Young musicians ready to give music its due at Last Friday Art Walk

“A Tribute to Music,” the August event of the Last Friday Art Walk, has become eagerly anticipated as local musicians play at different venues throughout downtown Maryville alongside artists who display their works.

Will Tate and Six Mile Express, a group of young musicians who play a montage of musical styles, will appear at a relatively new venue to the art walk. The group will entertain at The Market at Washington and High will host the group, whose musical menu include bluegrass, jazz and swing with some funk thrown into the mix.

Last Friday Art Walk is on Friday, Aug. 25. The band at The Market will start around 6:30 p.m.

“We’re all influenced by different kinds of music,” front man Tate said in describing the type of music they perform.

New member Matt Nelson, the bassist, agreed that their music covers a broad range. “We’re trying to explore the music we like.”

The band includes members, Tate, 18; brothers Garrett and Gavin Gregg, 20 and 17 respectively; Nelson, 19; and Tom Cook, 20. Tate and the Greggs, who have been playing together for more than a year, met at Rocky Branch Community Center during jamming sessions. Nelson and Cook joined them in the last month or so. The new members have also played together in the past at church and other venues. Cook plays the Cajon, a percussion instrument that looks like a box with bellows.

They may be young (four are in college, and one is still in high school), but talent doesn’t have an age requirement. Tate, who plays the banjo, started playing the piano when he was only four years old and has been playing banjo for nine years.

Garrett Gregg, who plays the guitar, does most of the vocals, but younger brother Gavin, on the mandolin, made his singing debut at a recent Clayton Center performance. Both brothers have rich, resonating voices, that belie their age.

Mike Adams, the manager at The Market, said Six Mile Express played there for an earlier event, and he’s excited to have them back.

“I was just blown away the first time I heard them,” he said. “They’re talented beyond their years. I can see these boys going someplace.”

In addition to their musical talents, they have a great stage presence with high energy that engages the audience, he said.

“I just don’t think you can find a better group of young men,” Adams said. “They’re great kids, very talented.”

The band has had several concerts lately including at the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Friday Nights Live Music Series and the Blount County Public Library’s Hot Summer Nights Concert Series and will soon appear at Dollywood. The group also has just released a CD, “Down the Road,” that includes the title track and the perennial favorite “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

From their time spent at Rocky Branch, the group has developed a fan base, some of whom came out for the recent Clayton concert.

This Tribute to Music will be the fourth annual event and will showcase several different musicians and artists from 5-9 p.m. The Foothills Community Players will also have several actors portraying characters from its upcoming September production of “Bus Stop,” who will roam along Broadway Avenue.

The tribute was established to show the connection between the arts, and how artists of all types rely on music for inspiration and integration into their work, said Katie Gamble, president of Maryville Arts Coalition, the art walk’s sponsor.

“The idea is to show how different forms of art are influenced by each other,” she said. “It’s our hope that the community can see the way the disciplines influence each other and how the artist interprets the music and how it (the music) influences the work.”

Artists are invited to bring their easels that night and work on a piece while the musicians are playing. Those artists who actively participate by creating work during the event are invited to a reception on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 5-7 p.m. at The Tomato Head. They should bring their work to set up displays at 4 p.m. The public can come by to see the created works.

Gamble said she expects a big crowd at the Tribute to Music.

“The Tribute to Music is our biggest Last Friday of the year,” Gamble said. “The music really seems to draw people out.”

For more information about the August line up of musicians and artists, please visit maryvilleartwalk.com.

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