Maryville-based band The Drunk Uncles will be one of the participants in WayneStock: For the Love of Drew Friday and Saturday, Jan. 28-29, in the Relix Variety Theater, 1208 N. Central St., in Knoxville.
The Drunk Uncles joins a host of bands that are coming together to honor and raise funds for Knoxville News Sentinel entertainment writer Wayne Bledsoe, who lost his son Andrew, 23, last month. Below is information about what has shaped up to be a great entertainment event for a very special person. -- Sherri Gardner Howell
The name says it all.
For more than a quarter-century, a story in the Knoxville daily paper credited to Wayne Bledsoe meant many things - entertainment, education, criticism and an ear for the sounds of K-town, from the Western swing-meets-honky-tonk of the Lonesome Coyotes to the gritty gutter-punk of Teenage Love.
As a chronicler of music both locally and nationally, Wayne has cultivated not only a loyal reader following, he’s endeared himself to a legion of East Tennessee musicians who value his praise, respect his criticism and count him as a champion - of themselves and of a vibrant, active and long-standing local music scene.
When tragedy befell Wayne and his family last month, it was a horrible sense of deja vu for those who have known him since he started writing about jazz and country music in 1984. (He would take over coverage of rock ‘n’ roll a few years later.) A decade after losing his wife, Ruth, to cancer, Wayne lost his oldest son, 23-year-old Andrew Bledsoe - “Drew” to those who knew him.
Local music scene veterans and up-and-coming players mourned Wayne’s loss and shared his grief. They wanted to act - to do something to give back to a man who had given them so much, whose words had helped sustain their careers and sell their records and bring fans to their shows. They wanted to offer comfort, to do something ... anything ... to give solace to the guy who could make them seem larger than life and credited them with making music that deserved to be heard across the country.
And so they’ve come together to do what they do best - play. On Friday, Jan. 28 and Saturday, Jan. 29, some of the biggest names in the East Tennessee music scene will come together for a benefit lovingly called “WayneStock: For the Love of Drew,” a two-day benefit that will be held at Relix Variety Theatre, 1208 N. Central St. in Knoxville’s historic Downtown North neighborhood (affectionately known as “Happy Holler”).
On the bill is a veritable who’s who of Knoxville musicians, many of whom have known Wayne for more than two decades. The lineup for the nights is an eclectic one, designed to mimic the “All Over the Road” style of Wayne’s long-time radio show, broadcast on WDVX-FM from midnight to 4 a.m., every other Saturday night. Performing on Jan. 28 and 29: Quartjar, Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, the Kevin Abernathy Band, Mic Harrison and The High Score, Senryu, The Drunk Uncles, Katie and the Bass Drums, the Westside Daredevils, the Tim Lee 3, R.B. Morris, The Melungeons and Psychotic Behavior (featuring members of Whitechapel) - the latter of which featured the late Andrew Bledsoe before the band broke up several years ago.
Admission is $5 per night, and the music begins at 7 p.m. each night. Other activities are being planned around the weekend-long event, including an appearance by several of the musicians participating in WayneStock on the WDVX-FM “Blue Plate Special” at noon on Friday, Jan. 28 and on “The Funhouse” on WUTK-FM, 90.3 The Rock, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21, and a “pre-party” at Relix on Thursday, Jan. 27 (the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks).
It’s an opportunity for those who feel they’ve received so much to give back ... a chance for remembrance and celebration ... a time for musicians and fans of all genres, styles and types of music to come together and lift their hands in unity for a guy who’s spent his life uniting an amazing East Tennessee music scene through his words.
We hope you’ll join us. For more information, check out the website set up for this event - www.waynestock.org, and look for further releases and e-mail blasts as the event draws closer.