The Scenic City Roots was birthed as a sister to the Music City Roots by Heng Dai producers Todd Mayo and John Walker. The event kicked off on March 7, 2013. At that time Monica Kinsey of Track 29 shared, “It is an incredible opportunity, not only for Track 29, but also to showcase Chattanooga and its talented local musicians to the world.” How true Monica’s insight was then as after a year it bills local known and soon to be known and has the support of those musicians, singers and songwriters who have made it to the top and come back to share their talent and stage wisdom to the aspiring talented Chattanooga music family.
This past week, it was great to jump off Track 29 to see who was filling the house of music with this month broadcast of Scenic City Roots: Live. It was within minutes of cranking up the two-hour live broadcast on Hippie Radio 106.9 (Brewer Media) live feed and streaming broadcast on WTCI public television website and later video series on Channel 45. The event is unique in a way it heightens the awareness and revitalization of the local and regional music scene. The format brings together fans with different musical interests, with a blend of various genres and generations for two hours in one music house. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere that offers seating, eats and beverages. One quick observations was the support the local musicians, singer songwriters and event promoters present at the event. There were so many if I named them, I would certainly leave some out of the recognition.
The program opened with Nashville announcer Keith Bilbrey introducing Craig Havinghurst (senior producer/journalist) who took time to interview the artist between the five sets of performing artist (groups). Keith turned the event over to Chattanooga icon Roger Alan Wade, musical host, to introduce each performer. The first segment was North Georgia singer and songwriter Emily Kate Boyd with Faye Petree and accompanying songwriter/musician. She warmed up the crowd as “Billie In The Woods” carried unique jazzy bluegrass overtures to her storytelling songs. Faye’s singing and high-energy electrified fiddle was tight and strong to the tone and setting of “Billie’s” stories. One bonus was a smooth rendition featured slow moving cover of “Stealin’” by Jerry Garcia. www.billieinthewoods.com
Sarah Potenza brought her eccentric and extrovert hard edge bluesy persona for a great strong segment. I would pause several times lowering the camera because I was so caught up in her strong “Joplin” style voice. The crowd was behind her all the way. Sarah calls Nashville her home but she has traveled well and picked up various musical influences that treats her and the band very well. The singer songwriter duo with husband Ian Crossman on lead guitar can keep any crowds attention with his light steps and masterful touch on the 6 strings.www.sarahandthetallboys.com
JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers defined as JD and his wife Jessica brought forward a Southern blues with some rockabilly overtones in their segment. I was struck by their advance gothic dress - nothing over the edge but definitely catch your attention. JD provided lead vocals and a smooth handle on the harmonica, and the lead guitar slinger, Rod Handallah, was burning strings. Jessica switched from bassist to vocals with JD. Preston Corn never missed a beat on percussions. These talented musicians call Paducah, Kentucky home.www.thedirtdaubers.net
The pop legend John Oates' (www.johnoates.com) unplugged acoustic segment with only a single percussionist was awesome. A singer/songwriter needed no lengthy introduction by Roger Alan. This year John and his duo partner Daryl Hall (Hall & Oates) will be inducted in the Music Hall of Fame. John unwrapped many of his new songs from his just-released CD “Good Road To Follow” and a couple of his classics into his segment. John shared his music with so much passion and so much that would inspire most young singer/songwriters today. He shared many more recent songs such as “Stone Cold Love, Pushing A Rock Uphill, and Let’s Drive” about his teenage sons first car to a classic favorite “She’s Gone”. It’s easy to see how he and Daryl Hall will make their arrival into the Music Hall of Fame this year.
The last segment for the Jam session was Mountain Heart, a spirited selection of soulful Southern rock, with traditional bluegrass with a moving early 30’s Appalachian gospel “Somebody Calling You Better Run” as the quartet stepped up to the microphone. The closed their segment of an eight-minute Allman Brothers cover song “Whipping Post”. Mountain Hearts talented musicians are Barry Abernathy • banjo, vocals, Jim Van Cleve • fiddle, vocals, Jason Moore • upright bass, vocals, Josh Shilling • guitar, lead vocals, Aaron Ramsey • mandolin, vocals, Seth Taylor • lead guitar, vocals. Check out their page at www.mountainheart.com based in Nashville.
As customary, each live broadcast is closed as the bands return to the stage with a Super Jam that drew the audience near the front of the stage for the grand applause. Let me also state that behind any successful venue and events come great sponsors. Scenic City Roots promotes the support of Tennessee Valley Federal Credit, Chattanooga Take Me There, Ole Smoky Moonshine, Chattanooga Presents, Chattanooga Choo Choo and Track 29. Additional promotional partners are Brewer Media WPLZ Hippie Radio 106.9 and WTCI public television broadcast the two-hour event with support from Livestream, SHURE, NewTek and Chattanooga Now.
Catch up with current information and schedule of the genre spanning monthly concert, live radio show and TV series featuring 4 acts at Track 29 via social internet access towww.sceniccityroots.com , www.track29.co and other social media platforms.