By Anna Chandler/ConnectSavannah
NATIONAL sensation and hometown favorites The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra are getting back to their roots! Louisiana natives Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson will lead their dynamic band in a tribute to their home state tradition this weekend.
The party kicks off with a VIP Mardi Gras gala complete with complimentary cocktails, Cajun hors d’oeuvres, naturally, king cake. Attendees are encouraged to arrive in Mardi Gras fashion—purple, green, gold, or parade-ready costumes are welcome.
After the gala, head into the Theater to hear the best of the Great American Songbook as performed by the tremendously talented, always-entertaining Orchestra.
Saturday, February 25, gala at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m., $50 for both, $25-30 concert only
By Anna Chandler/Connect Savannah
CELEBRATE original Lowcountry songwriting with a stellar lineup of musicians, including two Savannah Songwriters Series veterans.
Sarah Tollerson returns to the SSS circle. A Winder, Georgia native, Tollerson has received high praise and awards for her musical talents, earning the John Lennon Scholarship for Songwriting and the Berklee College of Music Performing Songwriter Award. Catch her while you can—the talented musician just announced that she and her husband are expecting their first child in September, and Sunday’s performance will be her last for a while.
These days, you can catch Sarah Poole fronting alternative rock band Ember City, but she still shows off her acoustic, singer-songwriter side. She’ll belt it out solo on Sunday.
Josh Johansson has been gigging and playing cover songs for about four years, but he’s just begun exploring his own songwriting talents. This is his SSS debut.
Abe Partridge has led a colorful life: from theological education to time in the Air Force to roofing, his wealth of experience led him to write an album of original music, White Trash Lipstick, in 2015.
Sunday, August 7, 7 p.m., $10, all-ages
By Thomas Oliver
Savannah Songwriters Series
In its sixth year of providing a one-of-a kind format for songwriters, the Savannah Songwriters Series is moving to the Tybee Post Theater.
In its first year after reopening, the Post Theater has quickly become the a popular venue for live music. It created Tybee City Limits, a monthly showcase of live local bands and songwriters and has hosted numerous sold-out shows featuring a variety of musical genres from a Tribute to Bill Monroe and the Ladies of the Blues to the Gonzalo Bergara Quartet.
Now, beginning April 3, the Post will present the monthly Savannah Songwriters monthly showcase of four songwriters in-the-round swapping songs and the stories behind them.
Kicking off the new adventure will be none other than the founder of the SSS, Jefferson Ross.
Joining him will be one of Savannah‘s long-time favorite songwriters, Jan Spillane. Rounding out the foursome will be Tim Malchak making his SSS debut, and Tybee’s own balladeer Thomas Oliver.
Southern folk artist, Jefferson Ross, is a songwriter, singer, guitar slinger and painter weaving stories for the ears and the eyes. Now living in Atlanta, Jefferson travels throughout the U.S. and Europe performing his original music and sharing his art.
Noted music critic Peter Cooper wrote of his latest CD, “Dogwood Cats:” Jefferson’s music is “flannel-warm in the chilled autumn.”
Jefferson lived from years in Nashville playing for a number recording artists including, Terri Clark, and sharing the stage with Country Music greats such as George Strait, Toby Keith, Reba and Vince Gill. He worked as a staff writer for a number of publishers on Music Row including Curb Music.
In 2010, he moved his young family to Savannah, where he helped create the Savannah Songwriters Series, Three years later, he and his family moved to Atlanta. He maintains a home and office in Nashville as well.
Jan Spillane writes, “If you’re not feeling it, don’t do it!”
A native of Savannah and Tybee since birth, the south is Jan Spillane’s home. She plays guitar and piano “she literally sounds like no one else.” Georgia Music Magazine added, “She’s like a lyrical acrobat.”
She’s been traveling to Nashville for the past 25 years and has written, recorded, and performed with some of Nashville’s Who’s Who. To date, she’s released four CD’s, three singles, two videos and in late spring of 2016, her CD, “Blue Canvas” will be released. Some of her credits include: “If Looks Could Kill” which was licensed for a promo on Showtime Cable Networks popular series, “The L Word.” She’s had a single song contract with Ah Ha Music Group for the song, “What it’s Not” and co-written with legendary singer/songwriter, Wood Newton.
From the peace, love, and rock & roll days of the 1960’s to the infectious trend of Americana, Jan creates a passionate and soulful, yet hypnotizing and energetic sound.
A veteran of 40 years in the music business, singer/songwriter Tim Malchak has persevered through many victories and failures.
