Roadkill Ghost Choir and Nightingale News at The Jinx – photos

Roadkill Ghost Choir came through town again last week for the first time since 2014. They were performing with keys this time, which added another beautiful, mysterious layer to their dark southern rock. Since Roadkill Ghost Choir hadn’t been in Savannah for a while, I was a little worried that there might be a meager turnout for this MusicFile Productions/Savannah Stopover booking, but no worries — the Athens-based band obviously has a strong following among rock fans down here on the coast. The Jinx seems a perfect setting for them.

Savannah’s Nightingale News opened. Fronted by the fascinating Coy Campbell – – check out our recent interview with him here — the band’s performances are compelling and evocative. Great stuff.

Both Skye Duke and I took some photos, so here’s kind of a mega-gallery. Lots more after the jump:





4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra at El-Rocko Lounge – photos

I have a feeling that this morning quite a few of you are living Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’, made popular by Johnny Cash. Savannah was full of live music & events last night. Notable was the performance by 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra from Atlanta, Georgia at Wes Daniel’s newly opened El-Rocko Lounge. Though Wes told me previously that he doesn’t intend for the bar to be a regular live-music venue, the lounge is perfect for a bigger crowd, and the room does seem like a natural location for shows. As I looked around from my perch in the DJ booth I saw a cross-pollination of this city’s varying ‘scenes’, and a smile on every face. For me, personally, it felt oddly reminiscent of Atlanta in the old days before the population explosion, which I’m sure had everything to do with the fact that Wes, myself, Roger Ruzow (4WAKO), and Brian Halloran (W8ing4UFOS & Smoke) were all present last night. I’m not sure of the last time that all four of us were in the same room together. Possibly as long ago as the nineties, but I digress….

The opening weekend of El-Rocko has been a who’s who of Savannah, and last evening’s show was the perfect nightcap to it all. I shot in advance of Friday’s opening for a Connect Savannah article written by Anna Chandler, and will also have a photo-gallery up on Savannah Magazine‘s page in the coming days. Congratulations to Wes, Kieffer, Ikeda, and the rest of the staff for putting on one hell of a party. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Here are a few photos, with more live music & crowd shots after the jump.




after 15 years, Kylesa takes “a break”

If you haven’t heard the news, Kylesa made a huge announcement on Thursday evening:

It’s worth clicking on through to Kylesa’s Facebook page to read some of the personal reflections and thanks from fans and fellow musicians. On the band’s website, the announcement is aptly titled “Time Will Fuse Its Worth”.

In 2015, I interviewed Kylesa’s Phillip Cope for an Oxford American piece on Black Tusk, the passing of Athon, and the heavy Savannah scene generally. Cope’s stories about early touring didn’t make the final edit, but he had some fascinating things to say about the degree to which Kylesa became international ambassadors for the Savannah scene and even more importantly for the city itself.

As I suggested in that OA piece, Savannah’s current underground scene has shifted away from metal toward various stripes of punk and garage rock. And that seems fitting in a way since Kylesa, its precursor Damad, Black Tusk, and Baroness arguably grew out of punk. Kylesa may generally be considered “sludge metal”, but their music has always resisted easy labels.

I love Kylesa’s latest album Exhausting Fire (click here for purchase links), which took so many artistic risks, explored so many layers of sound and emotion, and hinted at so many possible futures. If that turns out to be the last Kylesa album, it’s not a bad way to go out.

But, hey, Cope, Laura Pleasants, and Carl McGinley (the three core members of the band) and their other collaborators aren’t going anywhere. All are immensely talented and have many options ahead, including continued development of their upstart label Retro Futurist. We wish all of them the best and look forward to reporting on their next moves.


Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour – 4/29/16 – 5/3/16

Hey guys,
If you are old (like me) and always complaining about late music start times, Friday is definitely a good night to go out. At 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening, you have a choice of some rockabilly outside at the Rail Pub (should be beautiful weather) or an exciting new singer-songwriter series at the Jinx happy hour with the frontmen of two of Savaannah’s finest bands, Jason Bible (Train Wrecks) and Matt Eckstine (Accomplices), as well as AM Rodriguez and Pat Bunger.

