keeps the mountain traditions alive, and keeps it local, reminding us of our roots. “May we all/ be forgiven/ in time /we pray,” they sing on “Sinner’s Plea.” “Oh God, of the waters/ Oh God, of the sky/ may our stains be washed away.” That’s a prayer that works, no matter what genre you’re singing in.