PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: February 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

March 8th Will Not Be The First Time The Kentucky Headhunters Played Roane County!

Way back in 1989, just after the group Itchy Brother changed their name to The Kentucky Headhunters, Richard Young and company booked and played a small club in Roane County, Tennessee called "Rock And Country".  The club was up near the Rockwood Airport, on Airport Road, Highway 299.

Richard, the rhythm guitar player for the Headhunters, remembers the date and what a good reception the band received back then.  He had no idea the club had burned sometime in the early 90's, but suffice it to say, he and the band is looking forward to their return engagement!

The band is booked at the Princess Theatre at 8PM on March 8th, and everyone, me included, can hardly wait to hear them!  Since then, the band's sound has undergone changes, but had recently returned to their Southern Rock, R&B, and blues roots.  For me, that makes the upcoming engagement exciting.

Both the Headhunters and The Cathouse Prophets have that "Lynyrd Skynyrd"/"Charlie Daniels" sound.  It's a Southern sound that I have researched and grown to love!

I called Richard Thursday at his home near Edmonton, KY, catching him trying to track down some financial issues that involved someone in New York City.  He, like many of us, miss the old days when many records were kept in "hands-on" brains, and not computers.  We talked about how kids these days are so lost in computers, their phones, and "social media" that they no longer know how to communicate.  We coined the term "UNSOCIAL MEDIA" while discussing the lost art of face-to-face communication, to describe today's electronic culture.  People today don't know what they are missing and that they are killing our culture with all this Facebooking, texting, and Instagramming!

Anyway, we finally got back to talking about "the music" and the band's trip to Harriman, and their brand of Southern Rock, R&B, and blues fusion music.

The Kentucky Headhunters' latest album, Dixie Lullabies (2011), released through the Red Dirt Company label, was written and recorded in the "Shack"/"Practice House", which was their grandmother's home at one time.  The old house, with no water, heat, insulation, phones, etc. sits on the remaining 700 acre homestead near Edmonton, KY.  Richard and Fred Young have about 700 head of cattle there, and at times money is tight.  Recently they sold 100 head just to buy enough feed to get the rest of the cows through the rest of this cold winter.  So, you can see they have problems just like us!

Believe it or not, the old house serves as a real practice house for the band, and on this latest album it was an actual studio where the "Lullabies" was recorded.  Richard said a thermometer in the house, at times, read 13-degrees!  It's a testament to the group's love of old amps and guitars!  They stayed in tune and sounded great on the album!

"Over the years we have put up record albums and posters, Bob Dylan and such, to keep out the wind!  I think they are worth more than the house!"

You can hear and see more about the "Practice House" by watching this video -

Yes, the boys are what the sound like...ordinary Southern country folk!  Just like us!

There are no "put on airs" with these guys.  They are what they are and all they are interested in is playing good music.  There was a time they thought they wanted to reach for the sky, the top ten, and be as commercial as other country and rock groups.  However, they have come to see the light and are satisfied and comfortable with making good music over quantity.   They like living on the farm, living within their means, and being true to their love of music!

I got the feeling, while talking on the phone with Richard, that two things brought the band (called Itchy Brother then) back to earth.  One, was the 1977 crash of the C-47 carrying Ronnie Van Zant and the Lynyrd Skynyrd band, whom they knew well.  The other was the death of John Henry Bonham, an English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer of Led Zeppelin.

The crash made the band turn introspective, and they wondered if fame was what they were really wanted.  They came to final grips with this question after Bonham died in 1980.  John's death was the final straw that kept the Itchy Brother band from becoming Swan Song Records' first American band, had they ever got to produce a song on the label.  This record label, launched by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, stopped in 1983.

I think these days Richard is more proud of his son, John Fred Young (drums, backing vocals), and his band "Black Cherry Stone", than of any success he and the Headhunters could achieve.  

I could tell he was smiling over the phone as he talked about his son and the fact that "Stay", a song written by Joey Moi and the rock band Black Stone Cherry, originally recorded on their 2011 album Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, was taken to #1 status by American country music duo Florida Georgia Line; who covered the song on their 2012 album Here's to the Good Times. It was released in October 2013 as the album's fourth single and, as of December 18, 2013, it's sold 547,000 copies in the United States.

You can get a since of their history by watching the above video, which explains their journey to "Headhunters" much better than I could ever write it.

Suffice it to say, the group is happier going for the heart of the music than trying to reach the top 10.  Richard promises that at the Princess "we we will connect at a personable level to the audience."  We are so looking forward to it!   

"If we could, we would make our living in old theaters…that would be the place, or at bars with large seating somewhere!"

"We will be putting out new songs to try them out on the Princess audience...we will make the Princess our "Practice House" on the road!  That's our first gig of the year and we want everyone, including us, to remember Saturday night, March 8th!"

