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Ben Arnold

How bad-ass is this Philly post-modern pop songwriter? Well, he’s cutting an album backed by Elvis Costello’s drummer and members of Rickie Lee Jones’ band. Plus, he toured with Townes Van Zandt toward the very end of his life. Arnold’s tunes (on guitar and keys) owe a stylistic debt to both Randy Newman and the seriously underrated Rob Laufer. If you look up “mature, adult pop songcraft,” it’d be fair enough to find a picture of Arnold. N.C.’s Andy Billinski opens with a set of Whiskeytown-esque laments. Fri., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean. 

Michael Bellar & The AS-IS Ensemble

Besides touring and recording with Art Garfunkel and Howie Day, and composing the score for a musical based on the life of writer Charles Bukowski, keyboardist Bellar leads this group, which formerly served as the house band at the famed Blue  Note club in NYC. They’re known for flirting with the avant-garde as well as appealing to fans of loose and limber jam-funk. Fri. - Sat., (9 pm, 10:30 pm, midnight), Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.  

Scott H. Biram

This Tx. native survived a both a head-on collision with a semi and stints in 2 touring bluegrass bands before touring as a “dirty one-man-band.” He plays the hell out of a beat-up ‘59 Gibson hollow-body, and swears allegiance to both Doc Watson and Lightnin’ Hopkins! Openers The Black Diamond Heavies hail from Nashville, and are the latest in a growing line of raw, two-man, punk-blooze combos injecting VU and Tom Waits into their Hound Dog Taylor Hooker-isms. Mon., 10 pm, The Jinx. 

The Fundamentals

This tight, funky R & B party band is like The Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love on Slim-Fast. (Because it’s smaller and made up of their members.) Wed., Fri. & Sat., 9 pm, Fiddler’s Crab House (Southside). 

Hot Pink Interior

What this local, female-fronted grunge-pop quartet lacks in stage presence, they make up for in stick-in-your-head choruses and boy/girl harmonies reminiscent of the Pixies or X. Opening act Thee Futbolbatts is the latest one-off cover-band project featuring brothers Craig and Scotty Johansen, known in the local music scene for their roles in The 8-Tracks and Flamin’ Yawn, respectively. Fri., 10 pm, The Jinx.  

Sodajerk

Terrific Atlanta (by way of Pittsburgh) alt.country/rawk act that mixes Johnny Cash’s dry delivery, Webb Wilder’s retro swamp-boogie and The Supersuckers hell-raisin’ attitude. Sat., 11 pm, The Jinx.  

The Spelman Jazz Ensemble

A free show sponsored by the JEA and The Black Heritage Fest, showcasing this nationally-renowned all-female group of vocalists and musicians, who’ve played the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest, among other prestigious gigs. Their latest CD is  a tribute to the great Nina Simone. Also on the bill, a group of promising regional jazz artists all under the age of 25, under the direction of educator/mentor Teddy Adams — including: trumpeter Alex Nguyen, pianist Eric Jones and vocalist Markeya Relaford. Mon., 7 pm, The Jewish Education Alliance (5111 Abercorn St.) .

SuperFest XLI

This sports bar offers live music on special occasions, and a football championship seems the perfect excuse to truck in 3 days’ worth of free local acts. Here’s the schedule... Friday: country and honky-tonk with Jason Courtenay & Hazard County (9 pm) - Saturday: twangy pop with Two Path Road Band (1 pm), then Jason Courtenay & Hazzard County (3 pm), vocalist Ginger Fawcett (6 pm), and the ever-popular modern rock covers and originals of Liquid Ginger (9 pm) - Sunday: acoustic jam rock with Keith, Ross & Patrick (1 pm). Coach’s Corner (Thunderbolt). 

The Watts Prophets

The culmination of 2 weeks’ worth of workshops with area school kids at churches, youth centers, schools and coffeeshops, this uplifting and enlightening performance provides a lyrical outlet for Savannah’s youth. Formed from the ashes of the infamous Watts Riots of 1965, this group of artists, writers and poets set the stage for what would come to be known as hip-hop, yet they reject the violence, negative energy and misogyny that so often typifies the art form today. This show features a choir of young urban poets, and follows the group’s 2006 residency and performance (which blew the collective mind of all who saw it). Tickets are free, but seats are reserved. Don’t you dare miss it. Call 525-5050.  

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Jim Reed

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Connect Today 12.10.2016

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