BARRY COURTER: Lisa, it's time to honor our veterans and there are several events in the area today. Those who served can play a free round of golf or get a night of free camping in Tennessee state parks, and veterans can visit Georgia state parks at no charge as well. Tonight, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will honor vets at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium during a free concert. You and I like to kid about a lot of things, but veterans deserve our thanks and respect, so today we honor them.
LISA DENTON: There aren't enough freebies in the world that can fully repay the debt we owe. And by "we," I mean all Americans. Our veterans and their families deserve every accolade that we can heap upon them. So, as they used to say on "Hee Haw": "Salute."
As long as we're saluting, I'd like to offer one up for a couple of local music legends: Norman and Nancy Blake. They'll be in concert Friday at Barking Legs Theater, along with James Bryan. This is the trio that recorded "The Rising Fawn String Ensemble" back in 1979. I'd buy a ticket just to hear them do the first song on the LP, a fiddle tune called "Devil Chased Me Around the Stump." It's worth a Google search just to see how they looked in the cover photo 34 years ago.
BARRY: If you like guitar playing, this is a good week. Not only are those three playing in town, Steve Vai, a bona fide shred deity, is at Track 29 on Tuesday, and Travis Tritt is at the Tivoli on Saturday. Vai used to play with Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth on a regular basis and just about everyone else at some time or another. He's also had a successful solo career.
Tritt might not be on a lot of guitar god lists, but he's been doing solo shows for the last six years, and word is everybody that sees him alone on the acoustic guitar comes away saying, "I didn't know he could play like that." He also shares the stories behind a lot of his songs and several tales about the many country music legends that have been his friends and mentors over the years.
LISA: Vai's show is one of the rare fully seated shows at Track 29. That's probably a good thing, since his talent could knock you down. Tritt seems to have kept a pretty low profile lately, but he's definitely got chops. I heard "Help Me Hold On" on the car radio the other day and just marveled at what a lovely song it is. I have to say I put on quite a show myself, singing along there in the Hocus Focus.
BARRY: Tritt has a really interesting tale about not wanting to do acoustic shows for many years because he thought he'd bore people. In all these years, I don't think I've ever heard an artist say that. He also felt the need to compete with Garth Brooks and his mega-shows. I'll have the full saga Thursday in ChattanoogaNow.
And we haven't even mentioned that Scenic City Roots returns to Track 29 on Thursday.
LISA: That's right. This month features the John Cowan Band, Great Peacock, Lou Wamp & Bluetastic Fangrass and Jill Andrews.
BARRY: Man, I might have to rest up.
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Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354. Contact Lisa Denton at email@example.com or 423-757-6281.
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 ...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.