It might be too much to expect a rhinestone-studded Nudie suit, but local performer Jessie Knowles plans to play a Porter Wagoner role onstage tonight, May 29, at Barking Legs Theater.
Knowles will emcee the ArtFront-sponsored Chattanooga Left Field Showcase, a concert to introduce up-and-coming musical acts.
While events such as Road to Nightfall and opening slots for nationally touring acts at Track 29 and Rhythm & Brews are helping many longtime players get recognition, the Left Field Showcase is designed for artists just starting out, says Robin Merritt of ArtFront. Besides Knowles, the first round of artists will be Tab Spencer and Angela Rose.
Knowles, according to Merritt, will borrow a stripped-down, Grand Ole Opry hosting style similar to Wagoner's, introducing the other acts and interspersing their sets with songs of her own.
"This is a premier event for the people who are really paying attention to the new music up and coming out of Chattanooga," he says.
The show is suitable for all ages.
IF YOU GO
■ What: Chattanooga Left Field Showcase, featuring Jessie Knowles, Tab Spencer and Angela Rose.
■ When: 8 p.m. today, May 29.
■ Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds
■ Admission: $10 in advance or at the door.
■ Phone: 423-624-5347.
■ Website: www.ArtFront.com, www.barkinglegs.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
■ Jessie Knowles' extensive theater credits have helped hone her songwriting. For 16 years, she has been a player in a fully-improvised two-act musical called Luck of the Draw, in which she must make up complete songs on the spot. Her influences include Ani DiFranco and Alanis Morissette.
■ Tab Spencer is the duo of Garrett Bourdon (vocals, guitar) and Jack Kirton (guitar, pedal steel, harmonica, backing vocals). The band name was once the stage name of Bourdon's father, a country songwriter in Nashville in the 1970s. The music is a slowed-down mix of traditional country and bluegrass with lyrics set in the modern world.
■ Angela Rose is a recent transplant to Chattanooga who spent a wild year with the band Trash Canyon and the Honey Bees, playing a mixture of old-timey, country and gypsy folk music in Laramie, Wyo. When the band members went their separate ways, Rose began focusing on writing her own songs. Her influences range from Hank Williams to Hurray for the Riff Raff.