Indie artists perform at Smart & Becker

Two Nashville-native artists, Augustus Carroll and Austin Feinstein, performed with local artist Daje Morris in an intimate concert at the Smart & Becker Wednesday night.

As Carroll and Feinstein planned to perform in Knoxville, Morris reached out to the touring duo and helped to book their appearance.

Feinstein opened the show with his first song, “Side by Side.”

“It is sort of my anthem to dealing with the darkness that is in my life,” he said of his first song. “Saying that no matter who comes to me with any problems or whatever darkness that is in my life, it is not going to hold me down.”

The southern-folk artist explained that he did not become passionate about performing and writing music until last year. His inspiration for writing seriously resulted from a break-up last year. Feinstein first learned to play guitar at age 11, but he now focuses more on his music and writing.

“I’m still learning the ropes,” Feinstein said.

After Feinstein finished his set with “Oh Heaven,” Morris performed songs and poems. She began with “Come,” a song infused with both singing and spoken-word poetry. Morris finds inspiration through her memories and other poems.

“Poetry and music is a way for me to process noise and that how I can stay grounded,” Morris explained. She said memories sometimes infiltrate her thoughts and distract her from living. “Music and poetry is a way for me to clear that.”

While Morris receives her inspiration through tragic memories and other poets, Carroll gains his inspiration through everyday occurrences.

“It could be just a thought I have throughout the day or just one occurring thing,” he said.

Carroll began his set with “Ghost” along with a cover of Leon Bridge’s song, “River” to which the crowd sang along.

Feinstein and Carroll continue their tour in three more cities. They will perform next in Asheville, North Carolina. Morris will perform at the Kuumba Festival next Friday, June 22.


Image TNJN archives

Edited by Lexie Little


Opinion: 2018 Oscars Predictions

Nearly ninety years have passed since Douglas Fairbanks took the stage of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to host the first Academy Awards. “Wings” won the first best picture statue in 1929, but who will take home the Oscar this year?

Best Picture:

“The Shape of Water” produced by Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale

Although “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” took home the Golden Globe in this category, the academy’s selection typically differs from that of the Hollywood Foreign Press. “The Shape of Water” received 13 nominations, only one nod behind the record holders: “La La Land,” “All About Eve” and “Titanic.” Both “All About Eve” and “Titanic” won the Oscar for best picture. If nominations alone are any indication, “The Shape of Water” may be immortalized with a win.

Actor in a Leading Role:

Gary Oldman “Darkest Hour”

Oldman’s portrayal makes him the clear-cut favorite for this category. His performance as Winston Churchill earned him the awards for best actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Golden Globes.

Actress in a Leading Role:

Frances McDormand “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

McDormand took best actress at both the SAG Awards and Golden Globes. Saoirse Ronan of “Lady Bird” sits at a close second. Ronan won the Golden Globe for Leading Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Meryl Streep, who just broke her own record for the most nominations (21), might win yet another award. However, McDormand still stands as the favorite. McDormand previously won the Oscar for her performance in “Fargo.”

Actor in a Supporting Role:

Willem Dafoe “The Florida Project”

Yet to win an Oscar, Dafoe’s moment is overdue. This category could be the only win of the night for “The Florida Project.” Perhaps the academy will look to reward the film with a Dafoe win.

Actress in a Supporting Role:

Winner: Allison Janney “I, Tonya”

Janney continually proves her consummate skill in her craft. She received the SAG Award and the Golden Globe for best supporting actress. With only one other nomination for “I, Tonya,” Janney may well chalk up a win for the biopic about figure skater Tonya Harding.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name” screenplay by James Ivory

Based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman, this independent film is projected to win because of its flawless transition to the screen. This film also won the SAG Award in the same category. Ivory is tied for the record of oldest man nominated for a competitive Academy Award at age 89.

Best Original Screenplay:

“Get Out” written by Jordan Peele

Peele is only the fourth African American man to be nominated in this category. A win for “Get Out” would make him the first black man to do so. This film revolutionized societal perception through parallels Peele created to show how little society has actually evolved.

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air at 8:00 p.m. this Sunday, March 4.


Featured photo: Flickr

Edited by Lexie Little

Vienna Coffee Company visits campus, promotes brand

With midterms approaching, caffeine consumption is on the rise at the University of Tennessee.

The UPerk coffee shop welcomed students to partake in a free tasting provided by the Vienna Coffee Company Tuesday evening. UPerk, the not-for-profit coffee shop located in the UKirk ministry house, receives its coffee supply from the company which serves many local restaurants, churches and schools.

Students sampled both a Honduran and Costa Rican coffee and learned more about the production process.

“It was super cool,” Mary Grace Reynolds, UPerk’s hospitality intern, said. “Each coffee we tasted, we learned about where it’s from and the regions in which it was produced. It felt really special and exciting.”

Vienna Coffee Company provides samples of its new Foothills coffee at UPerk campus coffee house in Knoxville Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Lauren Claxton/TNJN

Phillip Hatter, director of coffee and training at Vienna, discussed the distinct flavor differences in the new Foothills Series Coffee. Hatter said Vienna takes pride in its product transparency and its ability to trace the coffee back to the production farms.

