Perfect picks for under the tree

Betsy PickleArts 865

People have been complaining about this year’s encroachment of Christmas-shopping propaganda for a while now. Yes, Labor Day is too early for stores to launch displays of red and green. No, we shouldn’t overlook the celebration of Thanksgiving and fail to appreciate all our blessings.

But Christmas is now just six weeks away, and it’s time to get real about shopping, starting with music and comedy lovers.


Tommy Emmanuel

And talk about timing: How about “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”? (No sacrilege intended!) Legendary Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will perform March 12 at the Tennessee Theatre. I, personally, don’t know what I’m doing next week, but those who plan ahead should crank up their interwebs: Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, on Ticketmaster.

Emmanuel was a professional musician by the age of 6. Inspired by hearing Chet Atkins on the radio, he developed a fingerpicking style that has earned him international kudos. Gifting tickets to his show will make you a very popular spouse/partner – or aunt/uncle, etc.

Speaking of legends, Elton John has added a Knoxville appearance to his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour. He will perform Saturday, June 6, at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22.

Sir Elton, who will be 73 when he comes to Knoxville, began his farewell tour in September 2018 in Allentown, Pa. He missed a great chance to call it the “A to Z” tour by scheduling his Zurich show for Oct. 6, 2020. Instead, he’ll wrap up (supposedly) with three concerts in London in December 2020.

Nate Bargatze

“The Tennessee Kid,” Nate Bargatze, has extended his “Good Problem To Have” comedy tour into 2020, and the tour’s second leg will include a stop in Knoxville on Feb. 1 at the Civic Auditorium.

Bargatze, who’s from Nashville, has earned acclaim for his Netflix special, “The Tennessee Kid,” as well as his years of working the festival circuit. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at

So, my friends, you’ve just taken care of a big chunk of your Christmas shopping, and you didn’t even have to leave the house. You’re welcome.

Betsy Pickle is a veteran entertainment, features and news reporter best known as the longtime film critic for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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