If you are still ready to rock after those shows, head out to the Sentient Bean on the other side of Forsyth Park and see some cool rock from three good bands, and it’s happy hour at the Bean until 9pm. That’s a lot of exciting music before 10pm!  

For those of us that enjoy the late stuff, there are tons of good shows going on later that night. There will be an increasingly rare local show from the Accomplices at the Social Club, pretty good dance band (with great lights) at Wild Wing, rock bands at Barrelhouse, and a punk show at the Jinx. Any (or all) of those shows will be a lot of fun and I hope to catch several of them.

Saturday brings us almost as much action as Friday. There will be another good show at the Social Club, the Return of the Train Wrecks. There will also be a dance show at Barrelhouse, and another punk show at the Jinx.  I am looking forward to all of the bands at the show, which will be the Savannah debut (I think?) of the new Pussy Launcher. Maybe the most-anticipated event of Saturday evening will be the official grand opening of Wes Daniel’s new club, El-Rocko. I got to tour the new place last week, it looks like it will be another downtown hot spot from Mr. Daniel.

The weekend lasts until Sunday this week with an early, free show from Wreckless Eric at Congress Street Social Club. I caught a little of Eric at the Bragg Jam last year and I am looking forward to seeing him with a much better view this time. Be sure to catch his interview with Anna Chandler in this week’s Connect. If you are out toward Tybee on Sunday, you will want to be sure to catch the Sav’h Songwriter’s show at the Tybee Post Sunday evening.

There are lots of chances to see some music around town this week, so I hope to see some of you out and about. If you enjoy the music, don’t forget to drop some $$$ in the bucket, it will come back to you two-fold in positive karma.

Friday 29th
Johnny OctaneRail Pub (7-10p)
Jason Bible, Matt Eckstine, Pat Bunger, AM RodriguezJinx Songwriters Happy Hour (6-8:30)
Best Behavior, Generation Pill, The LipschitzSentient Bean  (8p, $5 donation, all ages)
AccomplicesCongess Street Social Club
Groovetown AssaultWild Wing Cafe
McLovins, Kansas Bible CompanyBarrelhouse South
Anxiety Junkies, Karbomb, On The CinderJinx

Saturday 30th
CBDB, Groove OrientBarrelhouse South
Train WrecksCongress Street Social Club
4th Ward Afro-Klezmer OrchestraEl-Rocko Lounge Grand Opening  (117 Whitaker St)
Pussy Launcher, Gumps, ColorWorld, Between Symmetries, Jeff Two-Names & The Born AgainsJinx

Sunday 1st
Wreckless EricCongress Street Social Club (5:30)
Pete Love, Markus Kuhlman, CC Witt, Wayne MartinSavannah Songwriters at Tybee Post Theater

Monday 2nd
Craig Tanner & Mr Williams Open MicAbe’s On Lincoln

Tuesday 3rd
Jeremy RiddleFoxy Loxy Cafe  (7p, all ages)
Ben Keiser BandBay Street Blues
Eric Culberson Open MicBayou Cafe

Duke Ellington Birthday Tribute at Armstrong – photos

Quick, name three American jazz Composers. Could you do it? I hope so. If not, then how about Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, David Axelrod, Thad Jones, Fats Waller, and Duke Ellington just to name a few.  Each artist in this list has shaped musical theory and creativity through all spectrums of the culture, from rock to rap — across the board and down the line.

Jazz is our music, born in America and smothered in gravy, a testament to all that is pure and divine. Do you have a drum set? Thank jazz. Have you ever used the word “cool”? Thank jazz. It’s in our bones and spawned from the grounds we tread upon. So, pour me some bourbon, pass the wine, light a smoke, tie one on, hit the play button, crank up the volume, and rip the knob off the stereo.

This past Sunday, Armstrong State University along with the Coastal Jazz Association and Savannah Jazz Orchestra put on “Rite of Swing“, a hell of a birthday tribute to one of the greats — Duke Ellington. With special guests saxophonist/flutist Alfred Waters and singer Priscilla Albergottie, Armstrong brought the world to a screeching halt for a couple of hours, playing some of Duke Ellington’s classic big band jazz songs. It was a sight to behold, and I’m ever humbled by the talent expressed there that day.

If you missed this event and want to get in on all things cool, then join the Coastal Jazz Association on Facebook. Also, keep an eye peeled out here at Hissing Lawns to catch all the information surrounding the next Jazz concert or event in Savannah.

