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Thems That Ramble

In a devoted effort to become more accountable to our reading public (and to reduce the amount of griping and moaning from same), I, Zippy, instituted a strict "put up or shut up" policy, which means, in essence, if you want me to hear your work and write about it, I'm also going to be honest about it—not mean, not overly kind, just honest.

Wooo-eeee doggies! Am I glad I had this idea late one night over a beer or two. PUOSU has become a great challenge to me as well, forcing my heinie out of a weekend sofa-surfing stupor to check out a band or two that I wouldn't ordinarily seek out—like Knoxville by way of Sevierville's own Ramblin' Roy.

Admittedly, I caught the Ramblers at Patrick Sullivan's one dark and dusty night a few months ago. Their live show was amazing, full of rock 'n' roll pomp and circumstance with lots of energy and devil-may-care spark. So I was a bit taken aback when told that they'd be playing the Tomato Head, the Market Square bastion of art shows and tofu—a great place to catch some acoustic guitar strummers or a puppet show but not, seemingly, a band that just has to turn it up as loud as it can possibly go.

The gig brought to mind the ancient real estate agent chant of "location, location, location." While the boys of Roy—Robbie Trosper, Jason Peters, and Chris Cook—honestly grooved, churning out song after delish song that ranged from straight-up punk to soulful country to 4/4 rock, the venue was decidedly not right. Ramblin' Roy makes you want to get up and dance, whether it be a pogo or a mis-matched two-step, and the T-head just isn't conducive to it, what with the art lining its walls.

Added to that was the Roys forcing themselves to reign in their own enthusiasm and presence, which, if the true be told, is at least 60 percent of their considerable charm, lest they break out from behind their instruments and kick out the jams. And add to that the fact that intimate shows in intimate spaces like the Head are best when the musicianship is superb, given that the band can't distract the audience with stage antics and their sheer showmanship. Ramblin' Roy—while they are fun, witty, and magnetic—are not musical craftsmen, which makes it hard to sustain the crowd's focus despite the players' verve.

Still, it was a pretty good show from a really good band in a really limiting circumstance. Plus, in addition to the rest of the original tunes on this sparkling set, the band did the best dang version of Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" I've ever, ever, ever enjoyed.

So if you'd like your band and/or CD to get some exposure and to writhe under Zippy's pointed glare, drop some email to [email protected] or mail to 505 Market Street; #300; 37902.

Read Something, Already

Lo and behold! Two wonderful pieces of printed material crossed my desk in the last few weeks—both of which have kept me well-diverted from the tasks I should actually be working on (like a PUOSU review of Greg Horne's CD Floating World. It's coming.) The first is a local 'zine by the unassuming name of Medium. Edited by Casey Wooden and designed by Larry Brady, Medium is a loose collection of fiction, fictional non-fiction, and photography. Some of the poetry is a bit too cutesy for my tastes but there are some prose-y gems, like Dave Carrier's "The Magic Blade" and Wooden's "Live Feed," which seems to be a strange rip-off of David Foster Wallace's distinctive style but is entertaining nonetheless. If you'd like your very own copy or would like to submit to the 'zine, send stuff to Knoxville Art Reclaiming Media Association (KARMA, get it?); 1504 Clinch Ave. Suite C; 37916.

I must admit that early summer is my favorite time of year. No, it's not the hot, sticky weather. No, it's not the gigantic mosquitoes. Yes, it is the annual Southern music double issue of the Oxford American. I nearly shed a little Zippy tear when the postperson stuck it in my hands. This year's edition features a bright yellow cover, a new strip by the legendary R. Crumb, an essay by Steve Martin, and essays by a diverse cross-section of voices—from Connie May Fowler to Stanely Crouch to Roy Blount, Jr. But the best part isn't the magazine itself. Nope. The best part is the CD sampler that's tucked inside each and every copy. This year, Leadbelly shares space with Ike Turner and Isaac Hayes, the late Dusty Springfield lies next to the Flying Burrito Brothers and Bobby Blue Bland, while Laurel and Hardy yuck it up with John Prine and Nina Simone. Now I just need to figure out how to make it all last until next summer...

Get Outta Da House!

Thursday: Mike Crawley and the Mac Daddies at Hawkeye's. Crawley and company recently got up close and personal with controversial radio "personality" Man Cow (whose extremeness can be heard every morning on 94.3 FM) when Cow and his sidekick Turd were in town promoting his own greatness. Go just to ask Crawley what the big bovine was like, real and in person.

Friday: Galaxie with Dreve at Moose's or Jodie Manross at Fairbanks. Manross is a little bit Lilith Fair while Galaxie screams 0z Fest. For some strange reason, I don't see the two events drawing the same crowd—so pick the one that best suits your summer mega-concert choice.

Saturday: The Crocodile Shop at Lava Lounge. Croc Shop is industrial bombast with warm, fuzzy lyrics.

Sunday: Ffolkes at Davis-Kidd Booksellers. Bruce Owen with Tim and Darlene Bushman are the folks of Ffolkes and will spend a delightful afternoon strumming traditional folk and modern acoustic tunes—a pleasant change from the raw power of the previous night's field trip.

Monday: Wet T-shirt Contest at Neon Nites. Or you could just stay home and dust your knick-knacks.

Tuesday: Women by Women at The Candy Factory. A collection of women's forms interpreted by women artists; after all, who would know the female form better...

Wednesday: Sherri Lynn Clark at Barley's. Clark's been tearing up the coffeehouse circuit between here and Asheville. It's roots/rock/folk done well, but not quite ready for prime-time.

—Zippy "Sugar in my Bowl" McDuff