published Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Phillips: Labor Day lead-up delivers news of promising shows

Why do I always do this to myself?

Yet again, when faced with the choice to satiate my desire for excellent traditional Irish music this Friday, I'll be attending the Dragon Con convention in Atlanta. While I'm supping with wizards and chatting up Klingons, however, you would do well to head down to Miller Plaza to check out the traditional Irish band McPeake.

Irish music is a genre that seems to be featured more and more on local venues' schedules. If you're not willing to buy into the music just yet, a free concert by a band with the heritage of this Belfast quintet is a great entry point. They'll start at 8 p.m. after an opening set by bluegrass hotshots Slim Pickins at 7.

* * * * *

If you prefer music from a little farther East, wait a week because the Athens, Ga.-based Beatles tribute band Abbey Road Live will be at Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St., on Sept. 9.

Some might argue that stages in the Scenic City get more than their fair share of tribute acts, but these guys really do the songs justice. No, they don't dress up in mop-top wigs or speak with fake Liverpoolian accents. They just play the music really, really well.

As its name implies, the band regularly plays a complete rendition of "Abbey Road," which is, you know, a pretty OK album. They'll take the stage -- presumably entering through the front door, not a bathroom window -- at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10.

* * * * *

More good news continues to arrive from newly opened venue Track 29. Earlier this week, bookers for the venue announced a pair of excellent upcoming shows.

Texas-based country singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen will be performing a Wednesday night show on Nov. 2. Sure, he co-wrote "The Front Porch Song" a minor hit he penned with his former neighbor, Lyle Lovett, but I'm most excited to hear him sing his outrageously funny (some might say "accurate") yuletide number "Merry Christmas From the Family."

Even better, Lucinda Williams has been slated to perform on Oct. 22. I'm excited to see the folk/alt-country singer/songwriter return to Chattanooga for the first time in at least four years, but it's especially exciting that she'll be playing on a Saturday.

Attending a concert in the middle of the workweek is a tough sell to many people grinding out their 40-hour weekly quota. That's a fact no amount of Grammy Awards -- Williams has three -- will change, so it's nice to see Chattanooga nab such a desirable slot.

As of yet, prices and start times for Keen and Williams haven't been announced, but when they are, I'll pass them along.

* * * * *

In the meantime, be sure to check out Track 29's first local music showcase tonight. The New Binkley Brothers, The Cadillac Saints, Glowing Bordis and Machines Are People Too will perform starting at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7). That's a lot of killer local musicians to get for just $10, especially considering a Track 29 show is the largest stage many of them have played.

For more info, visit or call 521-2929.

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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