KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Dogwood Arts and Attack Monkey Productions have announced the full weekend schedule for the 2017 Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival, Knoxville’s largest music festival, April 7-9 taking place in Downtown Knoxville’s Historic Old City along Jackson Ave. and other Old City venues.
Part of the festival's mission is to celebrate the crossroads of Knoxville's varied music history by showcasing popular national acts alongside the finest musicians theregion has to offer.
Here is information about the latest additions to the lineup:
With a decade of songwriting experience, Kevin Hyfantis has finally found a lyrical voice. After years of touring as a keyboardist and member of both The Black Cadillacs and The Dirty Guv’nahs he currently takes on one of the primary songwriting roles as a cofounder of Electric Darling. Along with the writing mandate came another challenge in the form of a switch to guitar. “I never really liked being stuck behind a piano and I always found myself picking up the other guys’ guitars at sound checks. For me, it’s just more fun to play and I’m always excited to discover something new.” Although the songs for Electric Darling are more focused, guitar driven rock n roll, he continues to write a range of other material. While most of his time these days is spent writing and banging away on an electric guitar he still finds time to play the occasional acoustic venue and share his story with lyrics and melodies.
Travis Bigwood is a folk singer-songwriter from Knoxville, TN. He embraces the tradition of southern story telling through his writing and uses his country guitar style picking and voice to act out the scenes for the audience.
Black Atticus/ Sir Woods Brother
Joseph Woods is Black Atticus. Black Atticus is Sir Woods Brother. They likes soul music, beat drops, and rhymes that make sense to the rhythm of sound and life. sometimes they says poetry. sometimes they sing. sometimes they gets voted the Mercury 2016 Hip Hop artist of the year. and other times, they just choose to ignore that pesky little engine light like everyone else, but this time...they're playing better beats. they're reaching into spirit. he's speaking louder now...cause he's anxious to share the noise; come listen.
Daniel Miller is a singer-songwriter with a penchant for centering his music on locales that inspire him: “My goal is to take a region that I love and write songs about that place. My focus isn’t on limiting a record to fit into a specific bin on a store shelf; it’s to tell a story. So, while I’ve been labeled an ‘Alt-Country’ or ‘Americana’ artist, I don’t let that influence or limit whatever project I’m working on at the moment.”
Daniel’s most recent album, ‘East Tennessee’ (May 2015), has been described as a love letter to the region where he was raised. Joining Daniel on the album are members of his touring band (The High Life), as well as Grammy award-winning members of Chris Stapleton’s band, Waylon Jennings’ band, and Jamey Johnson’s band, among others. The same group of musicians will join Daniel as he begins work on his new album (title TBD) with a release planned for Spring 2017.
Daniel’s songs have received rotation on several Country and Americana radio stations across the United States and internationally on BBC 6. He has had the opportunity to open for various national touring acts including: Jamey Johnson, Dick Dale, The Old 97’s, The Lone Bellow, The Black Lillies, American Aquarium, Mic Harrison, Scott Miller, The Mavericks, Lukas Nelson, Sunny Sweeney and Lady Antebellum; in some of America’s most beloved performance venues.
Jubal is the Americana-folk coalescence of Taylor Kress & Bonnie Simmons based in Knoxville, Tennessee. With two voices and a guitar, Jubal works with simplicity to create an intricate and emotional sound.
Taylor and Bonnie both grew up in the Knoxville area and experimented with musical flavors throughout their youth. Bonnie, with a deep-seeded exposure to old-time, gospel, blues, and traditional folk of the region, and Taylor with an innate love for history, lyricism, and alternative sounds. Jubal showcases their contrasting influences and backgrounds with strong harmonies and varying writing styles. Their voices joined for the first time on 89.9 WDVX's Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, Tennessee, and their musical chemistry was obvious right from the start.
Their debut album, Bloodroot, was released in August 2015. The self-recorded album was tracked in a late 18th century cabin. It showcases their stripped-down, simplistic side and highlights their rich harmonies and songwriting style.
Jubal’s sophomore album will be released in the spring of 2017 and was recorded in Austin, TX. While Jubal’s second album will display higher quality recording and production, it will still embody the intimacy they were able to achieve with Bloodroot.
Jubal has been joined in recent performances by upright bass player Matt Nelson (formerly of Cereus Bright) and lead guitarist Eric Griffin (of Guy Marshall). These pieces have added another dimension to Jubal’s already unique brand of folk-americana. Elements of these additions will be present on Jubal’s upcoming release.
