Calendar of Events

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

WDVX: Blue Plate Special & The Big Plate

Category: Free event, Kids, family and Music

The WDVX Blue Plate Special is a live performance radio show held at noon at Visit Knoxville (301 S. Gay Street) every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with your host Red Hickey… and on Saturday with host Sean McCollough. On Fridays WDVX takes the Blue Plate Special to Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria (200 E Jackson Ave) for “The Big Plate”. Make yourself at home as part of the WDVX family at this this daily free concert series. From blues to bluegrass, country to Celtic, folk to funk, rockabilly to hillbilly, local to international, it’s all part of the live music experience on The WDVX Blue Plate Special.

All seats are free, and visitors may come and go as they please.

Info: 865-544-1029, http://www.wdvx.com

East Tennessee Historical Society: They Sang What They Lived: The Story of Carl and Pearl Butler

Category: Exhibitions, visual art, History, heritage, Kids, family and Music

They Sang What They Lived: The Story of Carl and Pearl Butler is the first retrospective exhibition of Carl and Pearl Butler, the iconic country music duo whose timeless lyrics and harmonious melodies left an indelible mark on country music. With a career spanning over four decades, Carl and Pearl Butler became celebrated figures in the world of country music. “Carl made scores of major-label records during the 1950s,” says Bradley E. Reeves, the exhibition’s guest curator and author of the new book Honky Tonkitis: On the Road with Carl Butler and Pearl. “These are some of the best bluegrass, gospel, and hard country records ever made, although none could be called a massive hit.” That honor would come in 1962, when Carl and Pearl recorded “Don’t Let Me Cross Over.” The song remains among the fastest ever to ascend to No. 1 on Billboard Hot Country Singles. Carl and Pearl’s unique “Knoxville sound,” along with heartfelt lyrics, earned them a dedicated fan base who supported them at performances across the United States and Canada through the 1970s. The exhibition offers visitors a rare glimpse into the lives of these music legends.

Key highlights of the exhibition include:
1. Rare Family Archives: Museum guests will have the opportunity to view the Allen “Junior” Butler Family Collection, which has been made publicly available for the first time and includes never-before-seen photographs, home movies, original instruments, and stage costumes that belonged to Carl and Pearl Butler. “I’m grateful to Allen Butler and his family for opening their home and archives to share with us,” says Reeves.
2. Musical Journey: Explore the duo's musical journey through a feature film, which transports visitors through various periods of their career and traces their unfiltered, raw singing style, one that derived from and advanced the “Knoxville sound.”
3. Behind-the-Scenes: Gain insight into the lives of Carl and Pearl Butler through never-before-seen family photographs and recently uncovered anecdotes from the family and fellow musicians, including Dolly Parton who viewed the Butlers as her “second parents.” “Despite their successes,” says Adam Alfrey, Assistant Director for Historical Services at Knox County Public Library, “Carl and Pearl faced personal and professional struggles, which are intimately documented through the family’s photographs.”
4. Interpretive Experience: Engage with the exhibition to understand how both Knoxville and Nashville played a role in the development of country music. Also, learn how chart-topping artists can quickly become all but forgotten, even in their hometown. “The Butlers somehow fell through the cracks,” reflects Reeves. “It’s my hope that this book and exhibition will contribute to a reappreciation of their great body of work.”
They Sang What They Lived: The Story of Carl and Pearl Butler promises to be a heartfelt educational experience for country music enthusiasts and fans of all ages. It serves as a testament to the enduring influence of Carl and Pearl Butler on the world of music.

At 5:00 pm, Friday, October 6, 2023, there will be an opening reception for They Sang What They Lived: The Story of Carl and Pearl Butler. The event will include a meet and greet with Carl and Pearl Butler’s family, a book signing by guest curator Bradley E. Reeves, and an exhibition of Appalachian musical pioneer paintings by artist Amy Campbell. At 7:00 pm, there will be a “Tribute to Carl and Pearl,” opened by a performance of the Paul Brewster and Friends Band, comprised of 14-year-old mandolin prodigy Wyatt Ellis and Grand Ole Opry performers Daniel Grindstaff, Kent Blanton, Stephen Burwell, and John Meador. A screening of 8mm home movies shot by the Butlers (watch for an appearance by 10-year-old Dolly Parton), as well as some of the Butlers’ rarest television appearances, will conclude the evening.

East Tennessee Historical Society, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, TN 37902. Museum hours: M-F 9-4, Sa 10-4, Su 1-5. Information: 865-215-8824, www.eastTNhistory.org/lights-camera