February 24, 2018

Bound for the Blue Plate Special

Click to check out the Blue Plate Special on Facebook.

On Monday, December 19th, poetry and roots music from the edge of Appalachia will be taking to the airwaves and cyberspace when Kelsey and I appear on Knoxville WDVX’s Blue Plate Special program along with Tennessee poet laureate Maggi Vaughn and Sweet Fancy Moses, the band that Kelsey’s in.

The one-hour show broadcasts live before a studio audience at noon EST from the Knoxville Visitors Center on the corner of Gay Street and Summit Hill Drive in downtown Knoxville. We’re hoping a number of our Knoxville-area friends can be with us, but for you folks back home in middle Tennessee and elsewhere, the audio is streamed (just remember the time change, those of you in CST, and tune in at 11:00!).

If you listen to bluegrass, old time, Americana, blues, folk, and the like, you may already be familiar with WDVX programming, which has featured some of mine and Kelsey’s favorite performers over the years, such as Darrell Scott, Tim O’Brien, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Abigail Washburn, just to name a few. (It’s going to take every bit of self control I have to not walk in and say, “Now show me exactly where Darrell sat.”)

Kory and Kelsey warm up at the Southern Festival of Books, 2011.

Kelsey, Maggi and I will be doing a program similar to what we did at this year’s Southern Festival of Books: poetry and roots music based on a new book we’ve collaborated on, Don’t Forget This Song: Four Writers Celebrate the Carter Family and Other Roots Musicians. (Unfortunately our other fellow author, Carole Knuth, isn’t going to be able to make it down from New York for this event.) We met WDVX Program Director Tony Lawson at Southern Fest, and he invited us to come east. He did not have to ask twice. (Refer to my fascination with where Darrell Scott sat above.)

Sweet Fancy Moses: Kelsey Wells, Stephen Gallagher, Tara Syester

The other part of the hour will feature Sweet Fancy Moses, a trio of musicians from the middle Tennessee area with Steven Gallagher (of the Gallagher Guitar family) on guitar, Tara Syester on banjo, Kelsey on fiddle and cello, and all of them singing and occasionally throwing in a ukulele or swapping up instruments every so often, just to keep things interesting.

We’re billing the show as “from the edge of Appalachia” because that phrase reflects us geographically and metaphorically. We have to travel a county or two east to be in Appalachia, but our hearts are there because its people (some family, some friends), its music and its history have a hold on each of us in some unique way.

We hope you’ll come out or tune in on the 19th. We’re planning to have a great time.

Video samples of what we do:

Kory and Kelsey perform Kory’s poem “While Working Through a Long List of Saturday Morning Chores”

Kelsey and Stephen  (2/3 of Sweet Fancy Moses) jam on cello and guitar to “Cluck Old Hen”


Click to learn more about this book celebrating the Carter Family and other roots musicians. Online ordering available!





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