Longtime Knoxville singer-songwriter-guitarist Jim Myers will perform a free concert at Carpe Librum Booksellers in Bearden 4-6 p.m Saturday, July 26.
Myers, a fixture on the local folk circuit—from Vestival and the WDVX Blue Plate Special to the floating “Music Therapy” series of acoustic jams—was lead singer and rhythm guitarist for Knoxville’s first homegrown reggae band, Cheap Shoes. The band, which existed from 1979 to 1985, began as a folk-blues duo. While remaining a vehicle for his prolific songwriting, the group added members and developed into a 4-piece group that worked a love of traditional ska, dub and reggae with Myers’ folk-rock sensibilities. Cheap Shoes gained a following that still remembers the band’s non-conforming approach to pop and danceable material during the punk era. The group performed regularly at legendary punk palace Vic ’n’ Bills and other Cumberland Avenue clubs. After the 1982 World’s Fair, they played The Porch on 11th Street, site of the Budweiser Pavilion during the Fair. They also routinely appeared at clubs that were forerunners of downtown Knoxville’s cultural rejuvenation like the Buttonwood Café on Clinch Avenue and, on the otherwise forlorn Market Square of that period, the Cityside Café and a dive called the Hang-Up (near the northeast corner of the Square). After the band’s dissolution, Myers returned to his acoustic blues and folk roots and began playing solo in coffeehouses and clubs around Knoxville.
A unique bottleneck guitarist, Myers also plays finger-style on six-string, specializing in original material and obscure Americana, blues and ragtime covers. For the Carpe Librum show, he will have his trademark, vintage National Steel guitar; a custom-built resonator ukelele; a conventional uke and other acoustic stringed instruments. This event is BYOB. ##