Richard apologized to me, just before hanging up, for having to run, but he reminded me that it was going to be 14 degrees again in Kentucky last night, and he have "heffers" to feed!  Prioities, you know!

As Richard wrote in a song once, we have to keep on rocking:


(Richard Young, Fred Young, Vernon Dale Grissom, John Fred Young, Anthony Kenney, Doug Phelps, Greg Martin)

So rock on,

Let your heart be handy with a song.

Don't ever let go

Of those dreams that you hold

As the river of life rolls on,

Baby rock on

Tickets are available now online at, or at the Rocky Top General Store or The Harriman Jewelry Exchange, or by calling 865-882-8867!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

He Is Happiest When He's "Up On The Stage"!

How many of you always wanted to rock'n roll, and be "up on the stage"?  My guess most of us!  Well, I visited one guy this week that's made that dream come true.  To see it all on paper, it sounds easy, but as we all know, and as AC/DC taught us, "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n roll"! 

Scott Maddux, owner of Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Maryville, TN, looks like your typical upwardly mobile young business man sitting behind his manager's desk, constantly on the phone, in a well appointed office.  However, if you scan the office you'll see it's full of biker, leather, and rock'n roll memorabilia, all items that shaped who he is and gives evidence to a long-held dream he's had.

He's always rode motorcycles, and loved the adventure and freedom of it, as all biker enthusiasts do, but in the back of his mind was always that Bob Seger song, "Turn The Page", and the dream to stand out on a stage and play his guitar...and play it loud!

He set out years ago to make it all happen, to make a career out of his hobbies; riding bikes and playing guitar music.  

Thus was born Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and the connecting "The Shed", a place for people to come who love Harleys, bikes or all kinds, riding in general, and music!  As Scott says, "The riders destination".

I started to include all of Scott's road to the top story here, but you can go here and read it for yourself.  I want to get to the pertinent story at hand, and that is that Scott is coming to the Princess on March 8th to open for "The Kentucky Headhunters"!

Scott is part of a band called the "Cathouse Prophets", they are Southern Fried & Sanctified!
The band is: Scott Maddux (electric guitar, wearing his signature Fedora), Steve "Bird-dog" Burgess (drums), Mike McGill (vocals/guitar), Justin Nix (bass), David Glover (percussion), and Roger “The Glue” Schmidt (Hammond B3 and Keys).
Mike McGill
Scott tells the band's story like this: 
"In 2009, four of us got together with Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke to play a Christmas party at The Shed. We did a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers tribute and called it Charlie Starr & Petty Crimes, Charlie poured some real rock-n-roll gasoline on us and lit a fire that set the wheels in motion.

The next year we hooked up with Mike McGill (lead vocals) to play an Unknown Hinson Halloween party. This time, in addition to a set of covers we wanted to play at least one original and as a result "Devils Deal" was written about Popcorn Sutton. The Devils Deal is his story told through The Cathouse Prophets. Later on, T.T.T (Tits, Tires, Trouble) was written from a and interview Popcorn gave Johnny Knoxville. The audience seemed to dig it so we continued.

The following year, we found ourselves in need of a new bass player, we found Justin wrapped in a blanket and placed in a basket outside The Shed. We took him in, force fed him Human Growth Hormones and subjected him to hours upon hours of "The Year of the Horse" videos. During his incubation, a stranger left his cabin unlocked and we took it over, two days later we came down having written Night Like This, Hell on the Little Man, Forever Mine, and Hell to Pay.  This was the start of The Cathouse Prophets.

In 2013, we went into Echo Mountain Studios to cut Southern Fried & Sanctified, nine songs that define our sound today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring."

Scott describes their music as having Southern roots, based in gospel and rock'n roll.  I found the music, after listening to the CD he gave me, to have a great southern country-rock sound; like a mesh of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels!  You may hear other nuances of your favorite bands too, especially if you're "Southern Fried and Sanctified"! 

Here's a sample, with a little song called "Devils Deal", inspired by Popcorn Sutton:

Scott and the band will have copies of their CD after the show.  The CD was produced by Richard Young, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for "The Kentucky Headhunters".   The band and Richard made the CD in five days, 3 days tracking, and 2 days mixing, while at Echo Mountain Studios.

The two bands are tied together and will be warming up to their "THE SHED" performance on Saturday May 24th in Maryville.  So, if you like them at the Princess, head over to Scott's place for an even more enjoyable rock'n roll experience!
BTW, I found out that there is a great little sports bar on the Maryville Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson site.  The place is called "Stinker's BBQ Shack"!  I haven't tried it yet, but the place is great looking, with 5-pulls of fun!
Just past the bar is the entrance to Scott's indoor venue, so you can enjoy music rain or shine in a more intimate setting!  Well, it's all under roof, so even outdoors the party goes on regardless of weather.  Check it out!  It's only a 40-minute drive from Roane County.

