The Bearded
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The Bearded

Band Americana Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Hillbilly Music and an incapacitated Hooker"

On a Thursday night, I was so bored, I went to the downtown library, minutes before it closed, and I finally remembered to check out Right there under “upcoming events” it said The Bearded, one of my all-time favorite local bands, was playing that night at the Corner Lounge! How could I have not known about this before now? Me, the music fanatic who is always on the lookout for my favorite bands. I still could not believe it, so I drove by the Corner Lounge, and the website was right. I had just enough cash to pay the cover charge and I slowly nursed the two beers I paid for with spare change. (Hey, I didn’t know I was going out that night! Remember?)

There was much merriment at this Bearded performance, because the Bearded ones always have that effect on their audience. The crowd included many excellent local musicians, hippie girls dancing together, and even one woman who determinedly walked up to the stage, lifted her t-shirt and flashed her breasts at the band (to Matt Morelock, in particular). Even local writer, scenester and gad about, Jack (who had the vendaloo?) Rentfro had left his farm and was holding court at the Corner Lounge. The Bearded’s special guest, former Knoxville resident, Jack Herranen, joined the band at the beginning of their second set. This was my first experience with Mr. Herrenan and I was very moved by the humanity evoked in his original songs. I even excitedly told one of the hippie chicks, “and to think I almost stayed home and missed out on all of this!” It was only because of that I was able to experience such an incredible band and floor show.

But the incredulity did not stop after the show ended. On my way home, at approximately 2:20 a.m., I was driving down Magnolia Avenue when I noticed a female body lying by the side of the road, just past Knox Rail Salvage and next to the construction site at the former James White off-ramp. It was a startling and unusual site; and, and her feet were off of the curb and jutting into the street. I could not just leave her there. So, I backed up and blocked her body with my car. My headlights did not awaken her. I was not sure if I was observing extreme rest or rigor mortis. I stayed with her until help arrived, and then I drove away into the night, listening to my new Jack Herranen compact disc.

Some people do not believe in coincidences, accidents or happenstance. I am not sure what I believe, but from that evening forward, I have been a religiously loyal follower of You never know where its guidance might lead you and how many lives (or feet) you might ultimately save because you took the time to enquire about what to do next.

--Debra Dylan is a life-saver, music fan and a woman about town.

Posted by the 520 gang on September 18, 2006 11:29 AM | Permalink - Knoxville 520

"The Bearded Stay True to the Roots of ...Music"

The Bearded stays true to the roots ... of music
The Bearded

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend (three-quarters mile east of the traffic light at the intersection of Highway 321 and Highway 73)
HOW MUCH: $4 adults, $3 children and seniors
CALL: 448-0044

By Steve Wildsmith
of The Daily Times Staff

It’s not exactly a requirement for members of The Bearded to sport facial hair.

There’s no band rule, no fines for those who scrape a razor across their faces or show up to a gig sans cheek fur. Because although the group chose its name during a particularly plentiful follicle period for each member, in the end, it’s just a name. It’s the music that matters, and given the immense amount of talent in the band, they won’t be lacking in that area any time soon.

“At the time, we just looked around and realized everybody had beards,” founder Kyle Campbell told The Daily Times this week. “You know how it goes — you sit around and try to come up with band names, and everybody has funny ones about this or that, and The Bearded was one of those that popped out and everybody agreed on, because we looked around and realized we all had one.

“There’s no band rule about it, though. I decided that as long as I hold down the beard, it’s OK if everyone else shaves. But generally, at least 60 percent of the band is bearded.”

The Bearded got its start when Campbell moved to East Tennessee from Athens, Ga., where he was a member of the regional rock band Medicine Wheel. A few days after arriving in Knoxville, Campbell met Matt Morelock, a local deejay and banjo player. A fan of roots music since childhood, Campbell said he realized his new home was closer to the music of his heart and his childhood.

