The Cornbred Blues Band
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The Cornbred Blues Band


Band Blues Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Knox News Sentinel 8/18/06"

Sitting down for a conversation with Knoxville musician Jon Worley is like sitting down in a van and having no idea where you'll end up. Asking Worley a simple question like "Why do people in (Worley's native) Morristown seem a little standoffish?" is answered with an engrossing dissertation on the history of Morristown, East Tennessee, economic segregation and class warfare, corporate culture, small-town politics, Buddhism, IQ tests and nervous breakdowns - with side trips to the predictions of Nostradamus and the writings of Albert Camus.
"I've been incarcerated in the finest mental institutions Tennessee has to offer," says Worley with a cockeyed glance, while waiting for a cheeseburger at Litton's.

He has more recently been serving time in Knoxville's nightspots, fronting the Cornbred Blues band. "Cornbred," he says, spelled like "inbred" - "because that's what everybody thinks of us down here."
The band's sound is an incestuous Southern blend of Gregg Allman and the Marshall Tucker Band with a few stray strands of Timothy Leary's favorite chemical combination thrown in.
The original ingredients in the Cornbred Blues Band were probably in place when Worley and Daniel Lancaster met in kindergarten in Morristown.
"There was an Easter egg hunt," recalls Worley. "He was standing there scratching his head and didn't have any eggs. I gave him some of mine, and we've been friends ever since."
In high school, Lancaster pursued saxophone and Worley formed heavy-metal bands.
"Sometime after kindergarten, our lives took different paths," explains Worley.
"I flipped out at 15 after my uncle died, and borrowed Daddy's '78 Monte Carlo and lived on the streets in New Orleans."
Worley quit school at 16, but earned a GED and, at 18, enrolled in Walters State Community College to study philosophy.
He says it was an experiment with illicit chemicals that set him on his current musical path.
"I was sitting in a room with four pink walls and a grand piano. Woody Guthrie was to the right of me. John Coltrane was to the left."
Worley imagined the spirits arguing and eventually being ordered to "Talk about something that means something to somebody, not just this pop (expletive) drivel!"
After years of attempting to get his foot in the door at Knoxville clubs, Worley teamed up with guitarist Daniel Broderick, drummer Bobby Manley and his old buddy Lancaster, who had mastered saxophone and flute.
Although he plays several instruments, Worley primarily plays harmonica and keyboard.
"It's a '66 Wurlitzer that I bought off a crack addict for $40," he says. "He had cut the speakers out to put in his Datsun."
"It took five years to get into Manhattans and Patrick Sullivan's," says Worley. "I had to pull 14 flaming monkeys out of my (expletive) just to get noticed, but you can't throw a stick without hitting a (lousy) folk singer."
Now Worley has an every-Wednesday gig at Manhattans and is a welcome and frequent performer at several Knoxville clubs.
"I will play anywhere that they don't beat me with sticks when my eyes are closed," he says.
He is actually the honored guest at his most imminent performance - a benefit to help the uninsured Worley pay for some medical treatment.
The injury (a dislocated foot) is the result of a recent rural adventure:
"It involved a 25-foot cliff and an extremely gorgeous and half-naked girl. She dove like a swan, and I sank like a stone."
- Wayne Bledsoe

"Daily Times 6/16/06"

From the June 16, 2006, edition of The Daily Times Weekend section: "In another life, Cornbred Blues Band front guy Jon Worley may have been a snakecharmer. Or a wizened old hermit living in the hollows of an old-growth Appalachian forest, the sort of man children feared and adults traipsed to see for poultices or love spells or advice about growing crops. Or maybe he was just a wild-eyed lunatic, rocking his days away in some Gothic-style mental institution, strapped into a straightjacket and dreaming of imaginary kingdoms where he traveled the land as a troubadour. Either way, there's a mesmerizing charm to Worley's life story, even if it sounds too incredible to believe at times. With a backwoods drawl thick as boggy swamp water and a mischievous tone to his tales, you find yourself drawn into his stories. And when those stories are set to music, as they are with the Cornbred Blues Band, you feel every sorrow, every heartbreak, every hope and every joke that the man dishes up." - The Daily Times Weekend section


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Cornbred Blues Band is one of Knoxville's premier blues fusion bands, incorporating elements of blues, rock, rockabilly, psychedelia, punk, jazz, and traditional Afro Appalachian folk music into a style that encompasses all stages of this area’s rich musical and cultural heritage. The band formed around the nucleus of a wandering, dejected, and clearly disturbed young singer song writer from Morristown, TN, named Jon Worley. After years of wandering the southern juke joints and dives in a vain attempt to play and drink his life away, he decided to stay a while in Knoxville and see what was going on. He soon encountered a group of down-home guys from the North Knoxville area sittin’ on a log down in a holler. Jon offered them some Panther Piss and showed them his patented hillbilly version of Tovan throat singing. It was not long before crossmojanization occurred and they were well on their way. A few weeks later they were scheduled to play a gig in a nasty little dive in North Knox and thought "wouldn't it be fun to have a drummer". It was that night they bound, gagged, and abducted Ricky Mathis, whom they later found out was actually a multiple personality of some other guy, from a peaceful night’s slumber and threw him in the back of a pickup with a three piece to play the show. The next piece of the puzzle came together while playing a show on the back porch of Patrick Sullivan's. Lo and Behold Daniel Lancaster, a childhood friend of Jon who hadn't seen him in 7 years due to a juju hex placed upon them in the midst of a vitamin experiment, walked in the door. Lancaster owed Jon for giving him 5 of his Easter eggs during a hunt at Morristown’s West Elementary when they were in kindergarten and had been trying to work off the debt. Lancaster and Ricky had been playing with a fat-matress bass player named Bucko. He wanted in on the act, and jumped on board. It turns out that he had lied on his application. His name was Bucco, and he was from Jersey. Knowing that Italian bass players from Jersey are normally part of the relocation program, the guys just decided to consider him melungeon and not mention it again. The band has been playin', stompin’, and screamin’ every day since. Sometimes they’ll play on a barge for hundreds of people floating on the river and wake up the next morning in a hotel suite, and sometimes they’ll play for bikers by a campfire in North Carolina and wake up half naked in a mountain creek. You can always count on two things: They’ll make the gig, and they’ll have a story to tell when we get there. It’s the life of a Cornbred Kid.