First leg of our tour: Knoxville, the original country music mecca before Nashville stole the scene. We arrived yesterday in the evening to our gracious hosts’ house in a little Knoxville neighborhood right down the road from both of our shows. We were greeted by a lovely garden in their front yard with bees buzzing all over lavender plants and soft, Ethiopian tunes playing from 45’s on the record player- Elam, one of our hosts, is quite a collector. There was a bed prepared for our stay and the welcoming arms of folks we didn’t even know. How lucky we are! We took Elam and Cassie out to dinner at the Tomato Head ,per their suggestion, and had some of the best food we’ve tasted in a long time. We even went back there for lunch the next day. The evening ended with an Australian coming-of-age film and the world’s best ice cream- an organic blend of delicious chocolate and cream.
We headed to the visitor’s center in downtown Knoxville for the WDVX Blue Plate Special radio hour on our second day. The host, to your left, is great, perfect for doing the radio- lively and funny. He’s seen 2500 bands in the last year play on the show- phew! It’s a great station, playing lots of country and bluegrass but hosts an array of music during the Blue Plate Special hour. We shared the hour with another songwriter, Sarah Donner, who was recently a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival this year. The audience was very gracious and attentive- about 30-40 people, and the radio show ran like clockwork- no time for talking, just playing! We got in about 7 songs before our time was up!
We highly recommend this show to any artists planning on traveling through the Knoxville area. Matt makes you feel right at home and sure does have some good stories to tell- a great experience and we met some great people!
Of course, we went back to the Tomato Head restaurant with Sarah Donner and her husband Michael- newly married, on their honeymoon (technically touring together for their honeymoon) after the radio show. They live in Princeton, New Jersey and work for the school. In the meantime, Sarah is pursuing music and Michael owns an antique shop in the area. Very nice folks and we wish them well on their way across the country- taking the northern route while we will be going down south.
And so, this brings us to the Time Warp Tea Room- yes, this is a coffee/tea shop honoring all those motorcycle enthusiasts out there. They don’t have their ABC license, so shows are BYOB. The room is decked out in bike paraphernalia (you will notice our stage to your left), old jukeboxes and newspaper clippings. A very cool establishment, we played to a small but attentive audience and met a great couple from Louisville who came to see us because they heard our tunes on the Blue Plate Special- how nice!
We played around one large microphone and enjoyed getting to be a little closer together than usual when we play.
And finally, Mr. T. We always meet the best pets while on the road. Mr. T greeted us right when we arrived- chatting away and encouraging belly-rubs. He has provided nightly entertainment as well as snuggle time. Kagey had been practicing mandolin out of the room- we came back to find Mr. T had settled into the mandolin case and was perfectly content to continue his nap, undisturbed. He fit just right!
We head to the Purple Onion tomorrow night in Saluda, NC. We remain very well-fed, caught up on sleep and excited for what lies ahead on the road to California. See you in the morning!