BIG EARS KNOXVILLE (book project)


Photographs by Kate Joyce
Preface by Ben Ratliff 
Essays by Rachel Grimes and Joe Henry
Music by Sam Amidon, Laurie Anderson, Bryce Dessner, Mats Eilersten, Diamanda Galás, Kronos Quartet, Wu Man, The Necks, Meshell Ndegeocello, Nils Okland, Yuki Numata Resnick, Marc Ribot, Terry Riley, and Jenny Scheinman.
Designed by Sabrina Che and Ben Schwartz

Published by Hat & Beard Press, Los Angeles

Hardcover, 136 pages
8 x 12 in. 
20.32 x 30.48 cm. 
69 color and b&w photographs

Edition of 400

A book of photographs by Kate Joyce published by Hat & Beard Press (Spring 2019) in partnership with AC Entertainment and Rock Fish Stew Institute of Literature and Materials with images made between 2014-2018 at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The photographs were made under the influence of music. 

The location of the festival – and hearing some of the most challenging music in the world – in downtown Knoxville, a city perhaps not expected to be the home of a festival of this quality and caliber - reverberated through all of my senses.

More than 200 artists and bands have performed Big Ears between 2014-2018. During the five years that I traveled to Knoxville for Big Ears, I photographed some of the people on this list, but not nearly all of them. Of those I photographed, just a few will be in this book. I heard many of the performances, many were memorable and a few were life changing. I photographed during some of these performances, but most of them were un-photographable (better heard than seen). Sometimes I only photographed a sound check or rehearsal.

During my time at Big Ears, I also walked around Knoxville, leaving the theaters and clubs to make pictures on the streets. As I wandered, my mind remained tethered to the musical event. Photographing back and forth between city and festival, and subsequently in the editing process as well, was an exercise and challenge to see as openly and freely as the music taught me to listen.

About Rock Fish Stew

This book will be the next phase in a collaborative project developed by Rock Fish Stew Institute of Literature and Materials revolving around the Big Ears festival. The first phase was Big, Bent Ears, the first ever multi-media project offered by that project’s partner, the legendary New York literary magazine, The Paris Review. Our work was also presented as a museum exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, NC (May 2015 - February 2016). In addition, a full-length film by Ivan Weiss is forthcoming, without a set date of release. Photographing, filming and research at the festival and Knoxville between 2014-2018 was largely made possible by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, Rock Fish Stew Institute of Literature and Materials, Visit Knoxville and AC Entertainment.  

About Hat & Beard Press

Based in Los Angeles, with editors and project managers on the ground in Chicago, London and New York City, Hat & Beard is a print collective, a publishing think tank, and a small press dedicated to all things tactile.

Major funding for the Big Ears Knoxville book is made possible by Dan and Gloria Logan and Colin Moran. 

All rights reserved Kate Joyce 2019


Below is a Sample List of Big Ears Artists & Performances


Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei

A Certain Zone

Advance Bass & Greg Jamie

Aine O’Dwyer performs William Eggleston’s “Musik”


Anna & Elizabeth

Anna Thorvaldsdottir: “In The Light Of Air” performed by International Contemporary


Anoushka Shankar: “Land of Gold”

Arto Lindsay

Bang on a Can All Stars celebrate their 30th anniversary with works by David Lang,

Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe

Bang on a Can All Stars perform Julia Wolfe’s “Anthracite Fields”

Bang on a Can All Stars “Field Recordings”

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

Béla Fleck & Brooklyn Rider

Billy Martin

Bonnie “Prince” Billy

“Brimstone & Glory” live score performed by Nief-Norf and Wordless Music

Bruce Greene and Loy McWhirter

Brooklyn Rider

Circus No. 9

Cleek Schrey & David Behrman

Craig Taborn Quartet

Cyro Baptista & The “Banquet of the Spirits”

Cyro Baptista presents “Vira Loucos”

David Hidalgo and Marc Ribot

Diamanda Galás

Duet for Theremin & Lap Steel

Evan Parker’s Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

Fireman’s Ball

Four Tet

GAS (Wolfgang Voigt)

Gene Smith’s Sink: An Event by Author Sam Stephenson with Aine O’Dwyer, Rachel

Grimes and Jason Moran

Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Hologram Electronic Lab Ikue Mori

Innov Gnawa


International Contemporary Ensemble

Jaga Jazzist

Jaga Jazzist featuring Ståle Storløkken & Jon Balke

Jason Moran Duo with Milford Graves

Jason Moran presents Fats Waller Dance Party

BANGS (Jason Moran, Mary Halvorson and Ron Miles)

Jenny Hval

Jenny Scheinman presents “Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait”

Jenny Scheinman’s “Mischief & Mayhem” with Nels Cline & Scott Amendola

John Haywood

John Medeski

Johnny Gandelsman plays Bach

Jon Gibson

Julie Byrne

Kelly Lee Owens

Kid Koala (DJ Set)

Kid Koala’s “Satellite” Turntable Orchestra

Kieran Hebden & Mats Gustafsson

Knoxville Symphony Strings performs “Were You There” with baritone Davoné Tines

Laurel Halo (DJ Set) Laurel Halo (Live with Eli Keszler)

Lightning Bolt


Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog

Meshell Ndegeocello

Medeski Martin & Wood


Milford Graves

Ned Rothenberg

Nels Cline: “Lovers” with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and guests

Neif-Norf performs Steve Reich’s ‘Quartet’

Nest Egg

Okkyung Lee

Old Harp Singing with Sam Amidon

Ryan Oslance

Peter Evans Ensemble

Rocket Science (Peter Evans, Sam Pluta, Craig Taborn, Evan Parker)

