is Savannah on the verge of allowing 18+ shows at key music venues?

Don’t get excited. Don’t get overconfident. Don’t assume anything is a done deal until it’s actually done.

And don’t assume that any elected official who raises questions is your enemy. Savannah’s new mayor and council members will likely do their due diligence before adopting the alcohol ordinance rewrite that city staffers have been working on for three years.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a longtime freelance columnist with the Savannah Morning News. I wrote extensively about the mistaken assumptions behind banning 18- to 20-year-olds from many live music venues close to a decade ago, and I’ve written off and on ever since about all the negative fallout from that ordinance change, including the ways that young adults were cut off from the cultural life of the city, the problem created for entrepreneurs who might want to open larger venues but need college-age patrons to make the numbers work, and the bands that bypass the city completely because we don’t have the right venues.

Savannah Stopover lineup announcement at The Jinx – photos

We love Savannah Stopover. We wholeheartedly support the local scene. And we’re certainly no strangers to The Jinx. If you’ve followed the blog for any time at all none of these things should come as much of a surprise.

So it was pretty much a no brainer that we were at the Stopover Lineup Release Party featuring one of our favorite locals and a couple up and coming talents. We’ve talked about the stellar 2016 lineup already, and you’ll read a lot more about it in the next month or so leading up to one of the most fun weekends of the year.

COEDS, Garden Giant and Street Clothes are great representatives of our thriving local scene and each band put on a strong set proving just that. COEDS are well established Stopover veterans and I’m willing to bet that we’ll be seeing plenty of Garden Giant and Street Clothes in the near future. Great music, packed room…exactly the formula that the Savannah Stopover is built on.

Both Bill and I shot plenty of pictures, click through for a full gallery.

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Savannah Music Festival adds 6 acts, including Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Drive-By Truckers

The Savannah Music Festival has added six new acts for 2016:

  • Andrew Bird (with full band) – 7:30 p.m., 3/29, Lucas Theatre
  • U.S. Marine Corps All Star Jazz Band – 2 p.m., 4/4, Trustees Theater – FREE
  • Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – 7:30 p.m., 4/4, Lucas Theatre
  • Dave Rawlings Machine – 7:30 p.m., 4/5, Trustees Theater
  • Drive-By Truckers – 8:30 p.m., 4/6, Trustees Theater
  • My Brightest Diamond – 10:30 p.m., 4/8, & 3 p.m., 4/9, Charles H. Morris Center

Tickets are now on sale. The lineup additions were announced Saturday night at Southbound Brewing Company with a special show by Steep Canyon Rangers and the release of new IPA, Rollin’ & Stumblin’.

These are some major additions, obviously, which bring some high-profile artists to the SMF’s final week. The Festival runs from March 24th to April 9th.

Andrew Bird — formerly a member of Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire and a solo artist since 2003 — has a new album Are You Serious? out on April 1.

Check out Bird’s recent All Songs Considered NPR appearance:


What is left to say about the remarkable Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings? They played the SMF in 2011, which was before Jones’ battle with cancer, throughout which she has continued to do compelling work. The Augusta native was featured in Oxford American’s recent Georgia Music Issue.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings at Forecastle Festival 2014

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings at Forecastle Festival 2014

I’ve never seen Dave Rawlings Machine but this should be a super show with a stellar band — Rawlings and Gillian Welch on lead vocals and guitar, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show) on guitar, Brittany Haas (Crooked Still, Abigail Washburn, Haas Kowert Tice) on fiddle and Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers, Haas Kowert Tice) on bass.

If you’re reading this blog, I have to assume that you’re already familiar with the Athens-based Drive-By Truckers. I’d expect a quick sell out on this show, so don’t dawdle getting tickets.

I’m not familiar with My Brightest Diamond, a project of Shara Worden, who has collaborated with David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, Laurie Anderson, Fat Boy Slim, Bon Iver, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Of course, if you’re an SMF regular, you already know that there’s a pretty high bar before an artist is even considered. These sets at the Morris Center will definitely be worth checking out.

On 4/5 at 5 p.m., the SMF will also host a poster signing session with artist Alessandro Gottardo at the festival’s pop-up shop at 220 West Broughton St.

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If you are interested in joining us, please read some of the following guidelines/details and then get in touch with us via message to the hissing lawns Facebook page.

with praise pouring in for new “Pillars of Ash”, Black Tusk plays The Jinx

Black Tusk will be at The Jinx tonight — and it’s obviously not the swamp/sludge/stoner metal trio’s first time at their hometown bar.

But every Black Tusk show in Savannah carries a greater weight these days. The band tours so much in the U.S and internationally that they play only a couple of shows per year at The Jinx. And every move the band makes is part of the ongoing story of loss and recovery, inspiration and rejuvenation after Athon’s passing in 2014.

