Archive for the Van Eaton and Friends Category

Notes: One Wild Weekend Ahead

Posted in Allison Moorer, Brendon James Wright, Chris Knight, Gillian Welch, Justin Townes Earle, Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson, Steve Earle, The Felice Brothers, The Steeldrivers, Van Eaton and Friends on August 13, 2009 by AmericanaPulse
This is a HUGE musical weekend in Knoxville, and I’ll tell you all about it… but first…

***I want to start off this post by wishing a Happy Anniversary to Steve Earle and Allison Moorer. The Americana power couple celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

I still remember when I first heard the rumours that the two were becoming involved with each other. In fact, I think I probably had the info a little sooner than most outside observers. I got the scoop from my music director at the time, who had heard it directly from an “industry insider,” who probably got it from Allison’s hairdresser’s cousin’s friend. That’s the way these things typically get started… right?

Anyway, I quickly dismissed the rumours as false. He was too old for her, and she was too pretty for him. It couldn’t be true.

Only, it was. And it is. And they still seem to be going strong. So here’s to four years together for Steve and Allison. May there be many more happy years and great music in their future. Here’s a tune Steve Earle wrote about his bride. It comes from 2008’s Washington Square Serenade.

Steve Earle: Sparkle & Shine (Buy Album)

***Now… on to this weekend’s festivities. It’s one of those weekends where you get really excited once you hear of all the shows, and all of the artists, that are coming to town, and then immediately get upset once you realize that there is no way to see them all. It almost breaks my heart to list all the acts I won’t be seeing this weekend.

It starts Thursday night when Brendan James Wright and the Wrongs play a free show as part of the new “Old City Live” concert series. I’m working late at my day job Thursday night… so no show for me.

Friday night is even worse. Chris Knight just added a date at The Shed in Maryville, and there’s also this thing at the World’s Fair Park called The Big Surprise Tour… maybe you’ve heard of it. The Old Crow Medicine Show, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Justin Townes Earle, and The Felice Brothers. Apparently, it’s one of those shows where everybody plays with everybody else and no two shows are the same. It’s a once in a lifetime show with a once in a lifetime collection of talent… and I’ll on the air at WDVX and completely unable to attend.
Never fear though… Payton from This Mornin’ I am Born Again is making the trip from Texas to Tennessee for the Big Surprise show. I’m sure he’ll share his impressions of the show with us once he makes it back to Texas. In the meantime, you can go to his site to hear some live tracks from the Big Surprise participants.

***Saturday night, I finally get to see a show for myself when Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson come to the Bijou Theatre. I’m choosing not to think about the fact that I have to miss out on seeing my friends Van Eaton of Van Eaton and Friends and Chris Stapleton of The Steeldrivers play as part of Stringtime in the Smokies to do it.

Instead, I’m looking forward to finally meeting the artist who probably did more than any other in terms of pulling me into the world of Americana Music. She introduced me to so many great artists, and literally changed my musical world. I’m fairly certain that I would not be writing this blog or working at WDVX if not for my first chance encounter with her music. I’ll be able to thank her for that on Saturday. What’s more… I’ll get to introduce her to the crowd at the Bijou as well. I’ll be emceeing the show.
It almost makes up for missing everything else this weekend.
Here’s one from Kasey and Shane’s 2008 release Rattlin’ Bones (one of my favorites of ’08), and a live track of Kasey covering Lucinda Williams’ “Changed the Locks.”
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Once in a While (Buy Album)
Kasey Chambers: Changed the Locks (Buy Music)

Record Store Day/Wilco Hits Knoxville

Posted in John Paul Keith, Van Eaton and Friends, Wilco on April 17, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Saturday is one of my favorite days of the year… National Record Store Day… a day to celebrate the dying breed that is the brick and mortar independent record store. It’s a day when many artists release exclusive music to independent record shops, and many stores feature live, in-store performances from local artists. It’s a great time all around.

