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Time for holiday lights and more about local musicians

This is one of the many photos of Fifth Street Saints used to promote their music on the
Internet. From left to right are drummer Joey Davis, bass guitar player Shane Hoosier, lead
singer Edie Self, and lead guitar player Chad Webb.
Published: 9:24 PM, 12/13/2013 Last updated: 9:24 PM, 12/13/2013

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

Next week at this time, when you read my column, the official start of winter is here, Dec. 21 a day with less than 9 hr. and 45 minutes of sunlight. Yet, the dark skies are lit by many Christmas decorations about the county and you see some in your travels.

But many night-light sparkling homes are off the well-worn path we take. I got a request for a special one that you need to see at Carson Springs. My plan is to go out and make a photo for those who cannot travel there. And here is the story. Terrie Ottinger told me that her uncle, Thomas Ottinger, who is seriously ill with diabetes, took the time to light up their 1202 Garner Road home off Old Sevierville Highway. He lives there with his wife, Molly, and a daughter, Sue Ottinger. Nearby is another daughter, Jetta Hefner, but Thomas is a Parrottsville Ottinger. Terrie lives across the street with her parents, Gene and Helen Ottinger, as he is a brother to Thomas. Terrie’s daughter, Summer, 13, loves to see these lights as does a great nephew to Thomas, Logan Proctor. By next week I should have some photos and more information before Christmas on these holiday lights.

We also were sent a photo from the Mayfield family of their home at 847 Under The Mountain Road, which connects to McGaha Chapel and to English Mtn. Road. They would like you to see their Christmas lights display in the Plain Talk. Several years ago we published a list of lighted homes for the holidays which proved to be popular. If you send in your address, I will try to get a list together before Christmas for those who might like to take the children on a tour about town at night.


Can you help this fellow?


We got an unusual request from Ben of Chicago suburbs using e-mail and he and girlfriend were hiking this past September near Carver’s Gap on the Appalachian Trail. An older couple came by and agreed to make a photo of the young couple when Ben proposed to his girl. Soon the Chicago couple are to be married and they want to locate and invite the older couple to the wedding. Ben has contacted area newspapers to publish this item in hopes of finding a clue to their identity. If you might know or be the couple, then send Ben an e-mail. As he said, “It is a photo we will cherish the rest of our lives.”


New pastor at Calvary Baptist


Last Sunday I visited Calvary Baptist Tabernacle off Knoxville Highway to photograph the new pastor, Jeff Ledbetter. I remember the site as the former Stinnett Motors dealership. I believe it to be the same location back in the late 1960s or 1970s when Cleo Stinnett worked with Ted Russell, Knoxville Chrysler dealer. When the Stinnett dealership moved west, the building was available and ultimately became a church. This is similar to what has happened with Memorial Baptist in Newport. The old Teague Chevrolet building ultimately went into private hands and was bought at auction a few years back by the church. Calvary Baptist has turned the former commercial building into a splendid sanctuary. While waiting around after the Sunday service, I saw a few people I know such as Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Taylor, Bobbie Knight, and a few minutes later, his brother, Ronnie Knight. You may recall I did some articles about this retired Food City butcher many years ago. Ronnie is 66 and has been going to church since he was 12 and most of those years to Calvary, which some 52 years ago began as a split off from another church. In recent years it used the church building at Beech Street. Ronnie repeated an interesting comment from a church member who used to work at Stinnett in the service department: “This is where we used to change oil. Now we change lives.” It is good to see Ronnie doing well even though multiple back surgeries forced him to quite tossing heavy sides of beef around.


Fifth Street Saints


Last week we talked about the local Fifth Street Saints Band and how much progress the band has made in getting their music out to more people. They returned after several days last week in Hawaii where they performed three shows. And, when they arrived on December 4, it was Chad Webb’s 32nd birthday. This is the band’s first performance outside of North America. This summer they performed in North Dakota. The new twist for more important appearances is happening because they have caught the eye of a promoter. The man is also introducing Fifth Street Saints to some major record label producers in Los Angeles. The Dakota trip by car was 28 hours and now they will be away a week for shows at two large venues in Hawaii. The lead singer is Eddie Self of Newport and instrumentalists are drummer Joey Davis and bass player Shane Hoosier.


From football to music


So let me go back to the beginnings. As I mentioned, Chad’s father, Wayne Webb’s band was One Long Road and they did a good job at local entertainment spots, such as Midnight Rodeo many years ago. Chad grew up in the neighborhood where his parents now live, just across from the old Hawk Grocery. He graduated from Cocke County High School in 2000. The path to music came about because of an unfortunate injury while playing football at Newport City Park as a member of a league team. The 10-year-old quarterback suffered a hip injury requiring a steel pin. That ended football. Dad always had a guitar about playing and singing and he showed Chad a few chords. It intrigued him enough to closely watch other experienced players and learn finger placement and chords. A key time was when CCHS Band Director Pat Mason started a music/band program at Newport Grammar School where Chad attended. From there, Chad played drums in band and also kept mastering guitar helping towards his position now to be a lead guitar rock player. Some fellows he hung out with around 1997 in the band Shades of Black were Mark Evans and David James.

“Music helped me a lot to stay out of trouble,” he said. By  2000 he was a young member of One Long Road and played in the band for about five years. Early on he played mostly on Gibson guitar and currently uses an electric Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitar with PV amps. He continued learning and performing with a Lynrd Skynrd tribute band that included drummer Chuck Hembree, his brother, Steve Hembree, and Matthew Fox. One of their more important performances was opening for Mel McDaniels in Kentucky. Constant practice and road travel for very little money, maybe $100 a performance for several band members, kept him motivated. Several years ago he linked up with Eddie Self, who was jamming with fellow musicians. This was the start of Fifth Street Saints. Self is a strong singer and natural as lead.

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