Black Tusk is now touring in support of Pillars of Ash, their latest album on Relapse Records. These are the last songs that Athon recorded with the band — and the critical consensus seems to be that this is the best record that Black Tusk has ever done. (Tom will have a review here at hissing lawns soon.)

From Zoe Camp at Pitchfork, which gave the record a really strong 8.2 ranking:

Pillars of Ash doesn’t alter the formula of the past two albums, but rather accentuates them with doubled-up aggression; slip on a pair of headphones for the album’s 35-minute duration, and your ears’ll be ringing for an equally long period of time. […]

Of course, source material is everything, and Black Tusk’s refusal to repeat themselves makes for a dynamic, diverse listen: a welcome respite from the paint-by-numbers paradigms that often dominate the modern inclination of the “swamp metal” the group helped pioneer alongside fellow Savannah natives Kylesa and Baroness. […]

With Athon’s passing, this LP may mark the end of the Black Tusk we fell in love with—but it’s the highlight of the band’s catalog, and the best tribute they could have imagined. There’s no telling what the future will hold for Fidler, May, and Barhorst as they soldier on without their friend and anchor, but judging from the sound of Pillars of Ash, their spirits are far from crushed. And Athon’s? Well, he’ll live forever, with every press of the play button.

Here’s what NPR said after the release of the new single “God’s on Vacation”:

But Black Tusk brings the past into the present the only way Black Tusk knows how, with burly, Slayer-slashed riffs, gut-curdling wah-wah, an unrelenting rhythm section and trashy-as-hell hardcore-punk hooks. Produced by Toxic Holocaust’s Joel Grind, it has a raw urgency that recalls Black Tusk’s 2008 debut, Passage Through Purgatory, but redoubles its power.

For local previews of the 2/6 show, check out articles by Bradley Mullis in Do Savannah and Anna Chandler in Connect Savannah.

Sometime in the latter half of 2015, The Jinx rehung some of the art and posters and weird memorabilia on their walls. One of the additions was a photo that Jinx owner Susanne Guest Warnekros requested from me before Athon’s memorial service. It’s good to see it there, but it will be even better to see it there on a night when Black Tusk is performing a few feet away.

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Tonight’s show is presented by New Noise Magazine and includes Royal Thunder, Savagist, and Bask. Click here for the Facebook event.

Shaky Knees releases lineup by day, adds new bands for 3-day fest in Atl

We’re planning to have coverage of Shaky Knees Festival again this year. Last year’s 3-day spring festival in Atlanta’s Central Park featured a stunningly good lineup, good sound and lighting, and a lovely layout.

This May, Shaky Knees will be moving to Centennial Park downtown. The festival has also announced some new additions to the schedule — Slowdive, Deer Tick, LANY, Craig Finn, and The Japanese House — and earlier this morning released the schedule by day. Take a look:

Shaky Knees bands by day

Speaking just for myself, obviously, I think all three days look great, but if I had to choose just one day, I’d likely pick Sunday. (I mean, Florence + The Machine, Deftones, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Eagles of Death Metal, Houndmouth, Murder By Death, Noah Gunderson, Adia Victoria …) Baroness, who were born here in Savannah, will be in Friday’s lineup, while Kylesa, which had been previously announced for the lineup, seems to have dropped out of the festival.

Click here for tickets.

Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour – 2/4/16 – 2/9/16

Hey guys,
It looks like the downtown music in February (actually, started at the end of January) is gonna start fast and continue on until after the Stopover. After that, who knows? There were lots of good shows last week, including a great Rolling Stones cover set by Steepwater at the Barrelhouse, Thomas Oliver’s CD release party at the Wormhole (with probably the oldest crowd ever at the Wormhole, be proud if you were there), and a couple of exciting shows at the Jinx from two bands I had not seen before, Destroyer of Light (from Texas) and Street Clothes (local band). I think this week will have at least that many good shows, maybe even more. These are some of the shows you could catch this week.

