We are once again excited to have Blackberry Smoke at The Shed for their annual Brother’s and Sister’s Reunion at The Shed! This event always brings people from all reaches of the Earth to descend upon The Shed Smokehouse & Juke Joint for 3+ Days of music, food, drinks and motorcycle riding! This year the event will be on Mother’s Day Weekend May 11th, 12th, and 13th! We can’t wait to see you all here!
We are so excited to add the 2023 Indoor Concert Series! We hope to see you out at the shows! From local greats to some national artists, we have a little something for everyone!
Thanks to Steve Wildsmith for the following interview!
Bluegrass aficionados in East Tennessee are a discriminating bunch, as the members of Gangstagrass can attest.
The band — which performs Friday at The Shed Smokehouse and Juke Joint in Maryville — knows that all too well. On one hand, music lovers who have grown up hearing “Orange Blossom Special” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” find delight in the group’s ability to combine hip-hop with the Old Time sounds of fiddle and banjo. It’s a fusion that hearkens back to Black stringband roots out of North Carolina’s Piedmont as well as the urban poetry of spoken word rhymes.
It’s a fresh take, in other words, on a ubiquitous genre. But, the guys told The Daily Times recently, it doesn’t always sit well with bluegrass purists.
“I think it was at Rhythm N’ Blooms (a roots music festival previously held in Knoxville’s Old City), and we were at Barley’s (Taproom), playing our opening song,” said Randy Green, a.k.a. R-SON the Voice of Reason, one of the Gangstagrass emcees. “It was our first time playing Rhythm N’ Blooms, and the whole place was packed. We do our first song, and we killed it. Everybody was going crazy, but this one guy in the front points at us and just yells, ‘No! No!’ and storms out.
“I’ll never forget that dude and his reaction. It’s still one of the best things I’ve ever seen at a show, because of all the hundreds of thousands of people we’ve performed for, that guy sticks out. He’s the one, and we know that going into any situation, that could happen.”
As R-SON pointed out, however, that’s a rarity. So seamless is the band’s combination of genres that even casual observers find themselves caught up in the Gangstagrass fervor, and that’s what the band aims for every time, added band founder, vocalist, guitarist and beat-maker Oscar “Rench” Owens.
“I’m going into the shows with the excitement of, ‘Oh, boy, we’re about to show these folks what we’ve got,’” he said.
“I like to look into the crowd and watch the faces, and every now and then, I’ll see the face of somebody who’s like, ‘What is happening here?’” R-SON added. “We saw a couple of those faces in Canada a couple of weeks ago at a festival, and it’s just one of those things where you love to see the surprise and the smiles. Usually, it’s a situation where people tell us, ‘People never stand up and dance here!,’ but then we’ll have a whole field full of people standing up and getting into what we’re doing.”
Gangstagrass got its start in 2006, but when the band was tapped for the theme song of the hit FX series “Justified,” the group’s popularity broadened. Acclaimed pulp novelist Elmore Leonard, upon whose writings “Justified” was based, sang the group’s praises, and the song was nominated for an Emmy.
“I grew up listening to a lot of honky-tonk and hip-hop both, and in the early 2000s, I was doing honky-tonk hip-hop stuff myself,” Rench said. “The bluegrass idea was there, but then (the film) ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ came out, and I started doing a hip-hop cover of ‘Man of Constant Sorrow.’ Then, around 2006, I started listening to a lot of Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys from the 1970s, when Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs were with them, and I thought, ‘Man, I would love to get more of this going with some emcees.’”
In 2015, the band’s album “American Music” landed in the Top 10 of the Billboard bluegrass albums chart, an unheard of feat for a record with hip-hop vocals, and in 2019, Gangstagrass graced the stage at the storied Nashville bluegrass venue, The Station Inn. It was another first, but the way Rench sees it, the group’s sound isn’t as exotic a concept as some roots music fans might think.
