$8 – $10

Second Bell Soirée Presents: Thrift Store Cowboys and The Kernal

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Pretentious Beer Co

131 South Central Street

Knoxville, TN 37902

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Second Bell Music Soirée Presents: Thrift Store Cowboys with The Kernal at Pretentious Beer Co.

Thrift Store Cowboys are back at Pretentious on August 2nd and they are joined by The Kernal. Both have graced the Pretentious Beer Co stage in the past. Join us as we get ready for the inaugural Second Bell Music Festival and enjoy a night of amazing alt/country music. We will also be doing a few tickety giveaways throughout the night for special tickets to the music festival. You will not want to miss out on this one.

Show Details:

  • Doors open at 7:30pm.
  • Music starts at 8pm.
  • Seating will be very limited.
  • This show is open to all ages.
  • Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 the day of show.

THRIFT STORE COWBOYS

Thrift Store Cowboys fourth studio album Light-Fighter (out October 12) could be called their post-arson period, as Daniel Fluitt and band wrote the record after a stranger torched their gear and merchandise-filled trailer parked next to Fluitt’s bedroom, nearly taking his life. Produced by Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Neko Case, Iron and Wine) Light-Fighter’s indie rock shapeshifts through ambient and Gothic western music for songs that touch on death, loss, fear, redemption, the Spanish Civil War and West Texas ghost stories. All buoyed by soaring violin, draped against bottom-ended guitar and pedal steel sounds that spaghetti western composer Ennio Morricone might envy.

The Lubbock based sextet, which includes Fluitt, Colt Miller, Clint Miller, Cory Ames, Kris Killingsworth, and Amanda Shires on fiddle and vocals, have been touring together for a decade after meeting at the musical South Plains College. They are neither of the typical Texas-based types of bands – a country-rock mélange or strictly indie rock. As Buddy Magazine points out, “Thrift Store Cowboys' feel is more, for a lack of better description, gypsy desert music - the free sound of spacey, heat-induced delirium…a sure, confident sound backed by thoughtful vision.” Schumacher produced their 2007 release, Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping, of which Austin Sound said, “the album is to country music what Jim Jarmusch’s film Deadman was to the western.”

“Probably one of the most uplifting songs I’ve ever written in my life,” says Fluitt of the billowing lead track “One Gentle Inch to Nine Violent Miles,” about “that moment that you stop staring at the ground in strife and disbelief.” It’s followed by “Bright Fire,” a jangley roots rocker. But the western spirit starts creeping in with the felon-charged “7s and 9s” and then significantly on the haunting “Scary Weeds,” penned and sung by Amanda Shires, who started as a sidewoman at the age of 16 with the legendary Texas Playboys and released her own solo album West Cross Timbers last year. She also contributes the begging and beautiful “Lean Into the Sway.”

As for ghost stories, Fluitt wrote the epic “Nothing” about a division of Buffalo Soldiers in the late 1880s, in pursuit of attacking Comanches, who knowingly led them in disorienting circles around a buffalo-grassed and treeless flatland to die of thirst. Fluitt interestingly “takes this story as a call and response, between a dead soldier and his wife, showing the tribulations each had, him on the plains, and her at their house. Both were left with nothing.”

Fluitt also explores the Spanish Civil War via a character from The Cypresses Believe in God, by Jose Maria Gironella for the song “You Can’t See The Light.” “In the book, ‘Caesar’ who was studying to be a priest, was imprisoned by the Anarchists, and in strange twists, he was executed instead of rescued. This was the first song of a concept album I hope to write about the trilogy of books.”

Thrift Store Cowboys have been slogging out consistent touring with growing audiences for 10 years, but historically most young bands implode at year three, crammed in a smelly van together. This band makes it because they “keep growing and changing musically,” says Fluitt. True too, they initially and wrongly got lumped in with the Texas country-rockish bands that essentially write the same songs over and over again, but ducked that subset pretty quickly. They met Schumacher while playing with DeVotchKa, says Fluitt, and did both Light-Fighter and Lay Low While Crawling and Creeping at the heralded Wave Lab Studio in Tucson.

