Now that we've all turned the pages on our kitten calendars to May, let's get this out of the way: This is going to be a big month for music ... really, really big.
In fact, I can't remember a single block of days -- except perhaps Riverbend -- that has brought such a flood of recognizable names to the city.
As I've said before, being well-known doesn't necessarily indicate a band's talent, but there's a certain cachet that comes with hosting acts with national reach. I'm excited to see so many appearing here, especially since a couple of these shows sold out in advance, which could lead to us landing other big names in the future.
Whether the following artists are your cup of tea, you should appreciate that we're getting these shows. They'll help put us on other bands' maps, which will help attract the artists you do want to see.
• Hot on the heels of James McMurtry's show at Rhythm & Brews last night, Cleveland, Tenn., ex-pat J. Roddy Walston and his Baltimore-based band The Business will bring the rock at the Market Street venue tonight at 9:30. Tickets are $10.
• On May 14, four-time Grammy Award winner Lyle Lovett and his towering pompadour will bring Lone Star-style Americana to the Tivoli Theatre. Tickets are $57 and $43, plus convenience fees.
And now Track 29. Where to start? Many of the most exciting announcements of the last several months were for Chattanooga's newest heavy-hitting venue, including sold-out shows for The Flaming Lips on Saturday and Bassnectar on May 12.
Here are the marquee artists you can actually see:
• Jakob Dylan-led ensemble The Wallflowers (of "One Headlight" fame) will present pop/rock with a lyrical bent on May 9. Tickets are $20 in advance or $22 at the door.
• True-blue rockers The Black Crowes will perform there on May 21, hopefully playing a longer set than they did as Riverbend headliners in 2008. Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 at the door.
• Finally, veteran hip-hop artist and Outkast co-founder Big Boi will close out the month with a May 31 show featuring longtime collaborator Killer Mike. Tickets are $25 in advance or $28 at the door.
Of course, bringing artists in means nothing without ticket sales. Many of these dates are later in the week, which reflects a lot of trust on the part of booking agents. If we don't disappoint them, May madness might become the norm instead of a fluke.
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 ...