In addition to the Blue Plate Special, Jubal has performed on WDVX’s Tennessee Shines and Six O’Clock Swerve weekly radio series and was honored to be one of the first acts to perform at the new Knoxville venue Modern Studio. Jubal has had a full last year playing venues, breweries, and festivals in the region including Louie Bluie Festival, Mountain Makins Festival, Emory Place Block Party, Secret City Festival, and Vestival. Jubal plans to tour extensively in support of their second album and are excited to share their new music with the rest of the southeast region.
Knox County Jug Stompers
Hailing from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, the Knox County Jug Stompers produce a curious and exciting blend of old-time string band, country blues, and jug band genres. What started out as friends jamming and sharing their love for jug and string band music quickly developed into a foot stompin' full-fledged jug band extravaganza. The past five years the group has performed at or appeared on: The International Biscuit Festival Songwriting Competition(winners of 2013, 2014, and 2015), , Food Network's show Extra Virgin Americana, WDVX's Blue Plate Special, Red Barn Radio Show, Dollywood's BBQ and Bluegrass, Museum of Appalachia's Fall Homecoming, Muddy Roots Fest, A Simple Life Magazine's
Days of the Pioneer Antique Festival, Paint Rock Valley Old Timey Craft and Bluegrass Festival, Sugarlands Distillery (Gatlinburg, TN), Boyd's Jig and Reel (Knoxville, TN), and was featured on a Bogangle's Biscuits commercial.
Knoxville-based Americana duo, Pale Root was born out of the collaboration of songwriters Aaron Freeman and Jordan Burris. Together the two craft tales influenced by their admiration of traditional folk, country, bluegrass as well as modern folk and Americana. They explore the subjects of love, loss, religion and redemption as well as the journeys that bind these themes together.
Pale Root's debut album features 10 original compositions and was named one of the best local releases by Knoxville Music Warehouse.
Night Colors [formerly known as Hazel] is a trio composed of producer, songwriter, and vocalist Elijah Cruise alongside his sister, vocalist, Hannah Cruise and drummer, Cale Bramer. The band uses layered harmonies over minimalistic soundscapes to create an immersive and chilling listening experience. Hazel was named as a top band to watch by Blank Newspaper. Their debut single “Shadow” (February 25th) is a tasteful mixture of folk harmonies and 80s synth pop highlighting the struggles of feeling powerless in bad relationships. Hazel’s first EP is set to release Summer 2017.
Will Carter is a horse of a different color. Having spent most of his twenties as a sideman and in-demand studio musician, Carter found himself performing with artists such as Jackson Browne, Ashley Campbell, Avicii, Erick Baker, and dozens more. The Tennessee multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer has finally let his own voice be heard on his debut album, "Half Past Heartbreak."
Thrift Store Cowboys
Thrift Store Cowboys fourth studio album Light-Fighter (out October 12) could be called their post-arson period, as Daniel Fluitt and band wrote the record after a stranger torched their gear and merchandise-filled trailer parked next to Fluitt’s bedroom, nearly taking his life. Produced by Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Neko Case, Iron and Wine) Light-Fighter’s indie rock shapeshifts through ambient and Gothic western music for songs that touch on death, loss, fear, redemption, the Spanish Civil War and West Texas ghost stories. All buoyed by soaring violin, draped against bottom-ended guitar and pedal steel sounds that spaghetti western composer Ennio Morricone might envy.
The Lubbock based sextet, which includes Fluitt, Colt Miller, Clint Miller, Cory Ames, Kris Killingsworth, and Amanda Shires on fiddle and vocals, have been touring together for a decade after meeting at the musical South Plains College. They are neither of the typical Texas-based types of bands – a country-rock mélange or strictly indie rock. As Buddy Magazine points out, “Thrift Store Cowboys' feel is more, for a lack of better description, gypsy desert music - the free sound of spacey, heat-induced delirium…a sure, confident sound backed by thoughtful vision.” Schumacher produced their 2007 release, Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping, of which Austin Sound said, “the album is to country music what Jim Jarmusch’s film Deadman was to the western.”
“Probably one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever written in my life,” says Fluitt of the billowing lead track “One Gentle Inch to Nine Violent Miles,” about “that moment that you stop staring at the ground in strife and disbelief.” It’s followed by “Bright Fire,” a jangley roots rocker. But the western spirit starts creeping in with the felon-charged “7s and 9s” and then significantly on the haunting “Scary Weeds,” penned and sung by Amanda Shires, who started as a sidewoman at the age of 16 with the legendary Texas Playboys and released her own solo album West Cross Timbers last year. She also contributes the begging and beautiful “Lean Into the Sway.”
