Billy Joel & Twyla Tharpe’s Movin’ Out 

Billy Joel & Twyla's Tharpe's Movin' Out

While I can’t deny that Billy Joel certainly has a way with a melody, and —at times— a knack for penning lyrics that tap quite efficiently into the mood of his peer group (and, by extension, ancillary demographics), I’ve got to say that I’ve always found him to be sort of a pathetic character. I realize those are fightin’ words to 99% of the white residents of Long Island, but hey, this is Georgia, so I guess I’ll take my chances.

This touring production of the smash “jukebox musical” which debuted to stellar reviews in 2002 combines around two-dozen of Joel’s best-loved pop tunes, love ballads and filmic rock anthems with a loosely conceptual narrative under the direction and choreography of the legendary Twyla Tharpe.

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It proved to be just the ticket for breathing new life into Joel’s blowhard, populist shmaltz, and was so enormously successful on Broadway and in subsequent road companies that no less than Bob Dylan signed up with Tharpe for a similar repackaging of his back catalog. The result, 2006’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, was an abysmal flop that closed after less than a month.

Joel’s continues to do strong business, which may be a testament to the melodramatic and outsized nature of much of The Piano Man’s most enduring work. Fans of both Tharpe and Joel will likely find themselves engrossed in this dance-filled celebration of his alternately gruff and sentimental world view.


Here's a medley from the show, as performed by the original Broadway cast at the 2003 Tony Awards:


The rest of us will continue to be nonplussed/bemused at the travails of a guy who used to famously (and belligerently) exhort each and every one of his audiences to “never take any shit from anybody,” yet seemingly takes an awful lot of it himself from his ex-wives, his management, the penal system, etc... Listen & Learn: movinout.co.uk. Tix range from $30 - $50 and can be charged at savannahcivic.com or 651-6550. Sun., 7:30 pm, Johnny Mercer Theater - ALL-AGES.


Old-school ‘60s British electric blues (think Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac or John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers) meets ‘70s Southern boogie (think the Allmans or any one of a number of little-known or heralded roadhouse acts that tore shit up and faded away into the ether) head-on in this oddball amalgam of a band that actually hails from the wonderfully-named hamlet of Lizard Lick, N.C. Their latest 2-CD set was cut live with no overdubs or studio fixes, and showcases a tight and sympathetic combo combining classic rock drumming, syncopated guitar riffing and expressive, overdriven mouth harp. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/jubalkane. Fri. - Sat., 10 pm, Fiddler’s Crab House (downtown).

Locks of Love Benefit w/Sol Driven Train, Mr. Wiley ***

This fundraiser for a worthy, unusual charity that creates custom-made human hairpieces for financially disadvantaged children who have lost their hair due to illness is being spearheaded (no pun intended) by Mr. Wiley, a locally-based rock-reggae-funk group known for their extended, improv-heavy and vaguely psychedelic live shows. Reportedly, fans of the band will actually be shearing (and donating) their presumably long locks onstage while the group performs. S.C. buzz-band Sol Driven Train headlines with a set of infectious, jam-friendly pop tinged with world beat elements.


Here's a fan-shot clip of Sol Driven Train from about a year ago at a gig in Charlotte:


Listen & Learn: myspace.com/mrwileybandrocks, soldriventrain.com, locksoflove.org. Sat., 9 pm, LiveWire Music Hall.

The Jepson Live Series: The Brendan Polk Trio ***

For a city that has trouble keeping a dedicated jazz venue in business, we sure have been churning out some exceptional young jazz prodigies over the past few years. Along with trumpeter Alex Nguyen (who’s now plying his trade and paying his dues on the NYC scene), this young pianist seems destined for much greater things, and perhaps a long-term career in the music biz. Already named an “Outstanding Jazz Performer” by the internationally acclaimed Downbeat Magazine, he’s got chops and taste way beyond his years and has been leading a trio featuring the seasoned rhythm section of bassist Willy Harvey and drummer Eric Vaughn for over a year now, despite still being in high school.

This featured slot at this modern art museum’s monthly concert showcase may be his highest profile local gig yet under his own name. All the museum’s galleries will be open during the show, and food and drinks will be available. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/brendanjazzpiano . $10 admission at the door, or free for Jepson/Telfair Museum Members. Fri., 5 pm, The Jepson Center for Contemporary Art - ALL-AGES.


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Jim Reed

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