Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne were mild-mannered guys most of the time. But when things started to happen, they sure changed fast. The same can be said for Jimmy Tawater. Pretty calm and normal – until the first chord is struck or the first beat of the drumsticks is heard. Then, like Clark Kent in a phone booth, Jimmy transforms into the musical frontman Chattanooga has known and loved for 40 years.
Jimmy Tawater put on a show Friday night at Riverbend, captivating the hearts and refreshing the memories of a crowd that just kept on getting bigger and bigger as the evening progressed. They danced and swayed and screamed for encores. For an hour and half, Jimmy and his wonderful band took Chattanooga back to a simpler, much more innocent time. People forgot their troubles and worries. They were in fact, mesmerized by Jimmy Tawater, his music, his band, and his showmanship.
Jimmy Tawater is a humble man. I had a small part in helping bring Jimmy to Riverbend this year. A couple hours before his show, he sent me an email in which he said he hoped he could live up to my expectations. He exceeded them on all levels. It was one of my favorite Riverbend shows. Ever. When Tommy Lifsey cracked those drumsticks to start the show, Jimmy Tawater turned into Superman.
This may have been the best opening night ever at Riverbend. The Milele Roots show was incredible. Absolutely fantastic, actually. They brought it to Riverbend with three horns, great percussion, the super guitar playing of Jon Wimpee, and great bass from Christian Crann. Grace Potter rocked the Bud stage after Milele finished up. Sheryl Crow seemed to please the huge audience, too. We went up top to see Crazy Face, and they also were excellent, bringing two horns to Riverbend. Add to that, Jimmy Tawater’s band had a sax player, so maybe the brass is back! There is more great horn playing coming later this week, too.
So, how does Riverbend top that great opening night for night two? Well, one way to do it is bring the best female singer in Chattanooga – Janella Hayes. Black Cat Moon, featuring Janella, takes the Tennessee Lottery Stage at 6:45 p.m. She follows Angel Snow and Viktor Krauss. Viktor’s sister will be playing later that evening on the Coke Stage. Will she come over to the Lottery Stage and sing one with her brother & Angel? Don’t count on it, but if it happens, it happens. Later that night, Riverbend has a late night set on that stage, featuring That 1 Guy, starting around 11 p.m., immediately following Alison Krauss and Union Station.
Six Stools Six Strings is a happening of earthquake magnitude under the bridge on the Tennessee Valley Credit Union Stage at 7:45 p.m. Singer/songwriters Gary Nicholson, Buzz Cason, Trent Summar, Irene Kelley, Karen Staley and Webb Wilder will dazzle the crowd with about 100 million reasons why you should be there. (That’s about how many records their songs have sold!) Following Six Strings is country great Ray Wylie Hubbard. Roy Harper opens the night at the TVCU Stage.
The Unum Stage, not to be outdone, has three superb acts, as well. The Two Taverns Variety Show opens the evening, with The Waybacks taking the stage next. This is a chance to see the Waybacks up close and personal, before their Coke Stage appearance Sunday night with the CSO. Following them, T. Graham Brown come on the Unum stage, with a resume that includes three number 1 hits and eight top ten hits.
The Bud Light Stage features Rick Bowers and The Majors, followed by That 1 Guy. Headlining the night is The Whigs.
Here are the links to other Riverbend articles for 2010 - survival kit, and day 1 preview.
See you there!