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Jim Hurst & Missy Raines

This show is the latest installment of local luthier Randy Wood’s ongoing concert series, where he brings in top players from the world of country and bluegrass for intimate shows at the small performance hall adjacent to his instrument factory and repair shop.

Guitarist Jim Hurst and bassist missy Raines are widely known in their field for compelling live sets highlighted by ace musicianship.

They draw on a wide variety of influences, including old-time country, swing, traditional bluegrass and even the more straightforward acoustic singer/songwriter movement.

Raines was voted “Bass Player of The Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association from 1998 to 2001, and in 1999, also nabbed the title of "Bass Fiddle Player of the Year" from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America.

Similarly, flat-picker Hurst took home the IBMA’s 2001 award for “Guitar Player of The Year.” He’s toured as an in-demand sideman for such superstars as Trisha Yearwood and Holly Dunn.

While each have found critical and commercial success with their own solo albums, their 2000 release as a duo (Two), won recognition as an edgy effort that found crossover success among folk purists and newgrass progressives alike.

The two have appeared on The Grand Ole Opry, and most of the major C & W TV shows, such as Prime Time Country.

And as if that weren’t enough, Missy even did a stint in 1994 with my old “new hillbilly” pals The Brother Boys, playing on their breakthrough Sugar Hill disc Preseley’s Grocery.

This should be a refreshing concert that’s not to be missed by serious fans of string music. Sat., 7:30 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert hall (Bloomingdale).

Revision, Argyle

Revision is an immensely talented quartet from the college town of Ithaca, New York that formed in the Spring of 1999 out of a series of informal jam sessions. It didn’t take them long to settle on a solid lineup and quickly earn a devoted following in their area.

Soon, they had produced and released their own independent CD, which – by any objective standard – is mightily impressive.

The surprisingly clean and polished recording highlights a band that – despite the relative youth of its members – has a keen sense of what separates soul music from music that is merely soulful.

Listeners will hear distinct echoes of Motown grooves, Billy Preston and Leon Russell keyboard tones, and the kind of accomplished, jazz-infused polyrhythmic funk that used to pop up regularly on 12-inch vinyl from the likes of Sea Level, Dr. John, Steely Dan, The Meters and John Mclaughlin.

What’s most interesting about this group is their seeming devotion to push their chosen form into the future at a natural pace and with a truly organic feel.

They’re not merely slavish re-creators of past glories. These guys seem to have not only the chops, but the nerve and inspiration to make their own way in a forest of very tall trees.

If Revision can keep it together and remain on their present course, I would not be surprised to find that 10 years from now, the next batch of diggers may be copping their licks.

Local funkateers Argyle (see Music Interview) open this free, ALL-AGES show. Wed., October 27th, 7 pm, Armstrong Atlantic State university Fine Arts Auditorium.

Keith Urban

With his soap opera looks and knack for hooks, this Australian country crooner (yes, I said Australian) is one of today’s hottest tickets.

Through his Americanophile parents, he glommed on to old Charlie Pride, Don Williams and Jim Reeves albums as a child, and that self-education has served him well. By 6, he was studying the guitar and by 8, was winning talent shows.

As a teen, he found steady work in a pub band, but upon discovering the early work of Dire Straits, he began to infuse his solos with the sort of melodic sense that Mark Knopfler is still lauded for.

That mixture of rock leads and country roots earned his late-’80s trio 4 chart-topping singles in his homeland, which has taken to American roots music like blues, country and soul with a passion.

Since relocating to Nashville, he’s added his guitar fireworks to albums by Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks. But it was the grungy attitude he purveyed on his 2000 debut that slowly won the hearts of U.S. fans.

Since then, he’s co-written hits with members of The Go-Go’s, and won the CMA Horizon Award. He’s also lodged a couple of singles at Number 1 in America.

Opening act Katrina Elam started out in Oklahoma 4-H pageants, but now is touring behind a sassy, adult debut that was helmed by Tony Brown – the man who guided the career of Reba McEntire.

With connections like that, it’s a cinch she’ll be headlining on her own before long... Fri., 8 pm, The Savannah Civic Center.

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Jim Reed

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