“A lot of people don’t realize the history of early Black stringbands and how much history there is to Black country music,” he said. “We do come across a lot of places where people consider country music to be white music, and we’re glad to help sort of reunite some of these things and desegregate them again.”
By the same token, R-SON credits Rench’s approach to genre experimentation with expanding his own horizons. The band’s first emcee (Dolio the Sleuth) recruited R-SON for one of Gangstagrass’ initial tours by sending him beats Rench had put together; impressed, R-SON agreed to give it a try, and he hasn’t looked back since.
“My bluegrass palate has grown a lot, but Rench, man, Rench can rhyme! That dude’s got bars, so for him, it was less expansive when it came to hip-hop,” R-SON said. “A lot of this bluegrass was new for me. My dad was a big Kenny Rogers and a big Dolly Parton fans, but the fellas have put me on to a lot of stuff the last few years, and it really is fascinating how much of it is contextually and lyrically similar to what’s going on (in hip-hop). A lot of the outlaw narratives exist in both genres.”
Case in point: “Knoxville Girl” — technically a murder ballad more than it is a bluegrass song, but drawn from the same well of stringband and early country. Rench slapped it onto a mix tape to play in the tour van as a sort of primer for the bluegrass neophytes in the group, and all eyes widened at the violence in those lyrics. By the same token, watching hip-hop set its hooks in the bluegrass corner of the group has been satisfying as well, he said.
“We’ve had a lot of lineup changes, but it’s been really awesome to see people come into the band and start learning, just riding around the country in a van for hours at a time and seeing banjo players Googling KRS-One,” he said. “The fact that (bluegrass and hip-hop) are seen as so separate is really an illusion that has been perpetrated for generations, and we’re happy to be a part of dispelling that.
“These communities have come to see each other as different and strange, but they’re not. They have so much in common, and it was only during Jim Crow that the music industry got people to start thinking of music by color — country and bluegrass for White people, R&B and soul for Black people, for example. That was a wedge driven into the music that has helped support how much different these two (genres) sound.”
April, it has become a tradition to showcase some of the most talented tribute acts around! Don’t miss out on any of these upcoming shows at The Shed
The Indoor Concert Series at The Shed!
The Shed is here to bring out the best in local and national talent in an intimate setting inside the Smokin’ Monkey Lounge! Country, Rock, Americana and more! Come hang out by the fire, have bite to eat and drink! All are welcome here!
Blackberry Smoke has long been a crowd favorite here at The Shed. We are proud to announce 3 nights as part of their “You Hear Georgia Tour.” On June 9th-11th Blackberry Smoke will arrive to be with the Brothers and Sisters Reunion at The Shed!
On their latest album, You Hear Georgia, the follow-up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Find a Light, Blackberry Smoke is further celebrating these roots with 10 new songs that feel like Georgia, accented by the addition of Grammy-winning producer and fellow Georgia-native, Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile). “Dave and I had spoken for the last few years about making a record,” Starr says. “Finally, it worked out, our schedule and his schedule, and we said, yes—let’s make a record.”
Blackberry Smoke worked quickly, spending just10 days at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A, Cobb’s home base since 2016. The band recorded live on the floor, giving You Hear Georgia a crisp, outgoing feel. Like other Blackberry Smoke efforts, this album leans into well-crafted Southern rock driven by jagged guitar riffs and rich instrumentation, as the band layers on rollicking piano (“Live It Down”), funky grooves (“Hey Delilah”), and introspective acoustic sounds (the stripped-down, folk-leaning “Old Enough to Know”)
We feel a good one comin’ on here at The Shed in 2022!
—— COVID-19 NOTICE ——
We here at The Shed want to welcome you to the 2021 Summer Concert Series!
Over the years, The Shed has built a reputation for providing a fantastic, down-home, East Tennessee experience and with that in mind, we will be adding a few guidelines for the 2021 Concert series.
The following guidelines are here for the safety of you and our staff and we hope you understand that even in these difficult times, we are ready to Rock and Roll!