Many of those experiences shine through in his music. Tim has recorded a total of 14 albums including seven Christian CD’s. As an international and award-winning recording artist in Nashville during the 1908s, Tim first came to be known in the music industry during that time with a string of Top 40 hit singles in Billboard’s Country Music Charts.
Songs like his self-penned “Colorado Moon” and “Restless Angel” helped to establish him as a gifted and influential singer/songwriter.
Later, in 1987 he was honored by Billboard Magazine as one of the Top Ten New Country Artists of that year. In 1988 he signed a major label record deal with MCA/Universal Records and in May of 1989 his critically acclaimed album “Different Circles” was released. During that time he shared the stage with country legends such as of Vince Gill, Alison Krause, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Barbara Mandrell, Willie Nelson, and the list goes on. In 1993 Tim appeared on Farm Aid VI in Ames Iowa that was viewed by over 200 million viewers on TNN.
A survivor of a 26-year addiction, Tim is now 21 years drug free. His career is now centered in church. He is a worship leader at Calvary Baptist Temple in Savannah.
Tybee Island singer/songwriter Thomas Oliver “knows how to hook you with a punchy line,” according to the Savannah Morning News. Connect Savannah said his songwriting “displays a fine — one might say journalistic — eye for detail and poetic flow.”
And Red Line Roots wrote, “…in a world of people trying to make country music and falling short, [Thomas Oliver] soars high above the competition.”
He followed 2013’s “The Edge of America” CD, with this year’s EP, “When You Kissed Me.”
Thomas is a producer of the Savannah Songwriters Series, now in its sixth year of showcasing local songwriters, with the occasional touring artist’s appearance. He also MCs Tybee City Limits.
By Molly Hayden
It’s been more than four decades since Huxsie Scott first took the stage belting out blues to an adoring crowd, and for her, it’s still a dream job.
“It’s something I want to do every day,” she said. “That hasn’t changed.”
The Savannah legend said her musical influences have always leaned to the blues, colored in a bit of gospel.
“They both tell a story and that’s my job — to tell that story and give the message of the song.”
Scott will tell the stories of love on Feb. 13 at Tybee Post Theater during a Valentine’s Day-themed concert coined “Ladies of the Blues.” This is the first of a three-part blues concert series and will feature Scott and another local songstress, Danielle Hicks.
The pair, both originally from Georgia, represents two generations of the blues: Scott as one of the leading names in female blues in the South, and Hicks with a newer adaptation of the genre.
“I started out singing rock ‘n’ roll with my dad’s band, then pop and R&B in New York,” Hicks said. “I’ve only focused on the blues for the past five years, but I’ve always been drawn to it. The blues represents something so classic.”
The musical showcase will honor the classic as well with its talent and simplicity.
Set in cabaret style, the vocalists take center stage accompanied by pianist Jared Hall. This arrangement, void of theatrics, allows the audience to focus solely on the music, and with Hicks’ sultry vocals complementing Scott’s signature soul, is sure to be a diverse performance.
Ricardo Ochoa, music programing director for Tybee Post Theater, said the intimate setting, with less than 200 seats available, would add to the experience.
“The audience can enjoy the performance up close,” he said. “(This is) a place where the community can get to know the artists and feel proud of the them.”
The blues, like the other great American music forms — jazz, country, zydeco — was born in the South and then exported to places like St. Louis and Chicago, where it expanded and developed its own sound. But the theme is always the same, Hicks said.
“I feel like blues is about love or heartache. One or the other,” she said. “And that makes it personal.”
By Anna Chandler
Pre-game for Valentine’s with an evening of blues from two of Savannah’s finest vocalists, Huxsie Scott and Danielle Hicks. Each represent a different generation of Savannah blues and are famous ’round these parts for pouring soul, passion, and stunning chops into their set.
Huxsie “The Golden Voice” Scott is a local legend, known as one of the greatest jazz/blues artists to ever represent the Lowcountry. Scott was the original vocalist for the Savannah Jazz Orchestra and acted as the great Ben Tucker’s featured vocalist for many years; she’s performed with numerous jazz ensembles and symphony orchestras since 1973. Among her many career highlights, Scott sang the title song in the 1996 Olympics, placed in the American Traditions Competition, and has been inducted into the Savannah Tribune Gospel Hall of Fame as well as Coastal Jazz Association’s Hall of Fame.
Hicks is a native of Tifton, Georgia; after graduating top of her high school class, she headed north to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy on scholarship for acting, singing, and dancing. New York City was home for nine years, but Hicks found her way back to Georgia and is happily settled in Savannah, where you can catch her at all manner of venues many nights of the week.
