published Monday, May 7th, 2012

Nightfall returns to Chattanooga Friday

LISA DENTON: Not to get too personal, Barry, but I'm wondering how long has it been since you last shook your moneymaker? I ask because you'll get a chance to get your groove on when the Nightfall summer concert series returns to Miller Plaza on Friday.

The headliner is the Alexis P. Suter Band, and Suter has drawn praise from performers ranging from B.B. King to Levon Helm for the raw emotion of her roots, blues and soul music.

BARRY COURTER: I can tell you the day, the time and the place. It was about three minutes ago thanks to YouTube. I've been lost in Suter's cover versions of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," "John the Revelator," "Smilin' Faces," "Take Me to the River" and "Got My Mojo Working" and, well, she got my mojo working.

Suter is a force of nature, and her band kills.

LISA: I'm in awe of her voice, a rumbling bass/baritone that can soar when she needs it to. I had a cold last week, so I sounded kind of rumbly myself, but I'd have to stand in a hole to get that deep. And you're right, the band's tight.

It should be a great kickoff to the season. The opening act is local band Ashley & The X's, who describe themselves as the musical love child of Tom Waits and Billie Holiday. And a line in their bio says the band "combines the sultry and commanding vocals of Ashley Hicks with the steadfast ease of the X's."

I'm a big fan of steadfast ease.

BARRY: But can you shake your moneymaker with steadfast ease?

LISA: Yes, I believe I can. Perhaps I'll demonstrate at Nightfall.

BARRY: A quick look at the full lineup, and I'm thrilled to say I've only heard of two of the acts. That's what I love about Nightfall. I love discovering new music, and the folks at Nightfall always find great acts that have rarely, if ever, played here before.

LISA: That's probably the series' best attribute. I'm especially looking forward to the "dancing frenzy" promised by Seven Handle Circus on May 18 and to Hayes Carll's "degenerate love songs" on Aug. 10. It's like he's writing them just for me.

BARRY: Or about you. I think he could actually learn a thing or two from you.

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about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or

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