A couple of photos here, with more after the jump:

Savannah Jazz Orch-Al Waters-Priscalla Albergottie 5

Savannah Jazz Orch-Al Waters-Priscalla Albergottie 7

Savannah Jazz Orch-Al Waters-Priscalla Albergottie 9

Rock And Roll Prom: Sci-Fi Edition at The Jinx – photos

Admittedly, I was never one for prom in high school. The over-the-top decorations, the excessively formal outfits, the dread of trying to find a date, wait, let’s forget about that last part.

Anyway, now that I’m in my 20s and nostalgia pangs have begun to hit in full, I relish everything that Rock And Roll Prom, now in its third year, brings with it. The garish costumes, the ability to (legally) have a few drinks, and, most importantly, the awesome display of bands that comes along with it. This year, Savannah’s own The Hypnotics, COEDS, and The Wave Slaves provided the perfect set list for the prom that I’ve always wanted. While I was a little too busy manning the photobooth to get shots of the bands (it is prom after all, you’ve got to have a photo memory), I did get a few stellar shots of the attendees having a blast. Check them out and make sure you make prom next year if you missed out!

Rock And Roll Prom04

Rock And Roll Prom10

Rock And Roll Prom12

Colin Gilmore & Velvet Caravan at Tybee Post Theater – photos

Texas songwriter Colin Gilmore and Savannah’s own Velvet Caravan have been in the midst of a mini-tour over the last week, after successful performances together at SxSW. More than once I overheard the comment ‘I wish these guys would do this collaboration more often’ while I was shooting the show for the Tybee Post Theater last night. Fortunately there is one more chance to hear these friends & musicians on this run, tonight in Bluffton, South Carolina at the Roasting Room Lounge. I guarantee the lineup, and the music that they’re creating together is more than worth a short drive over the bridge.

Here are a few highlight photos, with more after the jump. Thanks to the venue for allowing me to use some of the shots for this post.

Colin Gilmore

Colin Gilmore

Colin Gilmore & Velvet Caravan

Colin Gilmore & Velvet Caravan

Velvet Caravan

Velvet Caravan

Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour – 4/21/16 – 4/26/16

Hey guys,
Every night this week has some good music, but Friday’s shows look especially exciting. The Jinx Prom is always a good time. I have been waiting on Come Back Alice to return for quite a while now. And Stereo Reform usually puts on a fun show. And the Wormhole has a good night of rock from a few of Savannah’s best prog-rock bands. I am hoping to make it to all of the listed shows at once, but that may be kinda hard to do.

I’d also like to remind everyone that the Connect Best Of  voting ends tomorrow. I hope some (most?) of you will consider voting for hissing lawns for best blog and/or website.  Thanks.

Thursday 4/21
Morning Fatty (FL funk-rock) – Barrelhouse South
Waits & Co (Sav’h Americana) – Molly MacPherson’s

Friday 4/22
Wave Slaves (Sav’h surf rock), Hypnotics (Sav’h garage rock), COEDS (Sav’h rawk) – Jinx Rock n’ Roll Prom
Come Back Alice (FL gypsy funk), Signal Fire (NC reggae-rock) – Barrelhouse South
Stereo Reform (SC Dance-a-funk-a-rock-a-tronic) – Congress Street Social Club
Star Period Star (Sav’h progressive), Culture Vulture (Sav’h instrumental progressive rock), Clandestiny – Wormhole

Saturday 2/23
Johnny Octane Band (Sav’h rockabilly) – Basil’s
Lord NelsonCongress Street Social Club
Mobley, Miquel Moure (Sav’h rock) – Wormhole
NoNeed (FL reggae-rock), Part One Tribe (FL reggae) – Barrelhouse South
Roadkill Ghost Choir (Athens folk-rock), Nightingale News (Sav’h rock) – Jinx ($10)

Tuesday 26th
Ray Lundy (Sav’h blues) – Foxy Loxy Cafe
Clouds & Satellites (Sav’h rawk) – Foxy Loxy Cafe
Ben Keiser Band (Sav’h blues-rock) – Bay Street Blues

Q & A with Coy Campbell of Nightingale News

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
Hunter S. Thompson

Around the first of the year, Nightingale News signed a deal through Savannah label Bomb Shelter Records. Now, with the blood still fresh on their hands, the band has made strong strides out of the gate and is in production on a new album, with an undisclosed release date. The group has managed to find time away from recording to play two concerts in the near future. You can catch them this Saturday, April 23rd at The Jinx, where they’ll be playing with Roadkill Ghost Choir.