Accompanied by piano man Jared Hall, the ladies will offer their takes on classic American blues from Etta James to Janis Joplin to Bessie Smith. With a fitting Valentine’s theme, it’s a perfect warmup to February 14.
Saturday, February 13, 8 p.m., $25 general admission, all-ages
“Ama and the White Crane,” Sat. and Sun. matinees, Jan. 30-31, 3 pm
Bring the whole family to see this stylish retelling of the Japanese folktale, “Ama and the White Crane,” by Maureen O’Toole, performed by the all-new Islands High School Drama Club.
Inspired by the great Japanese theatre traditions, an imaginative blend of mystery, movement and music follows the journey of Ama and her puppet companion, the White Crane. Ama battles many forces in her epic quest to free her village from the power of an evil demon, while she is accompanied by a comic pair of samurai and servant.
Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 30-31, 3 pm matinee. Doors open at 2:30; curtain up at 3 pm
Tickets are $7 Adults; $5 Students, 17 and under.
Ladies of the Blues, Sat. Feb. 13, 8 pm
A Valentine’s Special. Huxsie Scott and Danielle Hicks belt out the blues in the first of a three-part blues concert series. This show features two female vocalists who follow in the footsteps of all-American vocal legends such as Bessie Smith, Etta James and Janis Joplin, among others.
Savannah legend Huxsie Scott will share the stage with the most talented Danielle Hicks. Two contrasting styles full of emotion, passion and excitement will feature music of the heart
accompanied by everyone’s favorite Jared Hall on piano. It is not surprising that these divas have chosen a Valentine theme to share with all who attend.
This Blues Series is sponsored by The Savannah Bee Company.
Sat. Feb. 13., Doors open at 7:30 pm. Show starts at 8 pm.
Tickets are $25 general admission; $22.50 for Theater members.
A Tribute to John Prine,
Sat. Feb. 20, 8 pm
The Accomplices Band and Friends present a night of live music honoring folk hero John Prine.
In addition to The Accomplices, featured performers include Folly Beach’s Dangermuffin and local favorites American Hologram (Eric Britt, Craig Tanner, and Britt Scott), Jason Bible (of The Train Wrecks), Aaron Zimmer (of City Hotel), and many more.
Get your tickets early for this very special show in the intimate setting of the historic Tybee Post Theater. Three quart of the tickets are already sold out.
Sat., Feb. 20, Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8 pm.
Tickets are $25 general admission, $22.50 for Theater members
Tybee City Limits, Sun. Feb. 21, 8 pm.
The new year’s first Tybee City Limits, the Best in Live Local Music has a stellar lineup for this bluesy show. Our two headline bands are the Eric Culberson Band and the Greg Williams Band; and Crystina Parker is up as our solo singer/songwriter opening the show.
The Eric Culberson Band, like our two other performers, hails from Savannah and is steeped in the Blues tradition. They are a very popular, high energy three-piece band that has been on the road and entertaining audiences for more than 20 years.Greg Willliams’ brand of bluesy rock and pop has been heard in clubs and festivals from Savannah to St. Croix, sharing the stage with the likes of John Mayer, Shawn Mullins and Warren Zevon. And Crystina Parker, who also plays with the The Lovely Locks, is a storytelling raconteur and one of the most passionate hardest-playing songwriters on the Savannah scene. You won’t want to miss this show!
Sat., Feb. 20, 8 pm. Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8 pm.
Tickets are $10 general admission, $9 for Theater members
“A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline,”
Sat. Feb. 27, 8 pm
After hundreds of sold-out performances on the North American tour and an award-winning run in Branson, Mo., one of the hottest stage shows in America rolls into Tybee when we present the musical theater sensation, “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.”
The show traces the late star’s footsteps from her early honky-tonk days and radio fame through her rise at the Grand Ole Opry and triumphs at Carnegie Hall andLas Vegas.
Written and conceived by Dean Regan, the musical reveals the emotional depth and range of a singer who defined the term “crossover hit” by dominating country, blues, pop and gospel charts simultaneously in the 1950s and early 1960s. Starring a powerhouse singer and actress who sings 22 of Patsy’s greatest hits including “Walkin’ After Midnight,””Sweet Dreams,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “She’s Got You,” “Seven Lonely Days” and the title song, “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”
Backed up by a band of singers and musicians, Patsy interacts throughout the show with Little Big Man, a disc jockey from her hometown in Winchester, Va., as well as a host of outrageous stand-up comics that serve as warm-up acts for her concerts and radio shows. You won’t want to miss this very special stage production!
