|Greg Payne and the Piedmont Boys|
The major music highlight of the time spent in the thriving East Tennessee metropolis of Knoxville was a mere yet splendid hour during the recording of the WDVX Blue Plate Special. This is a daily music show which is broadcast at noon from the Knoxville Visitor Centre. This visit saw two contrasting artists play a live set of around half a dozen songs interspersed with chat from the show host Red Hickey. Up first was Nashville-based artist Charlotte Berg who was fortunate to be aided by a band for this and her later show in town. Charlotte possessed a folk-pop tinge to her sound and played a few songs from her new record. During her chat she revealed that piano was the instrument of her musical schooling and that she was heading over to Europe for a few dates shortly. The exposure of this live radio show with an assembled audience is just the type of platform artists such as Charlotte need to promote their material.
Time spent in Asheville North Carolina was a little longer than Knoxville and ironically two gigs materialised from artists who have been active in the UK recently. The second level of irony is that both latest albums from Austin Lucas and Danny Schmidt had been reviewed but the subsequent touring shows were not attended. So in a quirky slice of fortune, back to back nights in the delightful town of Asheville at the gateway to the Smoky Mountains corrected this omission.
This trip out east from Nashville yielded some great results from a musical perspective. The abiding memory though was Austin Lucas referring to Asheville as a ‘leftist Mecca among a sea of red’. He couldn’t have put the vibes of this North Carolina town any better after spending a brief time there.