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Knoxville Stomp – an unprecedented "Festival of Lost Music” – comes to downtown Knoxville

The Knoxville Stomp is coming to downtown Knoxville May 5-8, 2016, This is a live celebration of recordings made by local and regional artists in the summer of 1929 and spring of 1930, when the Chicago-based Brunswick record company came to Knoxville. They installed a studio in the St. James Hotel, which stood at the north end of Market Square, near where the TVA Towers stand today. Those sessions, many of which have been lost for years, are being released this spring in a boxed set called Knox County Stomp: The Knoxville Sessions 1929-1930 by the prestigious German label Bear Family Records.

The Knoxville Stomp will be one-of-a-kind weekend, bringing a diverse array of musicians, writers, scholars and collectors together.

“When we announced that these lost recordings were going to be re-released in May, it was like we'd turned on a tractor beam for musical historians and re-creators of historical music. This is a really big deal! Be ready for the best in old-time, vintage jazz, and country blues, and gospel music. Local bands and historians along with those coming from all over the world are ready to put on quite a show to honor this special occasion!” says Matt Morelock, Production Manager for the Knoxville Stomp.

The Knoxville Sessions produced 101 commercially released tracks, featuring both African-American and white artists in a range of genres – gospel, string bands, blues, jazz. Collectively, they provide a panoramic view of Southern Appalachian music and culture on the cusp of the Great Depression.

The Knoxville Stomp festival will feature live performances of many of the historic tracks, along with other music from the era, panel discussions, film screenings, a 78rpm record collector show, and more. The Stomp will take place in venues throughout downtown Knoxville, including Market Square, the Bijou Theatre, the East Tennessee History Center and Boyd’s Jig and Reel among others. Most Stomp events will be free and open to the public, with tickets for a select few events going on sale February 25 at

The Knoxville Stomp is being presented by the Knox County Public Library’s Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound, WDVX Radio, the East Tennessee Historical Society and Visit Knoxville. The Knoxville Stomp is part of Knoxville’s 225th Anniversary celebration, which will highlight the city’s history throughout 2016.

Highlights include:

Dom Flemons -- The musician, scholar and cofounder of the popular Carolina Chocolate Drops will take to the Bijou Theatre stage to celebrate old time music and share some of his favorite 78rpm records with the audience

Amanda Petrusich – The NYU faculty member and author of Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records will present a reading and Q&A session

The Down Hill Strugglers -- The Brooklyn-based old time string band works to carry the music of the old rural America forward with verve and creativity. They were featured on the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Joe Bussard -- The world’s foremost 78rpm record collector will discuss his lifelong obsession with American music of the 1920s and 1930s.

Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings – This wild, New Orleans-based quintet seeks out weird, wonderful songs from the early days of Tin Pan Alley.

Elijah Wald -- The blues musician, historian and author of last year’s Dylan Goes Electric!: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties will discuss the history of remote and field recordings in American music

Georgia Crackers -- The premier North-Georgia old time string band will feature special guest Dub Hudson on clarinet.

Full lineup of musicians and presenters:

The Bearded
Bill and the Belles
The Carolina Cud Chewers

The Corn Potato String Band
The Down Hill Strugglers
Matt Downer
ETSU Old Time Pride Band
Dom Flemons
Matt Foster
Eli Fox
Frog and Toad’s Dixie Quartet
Gammon, Horton and Reynolds
Georgia Crackers
God’s Gospel Singers
The Hellgramites
Hunter Holmes
Kelle Jolly and the Will Boyd Project
Matt Kinman
Knox County Jug Stompers
The Knoxville Banjo Orchestra
Alex Leach
Sean McCollough with students from South Knoxville Elementary School
The Mumbillies
John Myers Band
Old Time Travelers
Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings
Todd Steed
The Streamliners Swing Orchestra
The Tennessee Stifflegs
Uncle Shuffelo and His Haint Hollow Hootenanny
Kukuly Uriarte

Panelists and Presenters:
Joe Bussard
Eric Dawson
John Fabke
Martin Fisher
Lance Ledbetter
Jack Neely
Ted Olson
Amanda Petrusich
Bradley Reeves
Tony Russell
Nancy Brennan Strange
Elijah Wald
Richard Weize
Marshall Wyatt
Jerry Zolten

For more information about the festival, visit

Published May 4, 2016

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