UPerk’s coffee, Hatter explained, is a combination of 40 percent Ethiopian coffee and 60 percent from Papua New Guinea. Vienna offers certified organic coffee and supports direct trade.

With a new location in the downtown Knoxville Regas Building, Vienna brews close to campus until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students will receive a discount if they bring their student ID. Students can also receive Vienna coffee every weekday until 11 p.m. at UPerk.


Open since August, UPerk offers coffee shop qualities in the middle of campus. All students are welcome. UPerk also hosts events like open mic nights, concerts and public speakers.


Featured Photo by Lauren Claxton

Edited by Lexie Little

Brad Paisley tour visits Vols

On Feb. 22, country music superstar Brad Paisley brought his “Weekend Warrior World Tour”  to Thompson-Boling Arena, the site of several country music tours slated for this year that attract fans from across the nation.

However, the home crowd became the focus in Paisley’s show. University of Tennessee students especially enjoyed the concert. Paisley even asked a UT business major to join him on stage for a song at the beginning of his set. 

Paisley continued to embrace the crowd and the venue. Though he played hit songs like “Whiskey Lullaby,” Paisley appealed to the audience by playing “Rocky Top.”

Being a Vol fan, Paisley reminded the crowd college football kicks off in September. The Vols face off against Paisley’s other favorite team, West Virginia, in a neutral site matchup Sept. 1. Paisley infuses his support into his music. In the music video for Paisley’s “Country Nation,” he wears a split jersey: half Mountaineer, half Volunteer.

Paisley further expressed his support on stage. He shocked a young fan when he gave him a signed guitar. Next to the signature, Paisley drew a “Power T” for Tennessee.

“You gotta learn how to play it now,” Paisley said. “Now that’s how you make a Kenny Chesney.”

Chesney, a fellow country artist, also supports the Vols. His song “Touchdown Tennessee” pays tribute to John Ward, famed former voice of the Vols.

Country artists embrace Tennessee, as Thompson-Boling attracts country acts each year. Couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill brought their tour to the arena last September. Paisley kept the trend alive as Thompson-Boling prepares to host Miranda Lambert next week. Chris Stapleton brings his tour to Knoxville this October.

In addition to well-established artists, Thompson-Boling also hosts up-and-coming musicians invited to tour.

Opening acts Lindsay Ell, Chase Bryant and Dustin Lynch kicked off the Feb. 22 concert with several songs, including Lynch’s  “Small Town Boy” which currently sits at No. 43 on the iTunes Country chart.

For information about upcoming events at Thompson-Boling click here.

For Brad Paisley fan and tour information visit:


Featured Image by TNJN

Edited by Lexie Little

7 Touchdown dishes for your Super Bowl party

New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m.

Super Bowl 52 featuring the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles will be played in U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota Sunday. You may not attend the game, but you might need some snacks.
Whether you’re hosting a party or going to someone else’s party, here are seven dishes that will score big on game day.

The Seven-Layer Dip

1 ½ cups sour cream
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles
1 can (16 oz) Old El Paso™ refried beans
1 package (8 oz) refrigerated guacamole
1 ½ cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)
1 cup pico de gallo
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
¼ cup sliced green onions
Tortilla chips, as desired

First, spread refried beans out along the bottom of a bowl or casserole dish. Then, mix together the sour cream, taco seasoning mix and green chiles in a separate bowl. Once mixed, spread over the beans.
For the next layer, put guacamole over the beans and sour cream mix. Top with cheese, pico de gallo, olives and green onions.
Serve with tortilla chips.
Refrigerate before and after serving. Recipe courtesy of

By Sunil.verma84 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 bunch celery, cleaned and cut into 4 inch pieces
1 (8 ounce) box chicken-flavored crackers

First, combine the chicken and pepper sauce together and heat until warm. Then, combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing and half of the shredded cheese with the chicken in a crockpot (if you have one) and cook on low for 40 minutes or until bubbly.
May be served with the chicken-flavored crackers, crackers of your choice or different vegetables. Recipe courtesy of

PiccoloNamek at English Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Dip

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips
8 oz pkg Reese’s peanut butter cup Minis (or about 1 1/2 cup chopped Reese’s cups)

Over medium heat, melt the butter and mix in the brown sugar and peanut butter. Mix until the sugar dissolves and immediately remove from heat to cool.
Then, in another bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar for around 4 minutes or until creamy.
Once the brown sugar and peanut butter mixture cools, mix into the cream cheese on a low setting.
Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips and peanut butter cups. Your dip is then ready to be enjoyed with pretzels, animal crackers, vanilla wafers or whatever else you would like.
Put in the refrigerator before and after serving.  Recipe courtesy of

Walking taco ingredients/ Photo by Jodimichelle:Flikr Creative Commons

Walking Tacos

1 Tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 small jalapenos, seeds removed, diced
1 lb. ground beef
2 1/2 Tablespoons homemade taco seasoning or 1 packet of taco seasoning
1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
1 14 ounce can kidney beans
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
4 Frito bags-make sure they are all corn if you’re gluten free
Shredded lettuce
Shredded Mexican Cheese blend
Sour Cream