Nightingale News’ sound is a whirlwind mix of bluegrass/southwestern rock, the kind that will knock you on your ass if you come within earshot without the proper precautions, and I have no doubt they will leave someone in the audience in need of serious medical attention. Their presence is heavy, and they pull that weight through the sludge with a driving rhythm and thunderous lyrics that set fire to hearts and burn down souls. I should know. I’ve been one of the victims they’ve floored during a show.

Earlier this week I had a chance to catch up with Coy Campbell, lead singer and frontman for the band, at his home here in Savannah. It was god awful late in the evening; the sun had already put most children to bed. Coy was in between band rehearsals and looked worn thin when he answered the door. But, after greeting me with big smile and warmly inviting me into his home, he immediately went to his piano to quietly tinker with something while I placed myself and set up the bombardment of questions.

The house was quiet when I finished my prepping, so I watched him panning over sheets of music for a while. I’ve seen this before, I thought. He’s possessed, a man holding himself up against the coals of a fire still warm with things that haunt one’s mind. I was captivated, cause if that kind of passion won’t carry over onto the people surrounding it then those in witness have no soul. How can you not admire someone that will put so much of themselves into a concept that it physically drains them? You can’t. I didn’t. And, I wasn’t about to become one of those soulless bastards that observes something like that and blows it off as ordinary.

Coy has a strong presence about him. You can see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice when he gets rolling on that which strikes his gusto. He’s a southern gentleman at heart with strong ties to Texas and South Georgia, a military brat that never set roots down for long but has always felt the call that every true southerner can hear from any far reaching corner of this dark and depraved world.

Nightingale News band

Nightingale News

hl: When did you realize you wanted to play music?

CC: Pretty early on, but it was like watching someone speaking Chinese.

hl: What was the first instrument you picked up to play?

CC: Bass.

hl: And what drew you to that?

Review: Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (Atlantic, 2016)


A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, the third album from Sturgill Simpson, is a major-label, big-budget outing with sweeping, cinematic strings and driving horns that call to mind both The Memphis Horns and Allen Toussaint’s horn arrangements for The Band. It’s also an ambitious song cycle featuring careful transitions from one song to the next. A record like this just doesn’t get made anymore. And a one-time industry outsider like ol’ Sturgill definitely doesn’t get to make a record like this anymore. But here we are.

Simpson always tells the press he hails from southeast Kentucky, which is only partially true. He was born in the southeast part of the state, but he attended high school in Woodford County, right outside of the big city of Lexington. His early band Sunday Valley was based out of Lexington for close to a decade before ensconcing in the Music City of Nashville, Tennessee and promptly disbanding.

After Sunday Valley parted ways, Simpson recorded and released his solo debut, 2013’s High Top Mountain on his own record label. With the release of Metamodern Sounds in Country Music a year later in 2014, Simpson would find himself garnering praise from such big name publications as The New York Times and Rolling Stone and making no fewer than five late night talk show appearances. The major labels came calling soon after.

Reverend Justin Hylton – interview

In continuing to document the Atlanta-Savannah Americana/Roots circuit, I reached out to Atlanta’s Reverend Hylton about his current tour, and what the latest news is from the road. The following interview is an email response to five questions that I asked. He’ll be performing this July with my band Waits & Co. at Bluffton, South Carolina’s newish venue Roasting Room Lounge & Listening Room. By clicking on this highlighted Stubborn Nail you can preview Justin’s new album.

Reverend Justin Hylton

Reverend Justin Hylton

HL: How’s the tour going, have you met some interesting folks along the way, and is touring a regular part of your ‘doings’?

RH: The tour has been a lot of fun! I left on March 4th and today is April 17th so it’s been a decent one. I think touring is one of the best parts of what I do. I get to travel all over the place and play music. I run into so many great and interesting people along the way from the people I get to play with to the people I get to play for. It’s always an adventure and I love it! This is the fourth tour I have been on in a little over a year and I have no intention of quitting. It is definitely a part of my life now.