Thursday 4th – Some of you may remember Quincy Mumford from Stopover a few years ago. I always try to catch some blues from Culberson every time I can.
Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why (Asbury Park funk-soul), Little StrangerBarrelhouse South
Eric Culberson Band (Sav’h blues) – Bayou Cafe

Friday 5th – Too many shows to choose from tonight. A couple of early shows, if you make it out that soon. I was very impressed with Street Clothes last week (as was everyone I talked to). It is hard to miss the Queers when they come to town. And I am a sucker for a funk band and there will be a 4-time Grammy winning band!!! at the Social Club and a funk band at Barrelhouse with a trombone and violin. All of that and more than that to choose from tonight.
Cory Chambers (City Hotel singer/mandolin) – One-Eyed Lizzy’s (6-9)
Barracuda DuoFoxy Loxy Cafe
Independents (Florence ska-punk), Gumps (Sav’h ukulele-punk), Ramba Rai, Street Clothes (Sav’h rock) – Wormhole ($8-12, 9p)
Gang Of Thieves (VT funk w/ trombone and violin), Steppin Stones (Sav’h rock) – Barrelhouse South
Charlie Fog Band (Sav’h Grateful Dead covers) – Molly MacPherson’s
Queers (NH punk rock legends), Antagonizers (Atlanta street punk), Jeff Two-Names & The Born Agains (Sav’h punk), Kick FlipsJinx
Trae Pierce & The T Stone Band (Daytona Beach rock-funk) – Congress Street Social Club

Saturday 6th – Another big night tonight with lots of choices. I will be starting the night off at the Johnny Mercer, with the first of three music legends I will be seeing in February. There are several choices tonight, I will probably end the night with the Black Tusk, which is kinda the opposite of Diana Ross. But I am sure I will see a couple of shows in between.
Dianna RossJohnny Mercer Theater
Steep Canyon Rangers (Ashville Americana) – SMF Lineup Additions – Southbound Brewing ($30/35)
Missionary Blues, Robert Lee Coleman & The Night Owls, Big Mike & The Booty PapasKnights Of Columbus ($20)
Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love (Sav’h R&B/rock) – Coach’s Corner ($20)
Black Tusk (Sav’h metal), Royal Thunder (Atl rock), Savagist (Athens metal), Bask (Ashville heavy) – Jinx
Train Wrecks (Sav’h Americana) – Congress Street Social Club
Gen. Patton & The Heads of State (Sav’h rock) – Molly MacPherson’s
Orange Constant (Statesboro rock), Banana Bunnies (Alpharetta alt-rock) – Barrelhouse South
Liquid Ginger (Sav’h rock) – Boomy’s
4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra (Atlanta) – Savannah Cocktail Co. (10 Whitaker St, 10p)

Monday 8th
Craig Tanner & Mr. Williams Open MicAbe’s On Lincoln

Tuesday 9th
Ray Lundy (Bottles & Cans frontman) – Jazz’d
Vanessa Silberman (Los Angeles American folk rock) – Foxy Loxy Cafe
Ben Keiser Band (Sav’h blues) – Bay Street Blues
Eric Culberson Open JamBayou Cafe

check out Savannah’s Triathalon Live at O’Leaver’s in Omaha

The Omaha venue O’Leaver’s has been doing high-quality live recordings of bands for a couple of years now, and the growing library can be found at the Live at O’Leaver’s website, which includes acts as interesting and diverse as Matthew Sweet, Griswold, She Keeps Bees, and Speedy Ortiz.

And now they’ve released three songs from Triathalon‘s 2015 swing through the Great Plains:

If you live in the midwest, it's snowy and cold and just gross. Stay inside and listen to new music. If you don't live…

Posted by Live at O'Leaver's on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I’ll embed the Soundcloud stream of “Usher Surfing” here, but click on through for more from Triathalon plus dozens of other acts.

PALEFACE with Mallory Jen and Norton Lucas at The Wormhole – photos

It was sure good to see PALEFACE recently at The Wormhole — and the night was even better because of the solid crowd that got more and more into the indie folk icon’s show as it progressed.

I guess it was my fourth time seeing PALEFACE, and it’s pretty obvious that he and drummer Mo continue to grow as a duo.

If you don’t know PALEFACE, you can read about him here.

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Solo singer Norton Lucas opened the show, and then he played guitar for Mallory Jen. I thoroughly enjoyed both sets, but only managed to get photos of the pair during Mallory Jen’s set.

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More photos of both acts after the jump:

farewell, Those Darlins

So why do some bands break through to the next level and others don’t?

The more I cover music, the more I’m convinced that random factors might be the most important.

And so somewhere along the line, the fates were not on the side of Those Darlins, the immensely talented Nashville-based band that ended their glorious run this past weekend with a show at The Basement East. Those Darlins was loved by critics, attracted tens of thousands of fans, and produced flat out great music, and I’ll always be convinced that they could have found millions more if things had fallen differently.

Just a little while ago, I checked the Those Darlins Facebook page to see how the final show went and to see what parting words the band had, but that page is already gone. I hope the disappearance of the Facebook page is just temporary, honestly, because that could prove a great platform for Jessi Zazu, Nikki Kvarnes. and Linwood Regensburg to keep us all updated about what life has in store for them now.

UPDATE, 2/4: The Those Darlins Facebook page is back up. Apparently they got hacked and deleted somehow. They’re even adding a few makeup dates for snowed out shows on the farewell tour.