As for ghost stories, Fluitt wrote the epic “Nothing” about a division of Buffalo Soldiers in the late 1880s, in pursuit of attacking Comanches, who knowingly led them in disorienting circles around a buffalo-grassed and treeless flatland to die of thirst. Fluitt interestingly “takes this story as a call and response, between a dead soldier and his wife, showing the tribulations each had, him on the plains, and her at their house. Both were left with nothing.”
Fluitt also explores the Spanish Civil War via a character from The Cypresses Believe in God, by Jose Maria Gironella for the song “You Can’t See The Light.” “In the book, ‘Caesar’ who was studying to be a priest, was imprisoned by the Anarchists, and in strange twists, he was executed instead of rescued. This was the first song of a concept album I hope to write about the trilogy of books.”
Thrift Store Cowboys have been slogging out consistent touring with growing audiences for 10 years, but historically most young bands implode at year three, crammed in a smelly van together. This band makes it because they “keep growing and changing musically,” says Fluitt. True too, they initially and wrongly got lumped in with the Texas country-rockish bands that essentially write the same songs over and over again, but ducked that subset pretty quickly. They met Schumacher while playing with DeVotchKa, says Fluitt, and did both Light-Fighter and Lay Low While Crawling and Creeping at the heralded Wave Lab Studio in Tucson.
For the new record, “we tried to capture the dynamics of our live shows.” As well the band up until now, has been doing everything 100% themselves -- and for this record they are working with TopSpin, as well as indie distribution and marketing. “It’s like getting to the top of a mountain and finding a 300-foot wall, you gotta throw a rope over to help you get to the other side,” says Fluitt. Thrift Store Cowboys kick off a month-long tour on West Coast in September, and will be on the road all year in support of Light-Fighter.
She's a wandering poet, and a truth-telling, story-seeking singer-songwriter. She is often found toeing the lines between introversion, extroversion, and shamelessness. She is deeply devoted to exposing beauty in all of its messy and inarticulate forms.
In late Summer of 2015 she began recording her first solo EP, The Bloom Project, that was released in the Spring of 2016. She finished her first five-city tour at the end of Summer of 2016 and intends to tour again in 2017. Her style is a subtly soulful approach to Americana and Folk. Her influences include Regina Spektor, The Weepies, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Billie Holiday. Her music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Google Play.
As a poet, she performed with 5th Woman, a team of poets who write, teach and speak on the souls of women and their diverse expressions in culture (Spring, 2016). She is now working alongside 5th Woman as a writer, contributor, and sometimes mentor to younger poets in the Greater Knoxville area. Her poetry influences include Nayyirah Waheed, Warsan Shire, Donte Collins, and Sarah Kay.
Other additions to the lineup, not in the Knoxville Music Coalition category:
Andrew Leahey & The Homestead
Part-time Nashvillian, part-time Knoxvillian, and full-time rock & roll frontman, Andrew Leahey made his Rhythm N Blooms debut in 2015. One year later, Andrew Leahey & the Homestead released their label debut, Skyline in Central Time, whose lead single -- the WDVX-approved "Little in Love" -- received a first-round Grammy nomination. Rooted in the anthemic, melody-driven music of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, Leahey and company have earned enthusiastic praise from songwriting idols like Ryan Adams, as well as magazines like Rolling Stone, Billboard, and The Boston Globe.
Ruby Amanfu + Steelism A special Rhythm N’ Blooms collaboration!
