Monday, May 10, 2010

a concert under the trees

Last night a fairly large contingent of the Wigshop went out see Ben Sollee perform at the Knoxville Botanical Garden. It was, simply put, wonderful. The Garden encourages you to picnic and BYOB/V at its concerts, so in typical Wigshop fashion we came well equipped with wine and assorted cheeses. (I also found out that I LOVE candied bacon, but that's another post)

Sollee is a cellist- but if you're not a classical buff don't let that stop you... neither is he. Combining an eclectic acoustic sound that could be called "indie folk," Sollee plucks, strums, and bows his cello to get a sound that lies somewhere between jazz, Americana, and Bach. It was great music. I'd definitely catch him when he comes to the Bijou later this year.

But, music aside, I'd like to talk about the venue.

The Botanical Garden is becoming one of my favorite places in Knoxville. I remember several years ago going to Chandler's on Magnolia and seeing a sign for our "Botanical Garden." Knoxville had a Botanical Garden? That was news to me. After lunch I drove up and was surprised by the elegant stone walls, quirky round guardhouses, and the sloping orchards that seem to come from a different era. In fact it is from a different era- this land was given to David Howell in 1786 for his service in the Revolutionary War. After 217 years of serving the Howell family's nursery and horticulture business, the land is now open to the public to enjoy. And one of the best ways to enjoy the Garden is to attend one of the increasingly frequent concerts there. Held on a stone terraced hillside under a canopy of huge trees, you can watch the sun set slowly on the distant plateau while listening to beautiful music. Or, as I preferred, lay on the soft grass and watch the sky darken through the silhouetted leaves overhead. Wonderful.

I would heartily recommend the Garden as one of those not-to-miss experiences in Knoxville. Like most of the good things in this city, it's a little hard to find and not well known, but it will surprise you and keep you coming back.

Now for some more pictures:

The stone terraces.

Mrs. The Pol enjoying the music, if not the chilly weather.

Mr. Sollee and his cello, with accompanying fiddle.

As well as being a politcal iconoclast, The Pol can put out quite a spread.


MB said...

We sat next to you and marveled at the vast and varied array of foods that came out of that orange basket.
Such a lovely evening, such a lovely place. My one teeny tiny complaint would be the bathroom situation...or lack thereof.

Chyna said...

So glad you all were able to make it to the show. I love it when people are able to experience concerts at the Garden for the first time.

Mickey said...

I keep thinking I've stumbled onto a MySpace page, what with the glittery unicorn and all.

The Modern Gal said...

That is a nice looking spread, Pol. Sad to have missed both that and Ben Sollee. I don't know much of his music but the couple of songs I do know are lovely.

max said...

Is that a 5 year old playing drums?

The Pol said...

Yes Max, the encore involved solee and his son on drums. It was a great moment and apparently a first.

I loved the multi-sensation experience that this venue allowed. Sounds beyond the music including neighborhood kids, birds, and such brought the music another layer of depth. Also, by adding in food and drink you pull in other senses that will trigger memories of that concert for many years. So fun.

B said...

The Pol was like Mary Poppins, pulling stuff out of that orange bag.

I had never heard Ben Sollee before. He was incredibly fun to watch.

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