This year… it seems one of the biggest events for Record Store Day is taking place right here in Knoxville.
Wilco is performing Saturday night at The Tennessee Theatre. Wilco is also releasing its new concert DVD Ashes of American Flags as part of the NRSD hoopla. Ergo… Wilco will appear at Knoxville’s Disc Exchange Saturday afternoon for a screening of the new DVD. The first 150 fans to buy a copy of the film will also get the chance to meet the band and get their DVD’s autographed. It’s generating quite a buzz here in town.

Of course… Wilco is just a small part of the festivities. Blog favorites Van Eaton and Friends and John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives will both be performing at the Disc Exchange during the day. Record Store Day will also see exclusive releases from Whiskeytown, Pavement, The Flaming Lips, Jenny Lewis, Tift Merritt, and more. I’ll be picking up the live Tift Merritt CD for sure and will probably be tempted by several other offers as well.

You can find out more about National Record Store Day over at the official website.

Please go out and support your local record store Saturday and everyday. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that someone has gone out and purchased an album because of something I’ve written here or because of some music they heard in this space. Remember… the free downloads are great for sampling. But if we don’t support these artists by actually buying their records, they won’t be able to keep making the music we all love. Similarly… if we don’t support our independent record stores, these artist won’t have as many outlets for their product.

Now… for sampling purposes… here is a track from Wilco called “Ashes of American Flags” from their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album. It’s also the title track from the new concert DVD being released on Saturday.

Wilco: Ashes of American Flags (Buy Album) (Buy DVD)

Van Eaton & Friends: Blood on the Ground

Posted in Knoxville Music, Van Eaton and Friends on February 20, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

I have vowed in 2009 to make Knoxville artists a larger part of the music I cover here at A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz. Luckily, Knoxville keeps giving me great new music and great new artists to write about. I have another new one for you today.

About a month ago, I noticed that Dennis Double (co-host of WDVX’s Writer’s Block program) seemed to be pretty worked up about a new CD he had heard that week from a local songwriter named Van Eaton. He was passing out copies to everyone at the station (except me), and excitedly sharing the songs on Writer’s Block. I’d hear Dennis talking to other people at the station about the copies he had given them and hear them give their enthusiastic reviews back.

A few weeks ago, I finally got a copy for myself and figured out what everyone else was so excited about. Blood on the Ground from Van Eaton & Friends is a solid Americana album that branches out from strong bluegrass roots to deliver a group of songs that bring a little polish to the traditional back porch picking session.

Speaking of pickers… I should probably mention that the “And Friends” who play on the album include Ronnie McCoury, Robbie McCoury, Jason Carter, and Alan Bartram of The Del McCoury Band. Eaton first crossed paths with the band when he wrote the title track to their 2003 album It’s Just the Night, and was able to enlist their services for his debut effort. Even with such bluegrass luminaries on board… it’s Eaton’s songs that take center stage throughout.

On his myspace page, Eaton describes his music as, “Americana with a Gospel soul and a Bluegrass heart,” and it’s true that his songs do draw heavily from both southern music traditions. It’s also important to note, however, that Blood on the Ground is not strictly a bluegrass album or strictly a gospel album. There’s more going on here as well.

In “The Fire Room,” the protagonist of the song finds solace in prayer, but he may be doing so for the wrong reasons. He lived his life with a stone cold heart, let the Devil control his idle hands, and fell to temptation at every turn. Now, at the end of his life (and the end of his rope), he turns to the Father he never counted on before for a last minute pardon. It’s up to the listener to decide if the narrator has truly repented.

The album’s title track tackles the subject of war with a brutal honesty not often found in bluegrass circles. This time, the narrator is a soldier who has lost friends and has blood on his own hands. He is charged with being a hero, but knows all too well the dangers his bravery exposes him to.

If you want to hear more from Van Eaton, then next week is the perfect time. Eaton will be the guest of Karen Reynolds and Dennis Double Wednesday night at 10:00 (Eastern) on The Writer’s Block on WDVX. He’ll also be playing the Blue Plate Special on WDVX next Friday at noon. Blood on the Ground will be released by Eyetune Records on March 7th.

Van Eaton & Friends: The Fire Room (Buy Album)
Van Eaton & Friends: Blood on the Ground (Buy Album)