Banjo duo Willow and Jesse to play at the library

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Readers

It’s not every day that you hear music wafting through the stacks at the library. But what better combo is there than music and books? Drop by Lawson McGhee Library (500 W. Church Ave) this Sunday, January 14 at 2 p.m. to hear some of Knoxville’s most talented musicians. Virtuoso banjo duo, Willow and Jesse, will launch Music on the Mezzanine, a performance/lecture series hosted by Taber Gable, who is himself one of the bright and shining stars of Knoxville’s wildly eclectic and collaborative music scene. Through the series, Taber will present musicians from various musical genres performing and talking about their music.

Willow Osborne started playing banjo at age 4 and studied under Gary “Biscuit” Davis, the four-time International Banjo Champion. Born and raised in Pigeon Forge, her first stage experience was at Dollywood where she held lead roles in several musical productions. She has performed with Rhonda Vincent, the U.S. Navy Bluegrass Band and Pat Flynn.

Jesse Blue Eads was on track for a degree in jazz until the banjo bug bit him and his life took a dramatic turn. He traveled from California and ended up in East Tennessee where he met Willow Osborne and the two became partners in music as well as in life.

Other Music on the Mezzanine performances include:

Sunday, January 21, at 2 p.m.:

Taber welcomes the Americana/country duo, WestWend. Steeped in the Southern music tradition from classic country and delta blues to bluegrass and Motown, Wendy and Jonathan Maness make music that is at once traditional and contemporary.

Sunday, February 4, at 2:

Marcel Holman is one of the most astonishing people in Knoxville. He arranged and performed music with groups like Peaches and Herb and the Bar Kays. After retiring from the USPS, he earned a degree in microbiology and a master’s in biomedical nutrition. Between research and going to conferences, he resumed a full-time career in music composing, recording and becoming a mainstay on the Knoxville performance scene. An impeccable musician and individual. No wonder Taber considers him a mentor.

Sunday, February 11, at 2: 

As an early valentine to Knoxville music lovers, Taber will present the internationally acclaimed jazz musician, Donald Brown. As one of Taber’s first piano teachers, Donald exemplified the enormous rewards of following one’s dreams and allowing creativity to flourish. Donald took to heart what he learned as a young pianist on the most demanding proving ground in the jazz world, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. That is to play your best, create at the highest level that you can and pass on the tradition to the next generation.

All programs are free and open to the public. Music on the Mezzanine is made possible by an Arts Build Communities grant from Arts & Culture Alliance and Tennessee Arts Commission.

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library


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