published Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Phillips: Don't judge a music venue by its typical genre

Anyone with siblings knows there's no point in asking a mother which of her children she loves the most. Similarly, there's no way for me to single out one Chattanooga music venue as my favorite. I love them all equally, if for different reasons.

There's really no point trying to compare venues, since there's no uniform yardstick to measure them by, not that it stops people from doing so, myself included.

That being said, I'm continually surprised by how many times a venue I've pigeonholed as being suitable to only certain genres hosts an artist outside those genres and forces me to re-evaluate my opinion.

For instance, given the number of great acoustic acts that have played there, Barking Legs Theater might be assumed to have a lock on bluegrass. Nevertheless, I've heard great picking all over town, from Moon Slew at Tremont Street Tavern to The Infamous Stringdusters at Rhythm & Brews.

Speaking of Rhythm & Brews, some people might think of that as a rock- or cover band-only stage, but some of my favorite shows there have been by folk/country artists the everybodyfields and The Tennessee Rounders.

JJ's Bohemia isn't just an indie rock joint, either. Country crooner Justin Townes Earle, local blues man Husky Burnette and Rhode Island electronic outfit Triangle Forest all put on phenomenal shows there.

Sometimes, I'm happy just to see a genre that's under-represented around town being given a shot, regardless of which venue opens the door to them.

A good example is Barking Legs Theater's recent foray into jazz with acts such as pianist Matthew Shipp or the tribute to Miles Davis last weekend. This seems like a hand-in-glove perfect fit, which makes it all the more surprising that out-of-town jazz acts are so scarce outside of festivals.

If there's a point to this rambling, it's that you shouldn't dismiss an artist because of the venue. Some places have better seating, better acoustics or better bar service, but every show is different, and you could be pleasantly surprised.

In short, be open to being proven wrong.

* * * * *

If you haven't made it out to an event at Lindsay Street Music Hall, save the date for Feb. 18. For $5, you get to hear a slew of great local acts, including singer/songwriter Jordan Hallquist, bluegrass boys Slim Pickins, Lon Eldridge's new blues duo Snake Doctors and Endelouz's Jack Kirton.

On a similar note, Endelouz's recently released roots rock album, "Don't Lose Your Heart Out There," ranks with The New Empires' self-titled debut on my list of favorite local releases of the last year. Think "Exile on Market Street."

* * * * *

Speaking of new releases, show your support for Glowing Bordis on Feb. 10 at JJ's Bohemia as it celebrates the launch of its new EP, "Another World," with Elk Milk and The Formidables.

Some who saw Bordis play the Beck the Halls show in December at Track 29 already have their grubby mitts on it, but lead singer T.J. Greever said this will serve as the album's official release.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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