Sat., Feb. 27. Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8 pm.
Tickets are $25 reserved seating, $22.50 Theater members, $15 Students 17 and under.
CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
By Anna Chandler
IF YOU thank your lucky stars for clawhammer pickin’, freight-train-rapid mandolin, and the mellifluous sounds of Appalachia, praise Bill Monroe.
On Friday, the Tybee Post Theater will pay tribute to the Father of Bluegrass himself in an evening of music and oral history.
Atlanta’s New South String Band leads the production with selections from Monroe’s expansive catalog and stories of the legend’s life and legacy. Comprised of fiddle player Kenny Lambert, guitarist, banjoist, and vocalist Brian Stephens, clog dancer and bassist Maggie Aderhold Stephens and bluegrass pioneer Joel Aderhold, New South String Band is a troupe of champions who have scooped up many esteemed awards for their talents.
Lambert began his musical life on the fiddle and has enjoyed success as a symphonic violinist, touring with the likes of Yo Yo Ma, Robin Thicke, Casting Crowns, Wynnona Judd. He holds the 2012 Georgia Mountain Fiddle King crown from the Georgia State Championship fiddle contest, and is first violinist in the Savannah Philharmonic and Greenville Symphony Orchestra.
Brian Stephens has certainly racked up recognition at Georgia Official State Fiddlers’ Convention, taking home First Place honors in Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar – Finger Style, and Second Place in Guitar – Flat Pick.
Maggie Aderhold Stephens grew up with Georgia bluegrass and currently is a mainstay at Suwanee’s Everett Music Barn, where she and husband Brian perform together on Saturday nights.
Tybee Post Theater Music Programming Director Ricardo Ochoa predicts that the New Year will be filled with memories and loving tributes to Monroe’s legacy.
“It will be twenty years since his passing in 2016,” he notes.
Picking up the mandolin at the young age of 10, Monroe got his live performance start while playing guitar in his fiddler uncle’s band. Monroe formed a group with his brothers Birch and Charlie when he was 18, playing for evening barn dances after getting off work at the Sinclair Oil refinery. The Monroe Brothers toured, signed on to RCA-Victor’s Bluebird division to record in 1936, and scored a minor hit, “What Would You Give in Exchange,” before members went separate ways to form new groups.
After a brief stint in Little Rock, Bill headed to Atlanta, where he formed his seminal group. The Blue Grass Boys is the reason we have the term “bluegrass” today; Monroe himself invented a genre characterized by tight harmonies, quick tempos, and incredible musical precision that would change music forever.
Guitarist/vocalist Lester Flatt, banjoist Earl Scruggs, fiddler Chubby Wise, bassist Howard Watts, and Monroe comprised the “classic” Blue Grass Boys lineup that recorded with Monroe in 1945. With mandolin as a centerpiece, Monroe and his Blue Grass Playboys developed a hard-driving string band style; they hit the charts for the first time in 1946 with “Kentucky Waltz.” “Footprints in the Snow” followed, clocking in at Number Five on the charts.
Though Tybee’s tribute may not take place beneath Monroe’s classic circus-style tent, the Tybee Post Theater is a magical setting, perfect for a journey into the mind of a great American artist. Amidst the earthy scent of fresh-laid brick, handsome rows of stadium seats (originally from Trustees Theater), and a large American flag backdrop, the charming auditorium has a coziness and intimacy that’s perfectly suited for acoustic music.
If you’ve ever seen Ochoa’s gypsy jazz band Velvet Caravan, you probably are familiar with the group’s deep admiration for gypsy jazz pioneer guitarist Django Reinhardt; when they cover his songs, Ochoa and the Velvet Caravan boys often tell stories to contextualize the work. Naturally, Ochoa is very excited for Monroe devotees Lambert and Stephens to share their wealth of knowledge on Monroe’s life.
“Having them present and play makes it more interesting for the audience,” Ochoa says. “When I see an artist, I want to know about them. In a historical context, it will make you appreciate bluegrass more. It makes people love and appreciate the music more.”
This is a key moment for the resurrection of old-time, bluegrass, and traditional music. In a fast-paced, multi-tasking, screen-glow world, Ochoa thinks music lovers are searching for a certain kind of authenticity in their concert-going.
“More people are looking for an intimate setting and are getting away from the arena sound,” he observes.
An evening of mountain music by the sea? It doesn’t get much further from the arena than that.