For the new record, “we tried to capture the dynamics of our live shows.” As well the band up until now, has been doing everything 100% themselves -- and for this record they are working with TopSpin, as well as indie distribution and marketing. “It’s like getting to the top of a mountain and finding a 300-foot wall, you gotta throw a rope over to help you get to the other side,” says Fluitt. Thrift Store Cowboys kick off a month-long tour on West Coast in September, and will be on the road all year in support of Light-Fighter.



THE KERNAL

Based in the halfway point between two Tennessee music meccas, The Kernal is apart yet plugged into the fertile East Nashville music scene. A Southern gentleman with an old soul who is tied deeply to the legacy and showmanship of the wandering musician and the historic Grand Ole Opry, the Kernal will release his upcoming album, LIGHT COUNTRY, on March 3, 2017 on Alabama label Single Lock Records (John Paul White). Along with his band, the New Strangers, the Kernal tours the country with his home-grown brand of Southern mystique, including recent tours with friend and fan John Paul White.

You may have seen or heard The Kernal in his other incarnation as a bass player with such artists as Andrew Combs and Jonny Fritz. But LIGHT COUNTRY introduces us to a funny, whip-smart songwriter and musical stylist on these original tracks. The album opens with the sweeping gospel number, “Where We’re Standing,” which builds to a swirling electric guitar outro. He describes “Knock Kneed Ballerina” as a “shoulder-dance country song and a sort of personal, band-mission statement;” it’s also a knowing nod to the classic sound of ‘70s Nashville Countrypolitan hits and a poignant ode to musical also-rans everywhere. “At the Old Taco Bell” was inspired by a photo of a boarded up, derelict Taco Bell. “It’s about me moving into an abandoned, and therefore affordable, Taco Bell at some point in the future,” he deadpans. Elsewhere he tackles modern domesticity (the Harry Nilsson-esque “Cold Shoulder”), and ends on an apology of sorts for his choice of lifestyle, “I earned my degree but I would rather rake some leaves … Barely eatin’ and meetin’ my rent.”

LIGHT COUNTRY is a family affair, but the family at this point is the family of memory; it was 2010 when the Kernal went into the attic of his childhood home in Pinewood, TN and found his

late father’s red Opry suit (it’s the suit he’s wearing on the album cover). An English major who’s as likely to reference Bela Bartok and Terry Allen as a country music legend, the Kernal was inspired to write his own songs after donning his late father’s red Opry suit. He discovered that it fit and began to feel its mojo. “It was a magic suit,” he confides. “It’s all about old fabrics on new skin, and seeing how they get along.”

“My dad,” the Kernal explains, “met Sleepy LaBeef at Linebaugh’s Restaurant in Nashville. Lonzo & Oscar were looking for a drummer and he asked my dad if he could play a shuffle beat on the table. He did and he left for a 10-day run the next day. It worked out because soon he was playing with Sleepy.” From there, his father found his way to The Kendalls, and eventually to the legendary Del Reeves, with whom he would play until Reeves’ death in 2007. His father died in September of the same year. These memories — this legacy of the old country music way, of rock and roll on the fly — was not lost on the Kernal, and he took it as starting point from which to build his own contribution to Southern music while celebrating its past.

LIGHT COUNTRY also features a snippet of the Kernal’s long-passed relatives singing gospel. He found old reel-to-reel tapes of his family’s gospel singing and was able to transfer the recordings and include snippets of their singing on the album. “They all came from the Rome, Georgia area and go back generations, back to the shape-note singing gospel books of the early Southern churches.”

This sense of place and history makes this an homage to family and the South, filtered through the Kernal’s literate, offbeat humor and sense of what makes a “good” country song. The Kernal inherited more than just a snappy red suit from his late Dad, he inherited his love of music and generations of musical history, as well as a dose of realism about “living the dream.”

This all gives LIGHT COUNTRY a color and depth you don’t often hear with a “young” artist. These songs have their own powerful energy, the chemistry of tension with the old guard and the young gun but with, according to the Kernal, “the respect and love that comes from the South itself.

Pretentious Beer Co.

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Pretentious Beer Co

131 South Central Street

Knoxville, TN 37902

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