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The Forty-Fives, i am not a little bus

Only a few years into their career, The Forty-Fives are easily one of the most buzz-worthy garage rock bands on the planet. Born out of the ashes of such eminently forgettable Atlanta psychedelic and metal bands as Floyd’s Funk Revival and The Drugs, the group emerged seemingly fully realized – with an easily identifiable image, a couple dozen terrific mid-’60s-style rave-ups, and great stage presence.

While the bandmembers are as distrustful of the tag “garage rock” as they can be, its at the very east a handy catchphrase to give the uninitiated some basic idea of what The Forty-Fives are all about.

Take some fuzzed-out classic guitar tones (Rickenbackers even), add some Keith Moon-esque drum flourishes, and top it off with a gloriously demented organ guy who plays his Hammond like it owes him money – and you have a pretty good idea what you’re in for.

Their originals owe as much to the second wave of British Invasion bands (The Yardbirds, The Who, pretty much any acts on the Immediate label) as they do to the Detroit rawk movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s (like The Stooges, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, and – most importantly – the legendary MC5). This group wallows in the sound and feel of those eras, while simultaneously scraping off much of the cocky hubris and injecting a noticeable amount of self-aware humor.

The opening act, i am not a little bus, is one of the more determined local bands currently gigging out on a regular basis. Their allegiance is sworn to the ever-growing legion of instrumental acts that play quirky, contrapuntal “math rock.”

However, the lack of any sort of vocals is by no means a weakness. In fact, it allows the crowd to focus on the tricky time signatures and unexpected flurries of notes that are the band’s greatest assets. Fri., The Jinx.

Jason Isbell (of The Drive-By Truckers)

This funky restaurant and bar on Lazaretto Creek used to have live music on a very regular basis. That’s changed over the past year or so, and now, if they bring in live entertainment, it’s usually got to be something pretty special.

Isbell is the most recent addition to the Truckers, who have earned an enviable reputation as one of the most respected alt.country bands in America.

Over the course of half a dozen albums (like 1998’s Gangstabilly and 2003’s Decoration Day) and a host of one-off singles and compilation contributions, the Truckers won hefty praise for their homespun brand of unpretentious roadhouse rock that sometimes comes off like being caught in a honky-tonk in West Memphis, straining to hear the words to some old soul nugget on a scratchy Wurlitzer while two drunk rednecks kick the shit out of each other.

The group proudly brags that it has finally found its best incarnation, with three guitarists, three songwriters and three front men. And, while Patterson Hood is ostensibly viewed as the band’s leader, Isbell may be their secret weapon.

From time to time, he and Patterson both go out in between tours and do smaller solo shows, like this one.

However, it’s worth noting that Isbell will be backed by more than a few members of the Truckers, and he’ll mix in songs from their catalog with his own.

If turnout for this show is good enough, it may pave the way for a full-on DBT gig there in the coming months, so if that sounds good to you - make this one. Fri., Café Loco (Tybee).

Bill Mize

This past winner of the National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition has been featured on the prestigious Windham Hill record label’s Guitar Sampler LP. Additionally, one of his pieces (“Road Scholar”) was also included on Narada’s The Masters of The Acoustic Guitar CD.

Critics constantly gush about the beautiful tones he coaxes out of his instrument, and his cutting-edge technique. Stephen Ide of Dirty Linen writes, "To call Mize a guitar maestro would be understating his abilities to transport listeners beyond what most guitarists could only hope to accomplish."

This alcohol and smoke-free show is open to all ages, and sponsored by the Savannah Folk Music Society. Sat., 7:30 pm, Oatland Island Educational Center.

Johnny Mercer’s B-Day Bash

It would be no exaggeration to say that John Herndon Mercer is easily Savannah’s most famous musical figure. However, except for the auditorium of our Civic Center and a highway which bear his name, Mercer’s enduring legacy somehow seems barely felt locally.

Though he died in 1976, his contribution to American songwriting is huge. As the composer of such timeless classics as “Moon River,” and “Accentuate the Positive,” he ruled Tin Pan Alley.

Now, The Friends of Johnny Mercer – a decade-old group dedicated to preserving his memory through educational programs and scholarships – is holding a free concert in honor of what would have been Mercer’s 95th birthday.

The two-hour show will include performances by pianist David Duckworth (who released a jazz CD of selections from the Mercer songbook), vocalist Kim Polote, The Savannah Arts Academy’s Skylite Jazz Band, The Savannah Jazz Orchestra, vocal group The Pied Pipers, and Mercer’s niece, vocalist Nancy Gerard with her son, guitarist Steve Gerard, Jr. (of The Six Million Dollar Band). Sun., 3 pm, Johnny Mercer Theatre - FREE.

Seven Nations

This booking is something of a coup for this tiny Congress Street bar.

The Orlando group is arguably the pre-eminent Celtic rock group in the USA today. They regularly headline outdoor festivals and theatres here and abroad.

It’s a rare chance to see them up close and extremely personal. This club has hosted other hot Celtic bands in the past (such as The Peelers), and it’s always a packed show and a raucous, beer-fueled good time. Since this is a weeknight gig, the band will play two completely different shows – the first one starting at 9 pm and the second at 11 pm.

This should give the crowd some breathing room, and allow older folks and those with young kids to come, and still get a decent night’s sleep before work.

However, if you come early and decide you want to stay for the late show as well, there’s no extra charge. Don’t miss this one! Wed., Nov. 10th, 9 pm & 11 pm, O’Connell’s Irish Pub.

Vanessa Carlton

This young, piano-playing ingenue scored big with her 2004 A & M debut Be Not Nobody. Since then, she’s had a #1 hit “A Thousand Miles,” plus a smash cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” backed by the Counting Crows.

Her latest hit is the catchy, soulful pop number “White Houses,” which was released in August. Her new album Harmonium, was produced by Third Eye Blind frontman Stephen Jenkins, and hits stores just three days after this show, which will likely sell out.

Opening the show will be Colorado’s Christopher Jak, whose music has been featured on the WB TV hit Smallville. Fri., 8 pm, Trustees Theatre.

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Jim Reed

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