AMANFU: Whether on Beyonce’s new album Lemonade, or singing her own songs, Ghana-born and Nashville-based singer/songwriter Ruby Amanfu’s voice is one you only have to hear once to remember forever. Not an artist to be pegged, Amanfu’s musical style knows no boundaries. After attending Berklee College of Music, Amanfu found herself in Scandinavia and London, where she released her first solo album, Smoke & Honey (Polydor/Murlyn/Interscope) in 2003, whose chart-topping single “Sugah” reached #3 on Billboard's air play charts. After an extended period overseas, Ruby returned home to Nashville and focused her attention on songwriting. Her songs have been cut by a variety of acts both in America and Europe including Kelly Clarkson, Lene Nystrom, Sanne Salomonsen, Rachael Lampa, and The Duhks. She also became part of the critically acclaimed duo, Sam & Ruby w/ Sam Brooker. In 2007, Amanfu earned Grammy recognition for “Heaven’s My Home” by way of the Canadian band, The Duhks, which she co-wrote with Katie Herzig. The following year, Sam & Ruby’s own recording of the song was also featured in a pivotal scene in the much-anticipated film adaptation of the New York Times’ best-seller, “The Secret Life of Bees," while Sam & Ruby’s Rykodisc-released 2009 album, The Here & The Now was named the #1 Album of the Year by the Associated Press. Amanfu has always been inspired by the art of collaboration. Most recently, her powerful vocals infused Beyonce’s track, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” from the album, Lemonade. She has also lent her vocals to Jack White, most recognizably on his debut single, "Love Interruption" as well as throughout both of his solo albums, Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Recordings of Ruby with such other artists as Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds and Hozier can be heard throughout the airwaves and on YouTube. For Amanfu's most recent solo album, Standing Still (August 28, 2015; Thirty Tigers/Rival & Co.) she put the pen mostly to rest and instead interpreted songs of other writers ranging from Brandi Carlile to Woody Guthrie to Kanye West As a performer, Amanfu has traveled far and wide, from Rockefeller Plaza in New York City appearing twice on Saturday Night Live, to Fuji Rock Festival in Tokyo, Japan. Five record deals and two publishing deals later, Ruby is enjoying creative freedom as she prepares for the release of her next solo album, co-written and produced by Ryan Adams. She is ever inspired and grateful for the abundant opportunities she has been given to continue to create and inspire through music. In her down time, Ruby is an aspiring chef.
STEELISM: Guitarist, Jeremy Fetzer, hailing from Canton, OH, and pedal steel player, Spencer Cullum, from Essex, England first met while touring the U.K. with Nashville songstress, Caitlin Rose. Quickly realizing they were cut from the same cloth, bonding over a shared love for classic film score composers like Ennio Morricone and ’60s instrumental acts like Booker T. and the M.G.s, The Ventures and Pete Drake, the duo formed Steelism while writing between sound checks. In September 2014, Steelism released their debut full length, 615 to FAME, which was met with critical acclaim from outlets like NPR, Rolling Stone Country and more. The record, featuring ten original instrumentals and one cover, became a calling card for the band’s versatile yet distinct sound that opened up new collaborative opportunities for both Fetzer and Cullum as individuals and for Steelism as an entity.
Prior to the release of 615 to FAME, Steelism had already backed Wanda Jackson, Jonny Fritz, Rayland Baxter, Andrew Combs and others together. Since then, they’ve appeared on NPR’s Mountain Stage and played major festivals including Austin City Limits & Hangout Fest. Additionally, they performed as the house band for the inaugural celebration announcing the establishment of NPR's World Cafe Nashville as well as American Songwriter’s 30th Anniversary Party.
Since November, they’ve been in the studio working on the follow up to 615 to FAME which is expected to be released later this year.
Appalachian Hippie Poet
The Appalachian Hippie Poet, AKA Bill Alexander, and Berry Basket Bill, writes and performs a unique brand of poetry. His words are born from mountain, bottle and heart and he delivers each poem from memory with passion and expression.
THREE-DAY FESTIVAL PASSES are on sale now; $75 each and VIP weekend passes are $190, plus fees. Visit rhythmnbloomsfest.com to purchase passes and to get more Festival information. These prices will increase at 12:01 am on April 7, so purchase early!
Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival is presented by Yee-Haw Brewing Co. and produced in partnership by Dogwood Arts and Attack Monkey Productions. Additional sponsorship support comes from ORNL Federal Credit Union, Visit Knoxville, Boyd’s Jig & Reel, Sugarlands Distilling Company and Pilot-Flying J. Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival is entering its eighth year and continues to grow each year. For more information, visit www.rhythmnbloomsfest.com.
About Yee-Haw Brewing Co.: Founded in July 2015, Yee-Haw Brewing Co. is a production brewery and taproom located in a historic railroad depot in downtown Johnson City, TN. Yee-Haw focuses on brewing approachable and drinkable ales and lagers that celebrate good times and good company. With their passion for using only top-quality ingredients, and their impeccable approach to quality control, Yee-Haw Brewing Co. is growing quickly throughout the Southeast.
About Dogwood Arts: Dogwood Arts, presented by ORNL Federal Credit Union, is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to promote and celebrate our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty. For more information on Dogwood Arts, visit www.dogwoodarts.com or call (865) 637-4561.
About Attack Monkey Productions: Founded in 2009, Attack Monkey Productions is a full-service entertainment company specializing in event production and artist management. Attack Monkey Productions seeks out the things that are cool and brings them straight to you. From music to moonshine, the traditional to the avant-garde, AMP specializes in the development and promotion of unique, high quality brands and experiences. For more information, visit www.attackmonkey.net.