Spring Has Sprung
The wait is over. You can officially start enjoying spring now. The days will get longer, the sun will shine brighter, and the birds will sing more sweetly now that the line-up for this year's Sundown in the City has been announced. Feel free to grumble about the picks and complain about the crowds.
The free Thursday night series, held on Market Square, starts with New Orleans jazz/funk group Galactic (April 17), followed by blues queen Susan Tedeschi (April 24), jam band Umphrey's McGee (May 1), folk rockers Josh Ritter and the Hackensaw Boys (May 8), the blues/jam trio North Mississippi All Stars (May 15), mid-'90s alt-rockers the Presidents of the United States of America (May 22), Texas songwriter Robert Earl Keen (May 29), one-man band Citizen Cope (June 12), blue-eyed soul singer Marc Broussard (June 19), almost-local favorites the everybodyfields (June 26), and concludes with 1970s funk/soul combo Wild Magnolias (July 3).
The opening acts and the headliner for June 5 have yet to be announced.
R.I.P. Carrie Daugherty
Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria in the Old City was closed for lunch on Monday so staff members could attend a funeral mass for Carrie Daugherty in Chattanooga. Daugherty, 24, was killed March 19. She had been an employee of Barley's for two years.
"I couldn't think of anything more horrifying than what we've had to go through the last week," says Barley's booking manager Robby Dubov. "She was that person for us, you know? She came in a room and everyone smiled. We're tight. There's not a lot of turnover. Some people have been here for three to six years."
Barley's will hold a benefit concert with the local honky-tonk band J.C. and the Dirty Smokers on April 19 in Daugherty's memory. Proceeds from the show will be donated to Emily's Power for the Cure, a foundation formed in honor of Daugherty's niece, Emily Ransom, that raises money for research to cure neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer.
Daugherty had also been training for the Country Music Marathon in Nashville on April 26 to raise money for the foundation. Several Barley's staff members, including Dubov, are now planning to take part in the marathon.
Micah Johnson, a 21-year-old acquaintance of Daugherty, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in her death.
Up in the Air?
Word has it that Josiah Leming, the Morristown teenager whose dismissal from American Idol earlier this year was among the most controversial cuts ever made on the show, has signed a deal with Warner Bros. The first report, with additional news that Leming had already spent part of his advance on a pick-up truck for his father, came on the KnoxBlab message board on Thursday, March 20. That was followed the next day by a post on News Sentinel entertainment writer Terry Morrow's blog, which was then linked to by Rolling Stone's website and realitytvmagazine.com. As of Monday, Leming's MySpace page still reads that his label deal is "up for negotiation."
Leming, who lived in his car for a year prior to his appearance on American Idol, charmed the show's judges and fans with his interpretation of British R&B singer Mika's "Grace Kelly," but turned off some viewers with his penchant for bursting into tears. He was booted from the show after an unaccompanied rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me."