"Cotton Candy in the Diesel Fumes"


  David O'Dell and the Tennessee KingSnakes CD Snake Dance has spun its way across the big pond and Knoxville's nouveau hill men are enjoying a buzz in Holland and Belgium. Their electrified grass and epic hoe-down's like Jimi's Grass and Psycho-Billy Barn Dance are featured on American styled off-beat country shows like Holland's BRTO "Saloon," and on independent stations in Belgium, Norway, and Sweden. The band's unusual humor and tongue and cheek references to jaded mountain culture are appreciated there. There is no denying the bands powerful charm as they slingshot into spine tingling chord progressions like the stomp and shuffle "Round-Up." And, anyone leaning toward the mountain scene will get a tingle off David O'Dell's sarcastic banjo imitating telecaster in unpredictable country interpretations like "Tennessee Bootleg Whisky," which is one of many songs that seems to oscillate fifty years forward and fifty years in reverse. "I want our music to put you in a run down shack that's part fun house, a real Pandora's box of goodies." Says Dave O'Dell singer songwriter. That kind of imagination must appeal to Europeans, with a "don't give a durn, let it rip, go ahead and wander up in space it's all right" attitude - it's a totally American sense of freedom and recklessness. The CD is touted as a musical and emotional travelogue and it travels into other dimensions as portrayed in a winding trip to hell with a cavalcade of red neck friends in Psycho-Billy Barn Dance's spatially disorienting vortex sequence. While you are down there, brace yourself for Hellion Slumber, it's monster movie material at its best. It's the Tennessee KingSnakes' fresh but rippled view of the world that frees up the imagination in preparation for flight, now with international destinations.


Banner Photo: Christian Lange

Tennessee KingSnakes: Circus of the Southern Sound

..................... ..The Tennessee KingSnakes formed in 1996 to promote "class-hick" music. And so it seems with lead singer and songwriter David O'Dell who has had an active interest in progressive country since 1976. O'Dell's personal quest is to document East Tennessee culture "before all the local flavor disappears." The guys might be doing just that with a totally original repertoire that smacks of coal towns, railroad tracks, and junked cars. In concert, the band pumps it up with hearty delivery, and a corky-rhythmic charm that will enchant nearly any social set. O'Dell's fifty original songs, robust vocals and tasteful telecaster set the stage for his group of energetic show men." Jay Manneschmidt, the ex-high-performance motor sport racer with many a tumble under his belt, has turned his renaissance hand to creating colorful orchestration with keyboards and cranking out sizzling guitar breaks. "Ice's" double virtuosity adds to the band's power and mystique. Dorian McBride is also a versatile musician, a powerhouse on bass guitar, a wealth of positive energy, and a dedicated showman. Drummer, and talented percussionist Jay Miller the "golden boy of beat" (a nickname he grimaces) was the long awaited addition that jump started the group out of a run down rehearsal hall last year and into popular venues. His influence gives the "Snakes" lots of silky shine, note a fortune in high tech cymbals. The Tennessee KingSnakes aren't into exposing southern foibles - it just happens - in good fun. The band's debut CD - Snake~Dance's oddly lucky 13th song is a barn burning hoedown - a sinner's Saturday night out, an undisclosed rural location equipped with a carnival ride into another dimension. Real life audio clips put shocking realism into this tortured cut - Psycho-Billy Barn Dance. The daringness on this CD inspires the imagination, leads instead of follows, taunts in a pied "piperequese" manner to come-on-down. Down to the river, revival, or down to the seance as in their spooky cut Hellion Slumber. Also, their sensational state of rhythm does not go undisclosed in traveling tunes like Outbound Man, Days on the Road, and Little Country Thing. There is a freeing feeling, and an underlying message in O'Dells voice that things are going to be all right. His message goes much further with constant re-enforcement, an almost hushed assurance that "things are going to be fabulous." "Flying with big wide wings over an ocean" as one fan put it. There is also a sense of humor in this music, a sense of beauty, and what you sense is sincere, and the TKS's don't owe anyone a thing. So if you want to see something different, a musical force that is moving and refreshing, check out these fresh spirits; The Tennessee KingSnakes, and their multi-faceted circus of the southern sound, one authentic item


FAST LANE ~ Mountain Express:   The Tennessee KingSnakes are barreling down the fastlane full throttle in country rock with Detroit inspired V-8 rythym and blues. Forget the brakes, you can count of a crash of culture in the twists and turns, when a banjo twanging telecaster intersects with a mo-hunkin back beat that glides on silky organ tones. When the gears start whirling, there's always new fans caught up in the fan belt of energetic rocking rythym with a Tennessee twist. These boys are sitting on a powder keg of good tunes, good style, and graceful delivery at their dynamite shack of powerhouse country rock. You will be no doubt surprised after you get your ears on this fun loving group that lifts the spirit and spurts new oil on the chain. An American engine of roots rock - The Tennessee KingSnakes.


The Tennessee KingSnakes have belly crawled from the reptile lounges to rank in roots rock. The band was formed in 1996 to promote class-hick music, and that they've done. They ramped up the country with rythym and blues backgrounds, put on plenty of pressure with hard hitting and emotional vocals from Singer-Songwriter David O'Dell. Take a jigger of Tom Petty, and a splash of the Mavericks, shake with the likes of Little Feat and you've about got the TKSs. Jay Mann has double duty on guitar and keys which he pulls off with style. Lots of intricate guitar work in fast moving tunes and torch numbers deep, wide, and gorgeous. Chris Towson on six string bass with his bubble up rythym works in commune with Jay Miller on drums and percussion. All this talent has cast a musical act that smacks of Appalachia and has the get up and go to take you on a trip through the south spoken in catch phase and southern prose.


The Tennessee KingSnakes are setting more explosives charges under the music scene with their montage circus of southern style. They are likely on parole from the jailhouse of status quo rock, busted out with big gun country and whole hog sound. Taken to trippin' on railroad blues, a psycho-billy barn dance, way down yonder in the barrell house, with a half ass grin and a Jay John henry on the sledge hammer when they kick up the beat. The old will laugh the kids will cry - it's going to the country and you don't get dirty. Banana pudding in your eye. Heat up the pipes, twirk the heads, and set the rockanometer for 30 degrees past cockeyed. We are heading into a new blue yonder, blue as the water of a reactor, what mutant scientists said would never be. Flyin' low over an irradated hillbilly hideout back up in the sticks. Where the whiskey river runs everclear everyday! Gona handle some snakes and eat some chilli dogs. Hip cat had that said, "Kick back for some kickin rock jack and don't leave so you wont have to come back." Living in the neon palaces that live in the mind. A new country heart and a beat to match - the Tennessee KingSnakes, a little mercury in the moonshine. Out of Knoxpatch.



       These territorial reptiles as busy still putting together stage shows for the Knoxville area like the freaky sideshow on the opening weekend of the TVA&I Fair. An outer space visitor rocked the arena with warbling rumbles and ray gun squawks on a sequenced sound track. Accompanied by the forties era MC Carl Dementia, the midget in far-out getup criticized earth for being small minded. But all in good fun, and after a few wise cracks and zaps to the MC's head, the alien Schekey Green'ed his way back to a vaudevillian realm.