We’ve seen and photographed Those Darlins four times, I think — Savannah Stopover 2014, Bragg Jam 2014, a Dollhouse show in Savannah in winter 2014, and Revival Fest 2015. Here are a few shots from the hissing lawns archives:

Those Darlins at Knights of Columbus

Those Darlins at Knights of Columbus

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Larry Jack’s Magical Music Tour – 1/28/16 – 2/2/16

Hey guys,
This should be another decent looking music week around town.  This weeks’ highlights for me will be the Savannah Stopover Lineup Announcement at the Jinx on Saturday, even though I never know more than a handful of the bands (or sometimes less than that) and Thursday’s show at the Barrelhouse South, a performance of the Rolling Stones’ “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out”, which is the album that the Stones declared themselves “The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World”.  There are plenty of other shows to choose from, I have listed some of the more interesting ones.

Thursday 28th
Thomas Oliver (Sav’h singer-songwriter), Craig Tanner (Sav’h singer-songwriter) – Wormhole (7p, $5, includes CD, yes it is really 7pm)
Steepwater Band (Chicago blues rock) performing the Rolling Stones “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” – Barrelhouse South
Eric Culberson Band (Sav’h blues) – Bayou Cafe
Jason Bible (Train Wrecks frontman) – Molly MacPherson’s
Nate Hall, Dead OakJinx ($6)

Friday 29th
City Hotel (Sav’h bluegrass) – Rail Pub (6p)
Charlie Fog Band (Sav’h Grateful Dead covers) – Congress Street Social Club
Groovetown Assault, Kota Mundi (Sav’h reggae rock) – Barrelhouse South
Bonnie BlueMolly MacPherson’s

Saturday 30th
Damon & The Shitkickers (Sav’h outlaw country) – Congress Street Social Club
Jubal Kane (Sav’h jukebox blues) – Warehouse
COEDS (Sav’h rawk), Street Clothes, Garden Giant (Sav’h garage rock) – Stopover Lineup Release Party – Jinx
Universal Sigh, Lyn AvenueBarrelhouse South
Mallory JeanMolly MacPherson’s

Sunday 31st
Sunday Bluegrass BrunchTybee Island Social Club  (12-3p, all ages)

Monday -1st
Rottenblush, Hot Plate (Sav’h math rock), Destroyer Of Light (TX) – Jinx ($7)

Tuesday 2nd
Ray Lundy (Bottles & Cans frontman) – Foxy Loxy Cafe (7p, all ages)

 

looking back and looking ahead: an interview with T. Hardy Morris

These seem like good days for T. Hardy Morris.

Last year’s album Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin on a Mountaintop — an exhilarating, sort-of-dirty melding of southern rock and grunge — was a hit with both fans and critics (and one of my favorite albums of last year). Morris just finished up a run of shows with Shakey Graves and has just been confirmed for the 2016 Savannah Stopover. Hardy & The Hardknocks will be opening for Dwight Yoakam at the Georgia Theatre in Athens on March 4. He’ll also be joining American Aquarium at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh on Feb. 5th for the band’s 10th anniversary celebration.

And Morris always has music in the works with his other projects Diamond Rugs and Dead Confederate.

On top of all that, Morris seems to be adjusting just fine to life as a father, writing songs on a screened porch outside Athens after his wife and baby have gone to bed. Plus, the 36-year-old can still pass for 19. He must be doing something right.

Hardy & The Hardknocks at Bragg Jam 2015 in Macon

Hardy & The Hardknocks at Bragg Jam 2015 in Macon

I’ve been a big fan of all of Hardy’s projects for a few years now, and I’m convinced that he will become an increasingly important figure in the music and culture of the South. So when he and The Hardknocks came to Savannah in December for a MusicFile Productions gig at The Jinx — Stopover 2016 performers Justin Osborne of SUSTO and Breakers were also on the bill — I snagged him for an interview. We talked for a while across Congress Street at Sorry Charlie’s, where he ordered four — just four — of the briniest oysters available (maybe that’s a creative secret?).

In conversation, Morris is soft-spoken, thoughtful, warm. This interview has obviously been edited, but fairly lightly.

hissing lawns: So what type of music did you grow up listening to?

T. Hardy Morris: The earliest songwriter that I really got into was John Prine, from my dad. Some of the first songs that I remember ever hearing were John Prine songs. My mom was a big Neil Young fan. John Prine and Neil Young were the first things that I learned how to play on guitar. And then after that a lot of the southern rock stuff – the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and like 90s country was big in Augusta at the time. My middle school years were filled with southern rock and 90s country, though I really did kind of clamber on to Neil Young and John Prine early on.