Now I could write much more about Scott's Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson (SMHD), which opened in its new 47,000 square feet facility located in Maryville, Tennessee which has exceeded all expectations and been recognized by Harley-Davidson as one of its premier dealerships, and was awarded Dealer of the Year by Harley-Davidson Financial Services in 2006.  Or more about his other Harley-Davidson retail stores in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, or that he was recently awarded a new territory in Southeast Kentucky, but rock'n roll is what Scott would want to talk about.  It's what makes him happiest!

You can see it in his eyes, and in the subtle smile as he talks about "the music".  He didn't want to talk about the business; he quickly segued to his love and hobby, music.  So, that's what I tried to make this all about.

The bottom line is this, the "Cathouse Prophets" are coming to the Princess to open for "The Kentucky Headhunters" on March 8th...BE THERE!

So when you see Scott Maddux "up on the stage", wearing that little hat and moving to his own licks, you'll be happy too!  

Tickets are available now online at, or at the Rocky Top General Store or The Harriman Jewelry Exchange, or by calling 865-882-8867!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Roane Street Was Busy Saturday Evening For The CASA Benefit

Saturday afternoon and well into the evening, the Princess Theatre, and three annex buildings on Roane Street, were open and buzzing with activity, as CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the Ninth Judicial District held its 2nd annual Winter Blast."  This utilization of the Princess Theatre is arguably one of the best uses of this space in the history of the theater complex.  It was all about children; children that truly need someone in this world to stand up for them!

Three to four hundred area supporters came together for an evening "on the town", with food, fellowship, and entertainment.  The annual event benefited the children CASA supports in the Ninth Judicial District.

Along with other donations and the event proceeds, Tim Duff presented CASA with a check for $2,250 at intermission.  The check was from Subaru of America on behalf of the efforts of Earl Duff Subaru during the Share the Love event during the recent holiday season. 

Standing with Tim Duff, General Manager of Earl Duff Subaru, is Lisa Corcoran-Pierson, District Sales Manager for Subaru, Tim Rogers, District Parts and Service Manager for Subaru, and on the far right is Sandra Weaver, Executive Director, CASA of the 9th District.
Tennessee CASA is a nonprofit organization established to support the development, growth and continuation of programs, which recruit and train volunteers to serve as advocates representing the best interests of abused and neglected children.
Tawny Spinnelli, who is now the Asst. Director, of the Tennessee Children's Cabinet, told the audience what it's like to be a child in need, and what CASA has meant to her.  She told them that she would not have been standing before them had it not been for CASA in her youth.  She thanked the group for supporting CASA and children in the state like her.
It's hard to say which part of the CASA event was the biggest hit.  Some would say it was the three pre-show parties; each having its own venue, catered food (Caramella Catering, Lincoln's Sports Grille, or Ruby Tuesday), and special music, while others may have enjoyed the following concert by The Fairview Union.

Regardless, as an impartial viewer, it all was loads of fun.  People roamed up and down Roane Street checking out the three venues beginning at 4:30 and enjoyed themselves right up to show time at 7PM.  
Many could be seen carrying their food up the street to another venue with their kind of music, or just stood and talked to friends as they ate. 
Outside, music also played on the outdoor speakers, so goers were never without entertainment.
Once inside, the audience awaited the start of the concert, and Becky Ruppe, Chair of the local CASA Board of Directors, quickly welcomed them and introduced the evening's entertainment.
The Fairview Union hit the stage and began rocking those in attendance with their "today" country music!
The group was new to me, but I soon understood that they are a well rehearsed and accomplished group, that is sure to make a name for themselves.
The group's members are:

Chad Wilson Lead Vocals, Guitar
Kelli Wilson Lead Vocals, Keyboard
Mike Barnes Lead Guitar
Chris Potocik Drums
Neal Foster  Vocals, Bass
Here are a few of the stills I made at rehearsal and during the concert:

Chris Potocik recognizing his favorite photographer!
And, I must recognize our own local member, Melanie Duff, who accompanied the band on "Cowbell"!  Cowbell is a song on the group's new album "Bona Fide" coming out on February 22nd!
*The event was produced by the Princess Theatre Foundation, with all proceeds going to benefit CASA in the Ninth Judicial District.  The event was presented by Earl Duff Subaru and Citizens First Bank.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Americana- Our Musical Heritage At The Princess March 1st!

Roane Choral Society

under the direction of Eugene Hattaway

Americana- Our Musical Heritage

Saturday. March 1st at 7:00PM
  • Minimum suggested donation for guests is $10.00 at the door
  • Roane Choral Children’s Choir under the direction of Brenda Luggie
  • Midtown Elementary Children’s Choir under the direction of Beth Drescher 
  • The Roane Choral Society
  • Antiques and quilts will be displayed in the lobby
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