The summer concert series will be limiting capacity on shows that still have available tickets to purchase. We strongly advise to purchase tickets in advance due to the new limitation and more shows than normal will sell out. We ask everyone to be aware of their surroundings and social distance whenever possible and if in a congested area or indoors at our facilities to wear a mask. This is for the safety of others and our employees. Upon entry to the property, we will be requiring temperature checks for entry, we will have stations for walk thru and ride-in patrons.
Last but not least, we will be making the area underneath the shed a Non-Smoking Area. We just ask for our patrons to move towards more open air and space from others while smoking.
We know everyone misses concerts, so do we! The requirements listed above will help everyone involved from the artist, to you, to our employees stay safe and allow us to have concerts week after week!
Koe Wetzel has finally set a date for The Shed in 2021! He will be rocking East Tennessee on SATURDAY JULY 10, 2021!
Your original 2020 tickets now good for the new date- Saturday, 7/10/2021!
Click below to download your updated tickets!
We understand that a change of schedule does not work out for everyone, so if you need a refund, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your order information and request a refund. We can not however transfer the tickets to any other shows. Refund requests will be available until Friday November 6, 2020. Once that date passes, we will not be able to process refunds.
Thank you so much for your patience on this one and we hope to see everyone in 2021!
The Great Smoky Mountains H.O.G. Rally returns to Smoky Mountain H-D and The Shed in 2021!
Mark your calendars for Sept 28th – Oct 2nd 2021.
Registration is now open! If you are a HOG Member, click on the link below to get registered!
Stay tuned as The Shed will soon be announcing a week’s worth of shows to accompany the rally!
The Kentucky Headhunters have been playing The Shed consistently for well over a decade now. but there is a first time for everything! And this is a look at the article that was written just before the Headhunters came to The Shed for the first time! Check out where their headspace was way back in 2006! Then check out the video below of their most recent show here last year!
Kentucky Headhunters keep kicking down doors to give fans good music
By Steve Wildsmith, published in The Daily Times (August 18, 2006)
If Richard Young were the superstitious type, he might suspect that fate has been plotting against his band, the Kentucky Headhunters, for decades.
There was the record deal with Swan Song, the label founded by icons Led Zeppelin, back in the 1970s; the one that fell through when Zep drummer John Bonham overdosed and died. There was the protracted battle with Nashville executives in the 1980s, when the band insisted on being marketed as a country group and the suits pushed for them to accept a designation as a rock band.
And once the Headhunters got a taste of success, there was the dramatic shift away from the rootsy, earthy sounds of late-’80s/early-’90s country toward a more pop-oriented sound that proliferates today, a shift that left the Headhunters behind and caused a short-lived breakup of the band.
Were he prone to belief in curses or voodoo, Young might very well think his group had been hexed. Instead, he’s a country boy from Kentucky who knows full well that nothing in life comes easy, and that any measure of success comes through hard work and enduring any number of setbacks.
That’s the mindset his family, and thousands of others across the South, has had for centuries, ever since his ancestors settled the several hundred acres of farmland that Young still considers home. It’s not voodoo that’s plagued the Headhunters; it’s not even bad luck.
It’s just time, and that’s something no man can fight.
“Sometimes, I feel ignorant and old and behind the times about how certain songs hit it big and other songs don’t,” Young told The Daily Times this week. “But after I think about it for a while, I go listen to a couple of B.B. King records, or my Stones or Beatles records, and I forget all about it. I realize that what makes music good is still there; it’s just that time has marched on.”
Fortunately for country music, there’s still a place for the Kentucky Headhunters. Maybe not on the radio alongside slickly produced country-pop stars who seem groomed for television moreso than a concert stage, and maybe not because Nashville insiders feel like the Headhunters belong there. If anything, the Headhunters have kicked down the door and forced their way inside, taking up residence on the fringes of the ongoing country party and refusing to give up their seats because they’ve by-God earned them.
