published Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Get Off The Couch: Blind Boys, Big Boi, 'Planets' coming up

LISA DENTON: Barry, I bet that, after talking to Jimmy Carter the other day (the singer, not the former president), you could make a strong case for seeing the Blind Boys of Alabama in concert tonight at the UTC Fine Arts Center.

BARRY COURTER: You know, he was as cool as the other side of the pillow. That is, after he chastised me for being late in calling -- it was a miscommunication with his agent -- but even that was cool the way he handled it. Once we started talking music, it was like going to school for me. Carter and the Blind Boys are part of musical history, and listening to him talk about their commitment to gospel and his personal affinity for country music was great.

They will be performing as part of the Patten Performances series, by the way.

LISA: And don't forget that the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera will have its first Masterworks concert of the season Thursday night. It will feature Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Appalachian Spring" and Holst's "The Planets." They'll be using video imagery to accompany the works, so that final arrangement ought to feel like sitting in a planetarium instead of the Tivoli. Maybe they could throw in a chorus of Elton John's "Rocket Man" or David Bowie's "Space Oddity" just for fun.

BARRY: That brain of yours is always working, isn't it? Always offering ideas for others.

LISA: I think the theme here is spaced out, but, yeah, that's what I was doing -- just trying to be helpful.

BARRY: "Fanfare" is one of those songs I bet I've heard a thousand times and didn't know the title. Just hearing the opening drums and horns, my mind instantly thinks of numerous television shows that have used it. Most of them are sports-related. And, you are correct, sitting in the Tivoli listening to "The Planets" while looking at stars should be pretty amazing.

And we shouldn't forget that Big Boi of OutKast will finally perform at Track 29 on Tuesday. I say finally because he had to reschedule the show after having knee surgery just a day or two before his originally scheduled show here.

LISA: Yeah, he blew out his knee while performing. Reminds me of the time I threw out my hip playing tambourine. But that's a story for a different day.

BARRY: Gospel, symphony music and urban/hip-hop, that's a diverse lineup of music.

LISA: You say diverse lineup of music? I say head down to the Hamilton County Fair at Chester Frost Park on Saturday and Sunday. That's a little bit of country and bluegrass and gospel and Southern rock, with a chorus of oinks, moos and bleats.

BARRY: A veritable buffet of options.

Get event details every Thursday in ChattanoogaNow or online anytime at

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

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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