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.

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Daje Morris performs original music and poetry at the Smart & Becker. June 13, 2018. Sage Davis/TNJN

“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.

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Augustus Carroll performs solo during his tour with Austin Feinstein in Knoxville, June 13, 2018. Sage Davis/TNJN

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.

 

Images by Sage Davis

Edited by Lexie Little

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

 

Knoxville Celebrates Women’s Suffrage with New Monument

The City of Knoxville and the Women’s Suffrage Coalition unveiled the Burn Memorial Saturday, honoring Febb Burn and her son Harry Burn and their work in gaining women’s suffrage.

“Persuading a majority of Southern gentlemen to give power to women was anything but an easy task,” said Wanda Sobieski, an attorney and founder of the Woman Suffrage Coalition. “Ultimately though, Tennessee was the final ratification needed to allow women of all colors, of all religions, of all races, of all ethnic backgrounds to have full voting rights.”

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Attendees placed yellow roses on the memorial to commemorate the suffragists who fought for the right to vote.

Harry Burn was a state representative who was slated to vote against women’s suffrage to align himself with his constituents. However, after reading a letter from his mother, Febb Burn, he changed his vote and broke a tie in the Tennessee House of Representatives, passing the 19th Amendment nationwide. The statue depicts Harry Burn sitting in a chair and his mother standing next to him.

Mayor Rogero recounted a brief history of women’s rights, saying that Americans should rise to meet challenges and teach younger generations what is right, like Febb and Harry Burn did in 1920.

Rogero emphasized the importance of uniting to move forward and said that it took not only the women, but also support from “fair minded” men and abolitionists like Frederick Douglas.

“Remember all those years of poll taxes, the Jim Crow laws and even today we see laws passed that restrict our right to vote,” Rogero said of the future of voting rights. “We can’t take our voting rights for granted or discount efforts to disenfranchise or intimidate voters based on their ae, race, or ability.”

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Marchers were encouraged to dress in vintage 1920s attire, the decade the 19th Amendment was passed.

Singer-songwriter Candace Corrigan performed two songs she composed for the event. Both inspired by women’s rights, the lyrics of “Say it Loud” were taken from a Knoxville suffragist’ speech and “Hurrah Son and Vote for Suffrage” is a lyrical transcription of Febb Burn’s letter to her son.

Several groups met at the City County Building and marched to Market Square and then convened at Krutch Park for the unveiling of the statue. Mayor Rogero was joined by City Council members Gwen McKenzie, Lauren Rider and Seema Singh Perez to unveil the statue.

 

Knoxville, Dobson turn out for Gun Violence Awareness Day

“Innocent lives matter. Our kid’s lives matter. Our lives matter,” says Zenobia Dobson, mother of the late Zaevion Dobson, at Mom’s Demand Action’s picnic for Gun Violence Awareness Day last Saturday.

Dobson, president of the Zaevion Dobson Foundation, was joined by other activists and community organizers at West Hills Park on Saturday to raise awareness for gun violence.

“Sometimes I’m lost for words. My life changed when I saw my baby boy murdered in a senseless act of gun violence.”

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Zenobia Dobson wrote a message on the sidewalk to remember her son.

Dobson said she’s committed to ending gun violence in her community and said her son’s life should be an inspiration for others to stand up and make communities safer. School programs, local hospitals, and first responders all have resources for education and safety from gun violence, according to Dobson. A number of “gun sense” candidates were also in attendance, including Jaime Ballinger, who is running for state senate, and Joshua Williams and Renee Hoyos, who are running for Knoxville’s federal representative seat.

“We are here to lift each other up and create a future free of gun violence,” organizer Lisa Plawchan said.

Community organizer Andre Canty said gun violence is “as normal as apple pie,” but said he hopes people could make change in the culture.

“In the 1950s and the 1960s, they were going through a lot worse, getting killed in the streets, getting hung, lynched, but people stepped up, no matter what the danger was and made things happen,” Canty said.

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Andre Canty asks the crowd to not count on any power, but to take power themselves.

Canty also said that the civil rights movement took many years before it was established in American society and that ending gun violence will be no different.

“I know that no matter how our White House is, no matter how our state legislature is, we’ve got people that are willing to work. Politicians alone are not going to make this happen. It’s up to the people.”

Dobson said that “Society has failed our youth,” and that all children have a right to be safe in their neighborhoods. Canty said he saw many young people at the March for Our Lives that inspire him to keep pushing for change.

“The young people are not going to be talked to anymore. They’re going to be talked with. In fact, we are going to listen to them.”

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Attendees formed a chain to remember victims of gun violence.

The day is also known as National Wear Orange Day because it is the colors hunters wear to be seen clearly and avoid danger.

Brittney’s whirlwind to success

Written by Taylor Moore

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has various stand out college programs, especially within the College of Communication and Information. Many students have gone on to get jobs at the world’s largest publications and television media. One southern girl, Brittney Bryant, proves you can make the most of UT’s communication program and land a pretty amazing job.

UT alumna, Brittney Bryant, is a meteorologist at the Mid-South’s leading multi-media company at WMC Action News 5 in Memphis, Tennessee. Nevertheless, this goal-driven young woman didn’t get where she is without putting in the work.

Bryant graduated from Ridgeway High School in 2007 in east Memphis. Her college selection process in her senior year didn’t exactly go as planned.

“I had all these different schools I applied to. Most of them were out of state; I think UT was the only school I applied to that was in state,” Bryant said. “When it really came down to it, I started looking into costs versus gain.”

With hopes to attend an out-of-state college, Bryant realized that a degree from an out of state college wouldn’t be as valuable as a degree from UT in “one of the finest journalism programs in the U.S,” as stated by Bryant. She visited the campus and fell head over Tennessee hills.