The band’s roots date back to 1968, when Young and his brother Fred, along with cousins Anthony Kenney and Greg Martin, started performing as Itchy Brother (named after Fred Young’s favorite cartoon character). Joined by various other musicians over the years, they achieved modest regional success and helped put Southern Kentucky on the map.
“Before Itchy Brother, there was no rock ‘n’ roll in Southern Kentucky,” Young said. “There were no heavy rock bands in this area, so we kind of set up the domino to get it all started up here. And it’s a great thing to go back and listen to the music we were making back then. One of these days, we’re going to put all of that stuff out, because we’ve got acres and acres of tapes.”
Throughout the 1970s, the band flirted with national success; the deal with Swan Song came about in 1980, and the guys moved back and forth from Kentucky to Atlanta to try and gain a foothold with a label that would take a chance on them.
“At least by 1975, we were getting good enough and well-known enough in the South, and we had several close calls as a rock band,” Young said. “But it seems like there’s always been some obstacle where we were going in a positive direction and then we hit a brick wall.”
The first major stumbling block was in 1982, when Itchy Brother broke up and the boys went their separate ways. Three years later, Martin attempted to get the band back together, and when Kenney declined, Arkansas native Doug Phelps was brought on board as his replacement. Phelps brought along his brother, Ricky Lee, to sing vocals, and the Kentucky Headhunters were born.
A seven-song album of demos made their way to Nashville, where executives perked up their ears. And although the Headhunters were loathe to relocate to Music City, it became evident, Young said, that fate was nudging them in that direction.
“We had played there in 1969 or ’70, and we never went back until 1988,” he said. “As much as we have an appreciation for Appalachian music and that style and where it developed from, we were more interested in its predecessors than what was going on in country music. We were listening to Jimmy Rodgers and Bill Monroe, and I understood that better than commercial country.
“But then country hit a real cool stretch with people like Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle and k.d. lang. And we were looking at all of these acts and said, ‘You know, Nashville is only 80 miles from here.’ We had broadened our horizons by then, and that music was acceptable to us. We could understand it, because a lot of it had a rock ‘n’ roll groove.”
That groove, however, raised the ire of country executives, who felt the band was more of a rock than a country act. Based on the success of Earle and Hank Williams Jr., however, Mercury took a chance and signed the band in 1989, adding three classic country covers (of songs by Bill Monroe, Henson Cargill and Don Gibson) to the band’s demo and releasing it as “Pickin’ on Nashville,” the band’s label debut.
As a result, the album won a Grammy and sold well. The group’s second album, “Electric Barnyard,” did reasonably well also, and for three years, the band enjoyed modest success among fans of both country and Southern rock. The Phelps brothers quit in 1992, and two original members of Itchy Brother – Kenney and singer Mark Orr – returned to the band. Doug Phelps has subsequently replaced Orr, and the group has put out a number of albums in the years since, including “Flying Under the Radar,” released in June.
The band still draws respectable crowds on the Southern rock/outlaw country tour circuit, often appearing with like-minded predecessors such as Lynyrd Skynyrd. And while country has shifted back toward a slicker sound, Young credits a few young mavericks from the late 1980s for opening the genre’s doors to a bunch of boys from Kentucky.
“All those people – Lyle and Steve and Hank Jr. and k.d. – they allowed the Kentucky Headhunters to wind up in country music,” he said. “If that was today, I don’t think that would be allowed to happen. Gary Rossington (of Lynyrd Skynyrd) and I were talking about it the other night when we played together; how it’s hard with as much music going on, for people to find anything decent.
“We really need to get some good music going on out there. It’s like we’ve hit a brick wall with the musical styles, and we need to get more roots back in country. I know things have to change and that time marches on, but I think we need to march to a little bit different step.
“For us, we never look at ourselves as any different than the audience,” he added. “If you want to see a good Headhunters show, come prepared to get into it yourself. It’s just a matter of us pouring it off the edge of that stage and letting it wash out into the audience, and whatever intensity level it comes back at us, it spurs us on even more.”
1820 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Maryville, TN 37801