Connect Recommends 

Greg Williams in Los Angeles

We usually limit our Recommended shows to those which take place within, say, 50 miles. So, while it’s a little odd that I’d suggest folks check out this Savannah-based singer/songwriter at a small – but extremely hip – listening room over 2,400 miles away, it actually requires much less effort than one might imagine.

Rather than driving for almost 38 hours straight, anyone within reach of our paper’s circulation – hell, anyone in the world, really – can tune in to a live webcast of Greg’s showcase for free.

The brainchild of Paul Kulak, his Woodshed is an independent venue focusing solely on acoustic music, and primarily performing songwriters. It’s not a bar. They don’t serve alcohol. They do have coffee, tea and soft drinks, but they expect you to help yourself.

What they do have is a professional multi-camera video recording studio with room for about 50 audience members. The whole thing operates on private donations and volunteers who pitch in for the love of watching – and documenting – live original music.

And, in a city where hype and cash are kings, this humble little place has struck a chord.

Among the hundreds of folks who have played there over the past few years are a few fistfuls of acclaimed songwriters and musicians in a variety of genres. Some of the more notableinclude guitarist Dylan sideman Barry Goldberg, The Byrds’ Chris Hillman, The Knack’s Doug Fieger, The Tubes’ Fee Waybill, Guns N’ Roses’ Gilby Clarke, Michelle Shocked, The Plimsouls’ Peter Case, John Waite, and alt.country sensations I See Hawks In L.A..

Now add Williams’ name to that list.

A prolific artist whose music is based in the late ’60s and early ‘70s rock scene (with nods to the folk blues revival), Williams has released 4 impressive indie CDs of contemporary pop that’s at times raunchy and raw, yet maintains a reflective and poetic quality of the sort found in much of the work of Tom Petty and John Hiatt.

To view this live show as it happens (a high-speed internet connection helps), go to www.kulakswoodshed.com, but in the event you miss the show, fear not – it’ll be archived for posterity on that site.

Mon., 8 pm, Kulak’s Woodshed (Los Angeles, California).

The Soundmen

I’ve singled this blissfully retro jazz-funk band out for kudos before, and I’ll happily do so again. With a penchant for busy, syncopated grooves ripped straight from The James Brown Big Note Songbook, this Atlanta quintet makes a crazy-ass old-school racket that would be impressive from a group of 8 or 10 high-stepping sexagenarians, let alone 5 young, skinny kids.

While it’s true that they occasionally let fly with guitar tones and fretboard tactics that betray a working knowledge of the sort of metal and hard rock genres that have come in the wake of Soul Brother Number One’s initial heyday, and which The Godfather of Soul would likely have no truck with, by and large, The Soundmen fly the straight-up funk flag with a fervor rarely heard these days – even from Mr. Dynamite.

In fact, here’s a note to JB himself: Put down the comb, grab the best horn men from your road band, give the rest of the group a 3-week vacation, and hole up in the studio with this energetic, inspired and muscular outfit. Tell vocalist and harmonica player Will Gordon to pipe down, look sharp and stick to the harp. Then grab a mic, sit your ass down behind the Hammond B-3 – like you did in the mid-’60s for Smash Records – and proceed to cut the LP all your devoted apologists have been begging you to make for the past 15 years. You can pay me later. Natural facts.

Fri., JJ Cagney’s.

The Chris Chandler Trio

This noted pianist and vocalist maintains a hectic schedule, playing throughout the Southeast both as a solo act, and as leader of both this popular jazz and pop trio and a bigger band, 88 Keys and The Swing Cats (who were chosen to appear at a major festival in Russia a few years back).

He’s had some success as a composer, but is best known as an outstanding interpreter of standards as well as obscure gems from such venerable artists as Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter and others. He’s also known to pull out more contemporary faves by the likes of The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Ray Charles.

For this gig, he’ll be backed by bassist Peter Berquist, and trap drummer Billy Hoffman.

Sat., 9 pm, Jazz’d Tapas Bar. w

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Jim Reed

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Connect Today 10.22.2016

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