“I was interested in Old Time and Appalachian music, so Matt and I started playing together, and then we met Chris (Zuhr, The Bearded’s bassist), and we started playing out without a name, just as a little three-piece string band,” Campbell said. “I was pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t know anything about this area before coming here. I was coming from Georgia and North Florida, where playing the banjo was a quaint novelty. It was interesting to come here and, the first day here, to meet this kid sitting in a music store playing the banjo.

“Not only that, but his grandfather was in the store with him, and he played the banjo, too. I realized then that there’s a lot more tradition here than in other areas I’d come from, where people had just sort of moved in and brought it with them. Here, there’s a long tradition of playing mountain music and bluegrass, and that appealed to me.”

Campbell’s love for roots music stems from childhood summers spent on the Yellow River with his grandparents, going to weekend hoedowns and listening to locals incorporate spoons and washboards into a musical concoction that captured his young imagination. As a young man, he saw blues legend Taj Mahal play the banjo, and he was soon inspired to learn the instrument himself.

Although he played rock in Medicine Wheel, he never could escape the draw of a more earthy sound, he said.

“I met a man who made dulcimers in Florida, and I was instantly trying to incorporate dulcimers into a song, but other people in the band would look at me funny,” Campbell said with a chuckle. “I got really into it — the lap dulcimer, the mandolin — and I wanted to incorporate that into more of my music, and that led me to what other sorts of music those instruments are a part of.

“I had always known about bluegrass and Bill Monroe, and I think anyone can fall in love with that style of music, if they hear it and hear it played right. I enjoy rock ’n’ roll, but it’s not what drives me and gets my blood flowing. I get excited hearing acoustic instruments.”

Eventually, Campbell, Morelock and Zuhr ran into local musician Phil Pollard, who fronts Band of Humans and is member of a half-dozen other outfits around East Tennessee. Pollard’s multi-instrumental skills and stage-show charisma helped Campbell realized that The Bearded needed a name and a game plan. Eventually, T.J. Jones was added on washboard and jug and Marty McBrearty was brought on board to play harmonica.

“When we started playing with Phil, we realized that adding him as a drummer allowed us to cover a wider range of venues, and when we picked up Marty and P.J., that gave us an even larger sound,” he said. “I’d written songs for years, and I just had so many that fit into what we were doing, that it all ended up falling into place. It’s a fun way to go about playing traditional music.”

Call The Bearded what you will — a jug band, a string band, an Old Time band or a combination of all three. Or maybe just a bunch of hairy dudes making noise — it matters not. The songs rise up from whatever stage the band takes like thick fog off the nearby mountains, calling to mind fireside - Maryville Daily Times


The Bearded's first studio recording "A-No.1" was released in Jan 2006. Four songs are in heavy radio rotation at Track 4 "House Sparrow" can be found in the audio section.



Birthed from the loins of Kyle Campbell’s imagination and smacked to life by a great rhythm and string band, The Bearded took it’s first breath on the WDVX Blue Plate Special in December 2004. However, the original seeds for The Bearded were planted years earlier .
A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist heralding from Northwest Florida, Kyle Campbell was one of the founding members of the regionally popular rock band, Medicine Wheel (1993-1999). He began his love for old time and country blues while staying summers on the Yellow River with his grandparents. His grandfather grew up on the same street as Hank Williams and knew all the musician’s along the river. They would come up to Miller’s Bluff on the weekends and have a literal hoedown; spoons, washboards and all. Hearing Taj Mahal play banjo inspired Kyle to learn banjo and mandolin. His path (and wife) lead Kyle out of Florida and ultimately to Tennessee. Three days after arriving in Knoxville in 2001 Kyle met Matt Morelock, a local DJ and banjo player.
Campbell and Morelock hit it off and soon found themselves playing as a mandolin, banjo duet. They were getting a good sound but knew they needed a little more help capturing a large audience. They needed someone to lay out a hard groove.
Chris Zuhr, from Albany, New York on bass, Phil Pollard from The Band of Humans on percussion and snare, and TJ Jones Ottofish Studios engineer and arachnologist on washboard and jug.