published Thursday, October 17th, 2013

In Tune: Part one of a breakdown of the city's best fall shows

The smell of composting leaves. SEC fans screaming in my face. Getting trashed on pumpkin ale.

These are the things I used to associate with fall, but this year, local venues have conspired to add "live music" to that list with a smorgasbord of concerts that would have set my head spinning a few years ago.

This week, I'll look at the schedules at Track 29 and Barking Legs Theater. Next week, I'll turn my eye on the offerings at JJ's Bohemia, Rhythm & Brews, Memorial Auditorium and the Tivoli.

n From Arctic Monkeys and Dropkick Murphys to Dwight Yoakam and Bassnectar, Track 29 has been hitting grand slams all year, and the coming weeks will keep them rolling in like waves on a beach.

Indie rock darling Neutral Milk Hotel will play a long-sold-out show this Saturday, and alt-country great Steve Earle will follow on Oct. 24. With rock great Steve Vai (Nov. 12), bass legend Victor Wooten (Dec. 4), Trombone Shorty (Dec. 7), and The Infamous Stringdusters (Dec. 12) set to follow, fans of practically every genre should have someone to look forward to.

n Barking Legs Theater has been my favorite local venue from nearly the moment I arrived in town, and this year marks its 20th anniversary. The theater's fall lineup already has featured some stellar acts, such as Irish/old-time quartet We Banjo 3, bluesman Roy Book Binder and Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O'Donovan, but the heaviest hitters are yet to come.

Guitar slinger Junior Brown has played with just about everybody in the business, from The Beach Boys to Stone Temple Pilots, and his show tonight has been one of the venue's best advance sellers, according to owner Bruce Kaplan.

Acoustic fans should get their drool rags ready for the Nov. 6 show by Helen Highwater Stringband. This newly formed Nashville supergroup features guitarist David Grier, mandolinist Mike Compton, bassist/vocalist Missy Raines and fiddler Shad Cobb, each of whom could hold the spotlight on his/her own.

On Nov. 15, North Georgia flatpicking legend Norman Blake and his wife, Nancy, will reunite for an increasingly rare public performance with James Bryan. This is the lineup with which they recorded their first LP, "The Rising Fawn String Ensemble" in 1979.

Barking Legs is a local treasure, and a trio of calendar listings is hardly an appropriate acknowledgement of that. Expect a much larger write-up from me in early November. Have a fond memory of a show there? Share it with me via email.

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

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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