Roscoe Mitchell Trios


Rova: “The Sound in Space Project”

Rova Channeling Coltrane: “Electric Ascension”

Sam Amidon


St John’s Passion: A Meditation on Suffering

Steve Gunn

Steve Gunn & The Black Twig Pickers

Susan Alcorn

Susanna “Go Dig My Grave” featuring Giovanna Pessi, Frode Haltli, Cheyenne Mize

and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy


Tal National

Temp Job

The Black Twig Pickers

The Jerry Douglas Band

The Thing

Thom Nguyen

Trio Five featuring Roscoe Mitchell, Junius Paul and Vincent Davis Tyshawn Sorey Trio

Virtual Balboa

Wu Fei & Friends: Improv Gae

Yuka C. Honda ‘Eucademix’




Alvin Curran

American Contemporary Music Ensemble

Aoife O’Donovan

Blonde Redhead featuring Acme

Bobby Kapp & Matthew Shipp

Carla Bley Trio with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard

Carla Bley with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra

Claire Chase

Colin Stetson presents ‘Sorrow’: A Reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony


Dave Harrington Group

Dakha Brahka




Emilia Amper

Frederic Rzewski

Frode Haltli

Gavin Bryars Ensemble

Glenn Kotche

Henry Grimes

Henry Threadgill’s Zooid

Horse Lords


Jace Clayton presents Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner

Jeremy Gara

Jessica Moss

Jeff Tweedy Meets Chikamorachi (Chris Corsano & Darin Gray)

Joan Shelley

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘Drone Mass’ featuring Acme

Juian Lage & Chris Eldridge

Junun featuring Shye Ben Tzur and the Rajasthan Express

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Knoxville Chamber Orchestra directed by Aram Demirjan

Knoxville Jazz Orchestra

LÆtitia Sadier

Lisa Moore

Matana Roberts

Matmos perform Robert Ashley’s ‘Perfect Lives (Private Parts)’

Matthew Shipp

Maya Beiser

Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble:The Soul’s Messenger

Michael Hurley

Musica Electronica Viva (Alvin Curran, Richard Teitelbaum & Frederic Rzewski)

My Brightest Diamond


Nils Økland Band

Nils Økland & Mats Eilersten

Nils Økland & Sigbjørn Apeland

Oliver Coates

On Fillmore

Philip Jeck


Quindar (Mikael Jorgensen & James Merle Thomas)

Rachel Grimes ‘The Way Forth’ featuring Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg


Richard Teitelbaum

Sarah Kirkland

Snider Unremembered – DM Smith, Shara Worden, Padma Newsome, The Knights

Shane Parish

Sir Richard Bishop

Six Organs of Admittance

Ståle Storløkken

Ståle Storløkken & Arve Henriksen

Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone


The Crossing

The Magnetic Fields: ‘Fifty Song Memoir’

The Quavers

Theatre of Voices

Theo Bleckmann Duo



Wu Fei

Xiu Xiu

Xylouris White

White Magic

Yasmine Hamdan

Yuki Numata Resnick



Andrew Bird

Angel Olsen

Andy Stott

Anthony Braxton

Bonnie “Prince” Billy

Bedroom Community 10th Anniversary: Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, Sam Amidon & Valgeir Sigurðsson


Bryce Dessner

Circuit Des Yeux

Chris Abrahams

Eighth Blackbird with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bryce Dessner


Hieroglyphic Being

Ikue Mori

Joe Henry

John Luther Adams: Composer-in-Residence

Kamasi Washington

Kiasmos (Ólafur Arnalds & Janus Rasmussen)


Laurie Anderson & Philip Glass


Marc Ribot

Mary Halvorson

Maya Beiser

Molly Nilsson

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor Steven Schick performing the

Music of John Luther Adams, Bryce Dessner and Philip Glass with guest cellist Maya


Nicolas Jaar


Olivia Chaney

Outside the Dream Syndicate (Tony Conrad tribute with Faust)

Phantom Orchard

Shabazz Palaces

Sunn 0)))

Tony Conrad

The Necks

The Gloaming

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith

Wolf Eyes

Xylouris White

Yo La Tengo

Zeena Parkins & Tony Buck



A Winged Victory for the Sullen

Amen Dunes

Ben Frost

Bryce Dessner

Bill Frisell

Bing & Ruth


Max Richter: The Blue Notebooks & Infra feat. American Contemporary Music

Ensemble Max Richter: Vivaldi Recomposed & The Leftovers feat. The Knoxville

Symphony Orchestra and American Contemporary Music Ensemble

Jamie xx

Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet ‘Landfall’

Nels Cline

Nosaj Thing


Gyan Riley

Harold Budd & Keith Lowe

‘Häxan’ re-scored by Demdike Stare

Hildur Gu›nadóttir

Holly Herndon

Little Annie


Jozef Van Wissem

Omar Souleyman

Perfume Genius

Rhiannon Giddens

Ryley Walker

Sam Amidon

Silver Apples


Steve Gunn


Tanya Tagaq

Terry Riley

The Bad Plus tUnE-yArDs

Tyondai Braxton: HIVE

William Tyler

Wu Man



Bill Orcutt

Colin Stetson

Dawn Of Midi

Dean and Britta: 13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests

Dean Wareham

Ensemble Signal

Glenn Kotche

Jonny Greenwood

John Cale

Julia Holter


Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog

Mark Ribot performing the original score to Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Kid’

Mark McGuire

Nazoranai (Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, Stephen O’Malley)

Nils Frahm

Oneohtrix Point Never

Son Lux

So Percussion

Steve Reich



Tim Hecker

Vatican Shadow

Vladislav Delay