“The broadcasting program was fantastic,” Bryant said. “For someone that lives in Tennessee, you cannot beat the value and the gain that you get from going to the University of Tennessee.”

Bryant honed her skills in broadcasting, writing and reporting during her time at UT.

“As far as learning to be a better broadcaster, Dr. Swan was really great at showing us what needed to be done in order for you to be better; be more creative, do more stand-ups, do more things, etcetera.”

Dr. Swan, director of internationalization and outreach, is still a vital part of the communication program many students come in contact with during their time here. Bryant took two classes from Dr. Swan: TV news reporting and producing. He said Bryant worked hard in school to get where she is.

“She was very personable, excellent on-camera skills and a great student.  She took advantage of all opportunities including a special trip to New York to tour the networks.”

Bryant realized that she didn’t have to stay in the broadcast bubble when it came to joining media outlets. She wrote for the Tennessee Journalist and was on WUTK 90.3 The Rock.

“Benny Smith at WUTK is one of the best people,” Bryant said. “He literally just pushes you to be better. He welcomed me into that station. He eventually promoted me to music director there to pick different music and talk to different promoters from record labels. And he made it to where I even got a paycheck eventually. It also really helped me work on my broadcast voice.”

Benny Smith is the general manager and program director for Volunteer Radio 90.3 The Rock. He shared a lot about “Brittney B,” the name she became known as on the air and around the station.

“Brittney was part of a very successful music department group while here, and she did a fantastic job for us.  She learned how to juggle many responsibilities, and it was a rare occasion that I ever had to remind her of what was needing done as far as her respective tasks,” Smith said.  “ I admired her even-headed approach to her tasks, and her determination to make sure a job that she started was also completed, and in the way we needed it to be done. She did an amazing job while here, and we miss her.”

By the time she was a junior, Bryant knew she wanted to be a meteorologist.

“I suggested a master’s degree offered by Mississippi State,” Swan said. “And that’s what she did.”

Bryant graduated in 2011 with her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Information with a focus in broadcast news and went to Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi for meteorology.

It was a tough four years for Bryant. Physics, math and other complex things went into her major, but by the end of the program, she knew those subjects had made an impact on her as a broadcast meteorologist.

“Thankfully from UT, I already knew how to do the broadcast side of things. I already had my broadcast voice and look.”

While at MSU, Bryant was an instructor for the beginning TV production class and enrolled in a storm chasing class where she was taught how to follow tornadoes while out in the field.

Bryant got a job in South Carolina straight out of school in 2014 at WMBF-TV where she did traffic on the weekdays and weather on the weekend. Although it was enough pay to cover living expenses, there wasn’t much money left for anything outside of that. Because of this, she had to nanny on the side.

She later transferred to her current job and was later promoted.

Bryant credits her inspiration for becoming a meteorologist to her stepfather Brian Teigland, who was also a Memphis meteorologist.

“I got to grow up having someone who could answer my questions about the weather. He really sparked my interest in weather,” she said. “I was really scared to go on with this path and follow in his footsteps, but he was always super encouraging and with him being in this business, I had a lot of allies at UT and at Mississippi State.”

Bryant advises students to network and meet people who can help you get to the pinnacle of success. She found out about a lot of different jobs and opportunities through people she went to school with or people she had met at internships.

“Find someone that can mentor you and already has that job you want,” Bryant said. “Chances are, that person would love to help you.”

In addition to being a meteorologist, Bryant also has a fashion blog that she started in college. She got into it at MTSU so she could tell people what they want to know, which is what to wear based on the weather.

“It’s nice to have something that’s just yours. It’s likely going to be something that makes you happy.”

Bryant advises those wanting to achieve their dreams to hustle. She worked endlessly to know everything about the business front and back. The more you know, the more successful you’re going to be and the more people are going to respect you.

“If you want to be on top, every single day you have to be working to be better,” Bryant said. “No one is going to work as hard for you as you work for yourself. It’s not easy, and it can be stressful, but there’s a lot of reward in this business.”

Featured image courtesy of Taylor Moore

Edited by Taylor Owens

VOLT bids farewell to seniors, spring semester

On the final Monday evening before exams, a cappella group VOLT hosted its spring concert in Alumni Memorial Building.

The co-ed a cappella group debuted in 2015. Though relatively new to UT, the group does not shy away from any challenge, performing a wide variety of songs. “Mi Gente” originally performed by J Balvin and Willy William became an early crowd favorite.

Spencer Morrell, a current VOLT member, weighed in on his favorite piece from the evening.

“I’d have to say my favorite song that we performed at this concert was ‘Moonlight’ by Ariana Grande which we mashed up with ‘Moonlight Sonata’ by Ludwig van Beethoven,” Morrell said. “The song has beautiful jazz beats and the sonata meshes incredibly well with the pop song. It’s fun to perform and our soloist, Allison, does an incredible job.”

Morell sings bass in the group. However, joining VOLT never occurred to him until a previous member on Pedestrian Walkway asked him about his singing background. “The rest is history” he said.

Morrell, a history major, represents the diverse backgrounds of VOLT. The group, coming from various academic departments, looks to be active across campus. Recently, the Imagine campaign for SGA invited them to perform in Presidential Court.

Like the singers’ backgrounds, their sound encompasses a mix of sounds and genres. While the concert proved lively, bittersweet feelings permeated the end as the members bid farewell to graduating seniors. In the final song, VOLT alumni joined members on stage to perform their swan song, “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay.”

VOLT plans to keep growing and will return in the fall.

Written by Lauren Claxton

Featured Image courtesy of VOLT on Facebook

Design by Sarah Smith