My husband and I had stood on the stage at the Knoxville Tourist Center on Saturday, the rows of blue plates lined up neatly behind and WDVX On Air. But the main event was missing: the music of The Blue Plate Special! I made a date with myself to go back on Monday from noon to 1 just to see what all the hoopla was about.
I arrived around 12:15 only to find every seat taken — even around the periphery where fans dined on hot sandwiches, soup, and salad from the Coop Cafe.
Anna served up my choice: Southwestern Chicken Salad (smoothly shredded chicken, black beans, and a kick!) and White Bean and Ham Soup — well-seasoned with fat chunks of flavorful ham!
A gentleman shared his table with me, and I was set to listen to Brendan James Wright and The Wrongs — little bit country, every bit enjoyable. Brendan was personable, talking almost one-to-one with the audience between each song, and even halfway apologizing for one about mean women. We’re really nice guys, he said. We just sing about some bad times! The crowd warmed up immediately as if they identified, and then just sat back to listen to the next one.
Red Hickey, host of the mid-day show, sits in the back and banters with the musicians. She’s seasoned. Been around music and crowds and seems comfortable with both. Wearing cowgirl boots and a swingy skirt, she speaks in measured bits, never hurried. By her own admission in the bio online, If I haven’t found the perfect job for a gal like me then ‘grits ain’t groceries.‘
Some people stayed a short time, but most had been there since 12 and stayed ’til the end. After all, where ya gonna find good music, warm-hearted singers, and an intimate setting right in the middle of a city — all for free?