This is a little more than something for trivia night: The fourth-largest city in America is named for a juvenile delinquent who did time in the Maryville jail for public drunkenness. Growing up under challenging circumstances, in a single-parent household, the troubled teenager ran away from home and lived amongst the Cherokee for a couple of years. He returned to Maryville a man like no other. Children and adults alike came to hear the stories and life lessons of the Indian Professor. And then, during the War of 1812, he joined the Army. As a general, he defeated the army that had just conquered the Alamo, and served as president of a short-lived nation. Along the way he became the only person in U.S. history to serve as governor or two different states, as well as a U.S. senator whose speeches in Congress, unlike most of those of his contemporaries, still make sense today.
But to date, there's no statue of Sam Houston in the place that helped form his extraordinary character. That may change starting this Saturday, when the Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson, in association with the Hartsoe Law Firm of Maryville, will be holding a benefit concert to help raise money for a fitting tribute to Sam Houston. Naturally, they invited a couple of noteworthy bands from that big city about 900 miles to the southwest. Award-winning singer/songwriter Hayes Carll ("Another Like You," "She Left Me for Jesus") and Houston transplant Mike Stinson (the former Los Angeles favorite whose latest album is Hell and Half of Georgia) will be playing. Considering Texas might not exist without the reckless genius from Maryville, it probably didn't take much arm-twisting to get these Houstonians to come help in the commemoration effort.
Admission is $20. The Hartsoe Law Firm will be donating $5 for every ticket (up to 500 tickets) for the building of the Sam Houston statue in Maryville.