HL: Since this tour is in support of your new album, can you tell us a bit about it, the inspiration behind the songs, who else was involved with the recording, and what other ‘work’ do you have out?

RH: This tour in support of my new album, “Stubborn Nail”. It is my first official release as Reverend Hylton. I was in a Jam Band a few years back called Three Down Crew. This album takes me back to my roots. After spending years doing many other projects it was time to get back to where I come from. Learning to play guitar from my Grandfather as a teenager, we would pick on the front porch for hours. I immediately started writing and I have been through all the ups and downs since then. The inspiration for the songs come from my life experiences. The good, but mostly the hard times and finding a way to make it out the other side. This album was recorded at Unity Studio just outside of Atlanta. I brought on Robert Green to engineer and help produce. I wanted to make a simple album and he helped out tremendously. He also plays the base on some of the tracks. On harmonies and fiddle is Jessica Almand, my partner in a project I do called Nine years apart. I love singing songs with her and see brings so much to this album. We also brought in Atlanta’s super player Jenna Mobley to play some strings, including violin, cello, and viola on a couple tracks.

HL: Given that a lot of your music is autobiographical is writing songs a cathartic process for you. If so, what do you hope that the listeners will take away from your songs?

RH: Absolutely! I’ve always said if I didn’t have my music I would be that bad kind of crazy. It’s always helped through the rough times. I definitely feel blessed to have that outlet. I know my music isn’t for everyone. I hope for the people that do relate to it, that they find some hope. We’ve all experienced hard times in our lives and I am no exception. I am lucky to have found a way out of those hard times and I hope people can hear that in my music.

HL: Why does performing live music matter to you, and how long have you been a ‘working’ musician?

RH: Performing live is where I feel most at home. It’s where I feel I do my best stuff. it’s really hard to capture that in the studio. There is nothing like feeling that intimate relationship with the people that are listening to you. I have been performing live for probably 15 years. In my twenties i did a lot of traveling and playing music. Two years ago I quit my day job and went back to playing music full time. There is nothing glamorous about what I do but I am doing what I love and wouldn’t want it any other way.

HL: What is the Americana/Roots Music scene like in Atlanta?

RH: The Americana/Roots scene in Atlanta is awesome! Every time I turn around there is some new songwriter or band doing something great. It just keeps on growing and I really feel like it’s becoming a strong family of people who just want to lift each other up. It’s getting to a point where you can go out almost every night and see one of your friends doing their thing. To me that’s really important; community.

In Memory – John Bowen

To say that the Savannah music scene is a close knit one is the understatement of a lifetime. In a community where locals instinctively hold close to each other, it’s hard not to notice a new face. And as often as John Bowen went to shows, you probably saw him or met him at a show in the last few months. Unfortunately, being so close also means that losing a part of that community always hits close to home, especially when that loss is unexpected. Last Wednesday’s memorial for John featuring some of his favorite local bands is the kind of sendoff I’d imagine that he’d want. Good people coming together over good music.

I’ll admit, I didn’t get to know John very well in his time here in Savannah. We’d run into each other on occasion, share a few words, usually about bands, and then go our separate ways until we met again. In the interactions that I had with John, I could tell a couple of things though. He had good taste in music, not an accolade I get to throw around too often, which makes me wonder why he liked our band quite as much as he did, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

Secondly, if I was hard pressed to put a definition on punk and what it meant to be a punk, John’s name would definitely come up. It’s hard to boil down what being a punk is, and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that defying definition is part of the punk culture, but whatever the key is, John had it. It’s not about what you wear, or even what you listen to if we’re being really honest. It’s about supporting your scene and each other, two things that John did. Lastly, and most importantly in my head, John was genuine. No airs, no pretenses, just a good guy that liked music — something that our scene, Savannah, and pretty much everywhere could use more of these days. So let’s all strive to remember John in the best way possible: go out and enjoy some music and each other.

Here are a few shots from the tribute show at Sulfur Studios:

Bowen Sulfur Studio05 Bowen Sulfur Studio01 Bowen Sulfur Studio02 Bowen Sulfur Studio03 Bowen Sulfur Studio04