Over medium heat, melt butter and saute chopped onions until softened. Then add jalapeños and saute for 2-3 minutes.
After the onions and jalapeños are cooked, add the ground beef to the pan and brown. Drain excess fat and mix in taco seasoning.
Then, combine tomato sauce, kidney beans and drained diced tomatoes to the pan. Cook and stir until heated through.
Finally, add mixture to Frito chip bag and top with cheese, sour cream or whatever else you like. Recipe courtesy of

Pigskins in a Blanket

By Photo credit: stef yau [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
48 cocktail-size smoked link sausages or hot dogs
Yellow Mustard

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and open each package. Separate the dough. After separating, cut each piece into three triangles.
Starting from the point of the dough, roll one sausage and dough until reaching the end. Place them seam down on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 11-14 minutes or until golden brown. Change the position of the cookie sheet halfway through baking.
Remove from oven and transfer to serving tray and let cook for 2 minutes.
Once cooled, use the mustard to create football laces on top of the crescent dogs. Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury.

Oven Baked Chicken Wings

By RM Bulseco from Davao City, Philippines. (Singapore Night Life.) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
3 lb. chicken wings, split at the joint, wing tips removed and discarded
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels and toss in oil. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and baking powder.
Grease rimmed sheet pans with olive oil and spread chicken in a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, then broil until golden brown – 7 to 10 minutes. Recipe courtesy of

Sloppy-Joe Sliders

1 lb. of ground beef
½ chopped onion
1 package of King’s Hawaiian rolls
1 ½ cup of Ketchup
1 Tbsp of Mustard
½ cup of BBQ sauce
Garlic powder
Seasoned salt

In a medium pan, add the chopped onion and ground beef. You’ll want to season the ground beef with garlic powder and seasoned salt. Cook over medium heat until the meat is completely cooked. Drain the excess fat.
Then, pour the ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce into the meat and onions. Mix until everything is combined evenly.
After mixing, slice the Hawaiian rolls horizontally so that there are bottoms and tops. Put the bottom section of rolls in a casserole dish and then layer the meat on top. Place the top section of the rolls on the meat and gently press the layers together.
You can serve them as is, or you can heat them up in a oven set at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

No matter where you are, enjoy the Super Bowl with some easy and delicious treats!

Featured Image obtained from 

Edited by Lexie Little

The photographer behind the iPhone

Knoxville-based travel photographer Corey Wolfenbarger worked on four continents with several popular companies. He still does not understand how he earned his opportunities.

“Sometimes you do not know how these things happen,” Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger, 24, visited the University of Tennessee Wednesday, Jan. 31 for a talk in Lindsey Young Auditorium at John C. Hodges Library. He shared his photography journey and a few photo editing tips from apps on his smartphone.

Wolfenbarger got his start on Instagram and Tumblr in 2012. Now, his portfolio contains photos from companies like TOMS, Urban Outfitters and Holiday Inn.

Equipped with only his iPhone 5, he set his sights on the Blue Ridge Mountains and took as many photos as possible.

“I was sharing them on Instagram and getting twenty likes,” Wolfenbarger said. “Nobody was hyping my stuff but I was still really hyped on it.”

Wolfenbarger’s life revolved around photography during his college career. He often skipped class.

“I decided that if I took photos at sunrise or sunset then my photos were going to be way better,” Wolfenbarger said. “So, I would make the executive decision to not go to class anymore.”

In 2014, he decided to drop out of college. He moved in with his parents and turned his scope to the Great Smokey Mountains. Almost every day, Wolfenbarger took trips to the mountains. His photos gained popularity on social media.

New Year’s Eve 2015, something clicked to Wolfenbarger.

Surrounded by talented and successful photographers, he knew he could make a living by taking photos.

“I saw that if I work as hard as I can and stay humble and realize that I don’t know everything… give it my all and that I can do this and people will pay me eventually,” Wolfenbarger said. “If it was little at the time or whether it as nothing. I can make a living with this.”

By 2016, Wolfenbarger’s popularity increased, and he received requests to take photos. All he had at the time was his iPhone.

“I just had an iPhone,” Wolfenbarger said. “I was not going to out myself so I would make up some obscure excuse why I could not do it.”

He decided if he wanted to receive serious pay-work, he should buy a DSLR camera. New technology became a setback for Wolfenbarger because he only shot photos from his iPhone prior to requests. He knew he needed to progress.

“The DLSR was terrifying for me,” Wolfenbarger said. “I did not know how they worked. I did not know how I was going to edit my photos.”

Wolfenbarger initially struggled to learn the basics like aperture and shutter speed.

“When it clicks for you, it’s the most beautiful moment of all time,” Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger received many opportunities to work with companies in 2016, a “dream year” full of travel and unexpected chances.

Wolfenbarger continues to learn and strives to improve his photography. He is currently working several booklets and plans to travel to Yosemite National Park.

“It is very frustrating and it does have a lot of setbacks, but it is where I am at in my work right now in my photography,” Wolfenbarger said. “I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

Edited by Chelsea Babin

Featured Photo by Sage Davis