The greater Savannah area has no shortage of R & B-based party bands. Whether it’s the gutbucket Delta houserockin’ of Bottles & Cans, the fiery Chicago and Memphis city blues of guitarist Eric Culberson, the stylized, dance-oriented shuffles of the Bluesonics, Deep Blue 3 (see below), or one of the handful of other similar acts which call our region home — there’s a little something for everyone’s tastes in this broad genre.
Singer/songwriter Jeff Beasley writes and plays his own tunes both solo and with his band, but he’s wise enough to know that what most local audiences seem to appreciate most are songs they know and love. To that end, he’s spent the past few years working up a varied setlist that includes blues, boogie, country and rock standards drawn primarily from the ‘50s through the ‘70s.
Jeff’s laid-back drawl and freewheeling approach to vocal melodies combine with James Moody’s sax work to cast a decidedly “Big Easy” vibe over the whole proceedings, and his other bandmates (including upright bassist Mike Perry and drummer Billy Hoffman) lend the appropriate swing to vintage material by the likes of Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Roy Orbison and Taj Mahal. Fri., 9 pm, Jazz’d Tapas Bar + Sat., 9 pm, Mansion on Forsyth Park.
One of the finest straight-up electric blues combos for miles around, this versatile outfit serves up their own rock-solid takes on guitar-based ballads, rave-ups and weepers by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan — as well as original material that holds up well alongside their selection of covers. Their lineup features a drummer who spent time on the road with a number of well-known C & W artists, and a former members of both the Bluesonics and The Flying Blues Biscuits. Despite the fact that they have not developed quite the name recognition as some other area blues groups, their stinging lead guitar work and passionate vocals are well worth a closer look. Fri., 10 pm, Mercury Lounge.
This young trombonist’s profile has reportedly been on the rise since he moved from here to the Big Apple in 2004 (after graduating from the Savannah Arts Academy and studying under local jazz hero Teddy Adams). He went on to earn a degree from the respected Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Graduate degree from Queens College.
Now in his mid-20s, he’s already recorded and played with everyone from jazz legends Roy Hargrove, Slide Hampton and Delfeayo Marsalis to hip-hop icon Common. He’s also gigged with The Ray Charles Orchestra, The Brooklyn Big Band, Gladys Knight and the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra.
Anyone interested in seeing the kind of impressive and quality jazz talent that has emerging with increasing regularity from the Arts Academy’s highly-praised Skyelite Jazz Band would do well to check out Murchison’s hotly anticipated homecoming stand at this wonderful new venue dedicated to presenting fine jazz in an intimate, showcase environment. Fri. - Sat., 8 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.
Fans may have wondered just what young, successful pop songstress Michelle Branch was thinking when she benched her own solo career for a country side project with her friend (and touring backup singer) Jessica Harp — but it’s proven to be a savvy career move. Since then, The Wreckers (as they’re known) debut CD hit #14 on the Country Album charts and brought Branch a new fanbase and several catchy hit singles that seamlessly blend modern acoustic folk-pop (think Sheryl Crow) with traditional C & W.
Opening for The Wreckers at the 52nd Annual installment of this major outdoor event will be up-and-coming indie country crooner Brannan Logan (hyping his own DIY release) and The Chuck Courtenay Band — which has quickly become one of the most visible and well-liked honky-tonk and Southern rock party bands in the area. Advance tickets are $18, and can be charged online at www.bftwaterfestival.com. Sat., 8 pm, Beaufort Waterfront Park