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Photos and story by Jeffrey Harrell/ Contributing writer  “Ding, ding,” the timer sounds, signaling the first batch of blueberry muffins are done. Chantell Kennedy-Shehan resets her timer for another batch. She has two more before she switches to cinnamon rolls. Her iPhone dings again, this time to tell her it’s 5:30 a.m., an hour before …

Photo by Olivia Ladd Hiding away in the basements, living rooms and backyards of Murfreesboro rental homes is one of the most progressive, tight-knit yet expansive artist communities in the country: the Murfreesboro house show scene. A house show is exactly what it sounds like: a show held in a house. A typical house show …

“I didn’t want short stories; I wanted to write a novel,” said award-winning novelist Ann Patchett, the keynote speaker for this year’s Southern Literary Festival. Speaking to the crowded Student Union Ballroom, the Nashville author detailed her personal journey as a writer, from her inspirations, to how she ended up speaking at so many university convocations. People …

With his straightforward lyrics and everyman persona — the kind of guy who wrinkles every shirt he puts on — Nathan Bell is an accomplished Iowa songwriter, relocated to the Volunteer State in 1991. Whether he’s singing about wars, marriage equality, or working in America, the subject of his latest album, I Don’t Do This for …

Mayday Brewery Ozzy Nelson

Photo by Meagan White // Staff Photographer In the far end of an old warehouse on Old Salem Road resides an artsy chaos of fresh suds and live music. Opening the door to Mayday Brewery reveals to you a wacky black-and-white painted path that leads you past art-smattered walls and large windows looking into the …

Lori Kissinger Very Special Arts

Photo submitted by Lori Kissinger A young man with severe autism can barely speak in conversation, yet he takes the stage confidently to sing along with Josh Turner at the Grand Ole Opry. A dance group comprised of students with Down syndrome performs at an MTSU football game. Mentally disabled students teach their peers with …