published Friday, August 19th, 2011

Phillips: AAA acts provide plenty to look forward to this fall

I've always hated the whiny tones of music scene naysayers who claim Chattanooga doesn't attract enough "big names."

As proof of how wrong they are, here are three big shows on the way in the coming weeks.

* First up, Los Lobos will close out the 17th annual Southern Brewers Festival on Aug. 27.

If you don't recognize the band's name, you should know its gritty, border-straddling blend of country, folk, rock and traditional Mexican styles.

The East Los Angeles-based band was founded in 1973 and has been heralded as the spiritual successor to legendary Chicano guitarist Ritchie Valens. That reputation was further cemented with the group's cover of Valens' hit "La Bamba," which appeared on the double-platinum-certified soundtrack to Valens' self-titled 1987 biopic.

They also provided the score for the Antonio Banderas film "Desperado," including the classical guitar-driven instrumental "Mariachi Suite," which won the group the last of its three Grammy Awards to date.

Besides Los Lobos, the festival will include the music of blues slide guitarist Anders Osborne, New Jersey Americana/newgrass sextet Railroad Earth and North Carolina folk artists The New Familiars. Of course, there will also be gallons of beer served from 30 breweries as far afield as Boston and Fort Collins, Colo.

Tickets are $20. Beer tokens are $3. Buy tickets at

* As a huge fan of Irish music, I was stoked to see that the fifth annual 3 Sisters Bluegrass Festival (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) will include Irish-American group Solas, led by the insanely talented multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan. The band will play opening night, just before bluegrass supergroup Hot Rize, which features flatpicking guitar guru Bryan Sutton and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Tim O'Brien.

Not good enough? The festival will finish out the second night with headliner The Travelin' McCourys, who won over the crowd at a midnight Riverbend show two years ago. Besides, this is a free event, so bellyaching is in poor taste, regardless.

* Are you a fan of Uncle Tupelo, The Avett Brothers, Wilco or Son Volt? Those bands all owe a debt, in varying degrees, to alternative country artist The Jayhawks.

Chattanooga Presents media coordinator Jonathan Susman told me the Minneapolis-based 'Hawks will finish out the second iteration of the River Rocks outdoor extravaganza with a concert in Coolidge Park on Oct. 8.

Since forming in 1985, the band hasn't achieved as much commercial success as its critical acclaim might warrant. After a fractured history, however, the original lineup reunited in 2009 and on Sept. 20 will release "Mockingbird Time," its first album together in more than a decade.

So yeah, there's a lot of great music on the way. If you're still dissatisfied, there are two interstates that will provide you a quick, clean exit for greener pastures.

Good luck finding them.

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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