Photo by Shaun Mader / Dirty Mae is Robin Frost, Cassie Fireman and Ben Curtis, from left.

Twenty years ago, Ben Curtis presented a show at Barking Legs Theater — just a couple blocks down Dodds Avenue from where he attended McCallie School a few years earlier — that featured some theater, some music and a little magic.

He returns to the venue on Tuesday, Oct. 8, with his band, Dirty Mae, for a show that will be predominantly music, but he said it could also include some magic and it will certainly feature some theatrics. Joining him in Dirty Mae are Cassie Fireman and Robin Frost.

"The cool thing is that I still get to perform," he said of his music career.

"This band has some theatrics to it. It depends on where we are playing, but I have been known to sneak in some magic."

If you go

› What: Dirty Mae featuring Ben Curtis

› Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.

› When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8

› Admission: $12 in advance, $15 day of show

› Phone: 423-624-5347

Curtis, perhaps best-known to people as The Dell Dude, has also made recent acting appearances on "Orange is the New Black" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

The trio met three years ago in New York and released their self-titled EP in 2018. "Holy Mama" is their second release, and it came out in September. Their music includes banjo, harmonica, guitar, piano/organ, bass, fiddle, sax and trombone.

Each of the three brings a lot of influences and varying talents to the trio, and Curtis said that gives the group the ability to play everything from blues to bluegrass to soul to New Orleans-inspired jazz. Their music has been described as "New Orleans Ghost Folk," Americana or indie-rock.

"Our sound comes out of the people in the band," Curtis said.

"It's unique. Cassie has kind of a crooner style, and Robin has a jazz and classical blues background. Our sound is what happens when get together and play live.

"We wrote a great country song recently ... but it all comes from the blues and roots music. We are letting our sound evolve and it is. It's what makes this gel."

The group is touring in support of "Holy Mama," (listen at Curtis, whose mother, Anne, and sister, Polly, live here still, said he reached out to Ann Law and Bruce Kaplan about bringing the tour to Barking Legs.

"We owe so much to Barking Legs and what they have done for the city by providing an alternative space for any kind of performance. I am super excited to be coming back there with my band. I'm thrilled this is happening."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.


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