Sunday, August 22, 2010

Indie Grrls Hit Town

Knoxville was the chosen city for this year's annual Indie Grrl festival. In its third year and looking for a city to call home, hopefully the search has ended. Karen Reynolds, local songwriter and host of Writer's Block was instrumental in having the festival select Knoxville, and she is hoping the experience has been such that there will be many returns. The event featured Keynote speakers seminars and panel discussions at the Conference Center in the downtown Holiday Inn and concerts in venues all over downtown. The talent on display varied from solid to amazing, with most artists performing their on compositions.

Morgan Bracy
I caught a couple of artists at the Downtown Grill and Brewery. The contrast between the two set the tone for the day. Morgan Bracy accompanied herself on guitar and sang all original songs except for the Sam Cooke classic, "(What a) Wonderful World." There were about thirty to forty people present for her set and she startled me after it was over by thanking me for listening so intently. I've found my musical talent! I'm a good listener! It was very sweet and, really, how else should music be listened to?

Joelle Maddyson
She was followed by Joelle Maddyson who accompanied herself on keyboard and sang with a voice that went from zero (very delicate) to sixty (loud) in less than one line of lyrics.







While there, I realized the star attraction of the weekend, Lauren from Leo and Lauren, was in the audience. Several people lined up for pictures and I slipped one in.


I also saw a bit of an oddity. A young girl, who I assumed to be part of the festival was wearing a black silk slip over her blue jeans in August in Knoxville, carrying a vintage overnight bag. I don't understand it. She may have had her own questions about the man with a beer box on his head, though, so maybe we're even.


Sara Kamin
I caught Sara Kamin at the Art Market. This was an awkward venue, in that the lobby (where the performance happened) is both small and, as you might expect, is also the spot through which customers enter and leave. Probably as a result, these performers had small audiences throughout the afternoon. I regret that greatly for Sara because what I heard was extremely soulful vocals (the lobby acoustics are wonderful) and inspired songwriting. She closed with a song she wrote a week ago and has not recorded. It was called "Oh Lord," a religous song written by  an admitedly non-religious person, in reference to her despair at the songwriter's life and asking the question of whether she should give it up. The song works so well for anyone at a desperate place in their lives. It would be so perfect in a movie. I think it was my turn to startle someone, when I went up to her and told her she better watch out or she might just find religion! And no, Sara, you should not stop.

Tret Fure
Karen Reynolds
Later in the evening I caught performances at the Conference Center in the Holiday Inn by Tret Fure, Karen Reynolds, Vicky Blankenship (President of Indie Grrls) and Suzi Ragsdale (who recently had a song covered by Dierks Bentley).

Vicki Blankenship




Suzi Ragsdale

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4 Comments:

At August 22, 2010 at 6:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's not jen foster. that's lauren from leo & lauren.

 
At August 22, 2010 at 8:13 PM , Anonymous KnoxvilleUrbanGuy said...

You are absolutely right, of course. I was guessing based on the picture I saw of Jen Foster. I've corrected it above and I appreciate the help.

 
At August 23, 2010 at 8:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ugh, and it's NOT by sam cooke. "what a wonderful world" is by Louis Armostrong, jazz great.

 
At August 23, 2010 at 11:13 AM , Anonymous KnoxvilleUrbanGuy said...

Hello Anonymous,
Mmm, Jazz great, Louis Armstrong. I think I've heard of him, someplace. I can't believe you gave me an "ugh!" In the south, we would say, "Bless his (her) heart, she means well, but she just doesn't know older music!" You so clearly know indie songwriters better than me and I really do appreciate you correcting me on the identity of the singer pictured above, but I can assure you that I know older music pretty well and I don't think you'll catch me mixing up Louis Armstrong (about whom I teach a class) and Sam Cooke. So what gives? Here's the thing: The song to which you refer "What a Wonderful World" was written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss, recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. It is a classic. I first encountered it in the movie "Goodnight, Vietnam," and it made me cry. The song to which I refer is, indeed, co-written by and performed by Sam Cooke in 1959, and a hit in the 1960s for Herman's Hermits, it became a hit in the 1970's for Art Garfunkel and it continues to be covered widely, today. Two different classic songs and, yes, the one she covered was by Sam Cooke. I do appreciate readers checking out what I say to make sure I'm accurate, but be careful before you give me an "ugh!" :-)

 

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