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Stephen Clair

With a laconic drawl that’s part concrete sidewalk and part muddy road, this observationalist singer/songwriter is positively Fourth Street.

Though many critics are quick to tag his dry, streetwise vocal delivery and chugging electric guitarwork as the hallmarks of a Lou Reed or Tom Verlaine acolyte, there's a definite rural whine that shines through in both his voice and his lyric sense that suggests an American Lloyd Cole or a less mannered Dan Bern.

When pressed, he calls himself “an urban roots troubadour.”

His second CD, Little Radio, was voted one of the Top 50 releases of 2003 by NYC’s WFUV-FM, alongside offerings by Patty Griffin, John Mayer, Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch – and it was the only indie CD that made the list.

His material ranges from wryly humorous slices-of-life to dreamy meditations that come close to alt.country but never quite shoe the horse.

In the past year, he’s opened for an impressive list of already-theres, including Vic Chesnutt, James McMurtry, Richard Buckner, Livingston Taylor, Yo La Tengo and even The Flaming Lips.

The Village Voice says he's "laid-back - yet very New York, proving that's possible." Not long after this gig, he’s back out to Austin and The Saxon Pub (of all places). If you enjoy scoping out promising new talent, this show may be a good start. Thurs., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.


Angie Aparo, Paul Reeves

The large, warehouse building at 641 Indian St. (by the main Post Office branch on Fahm St., just off Bay) has seen several incarnations.

Previously known as The Loading Doc, and Equinox, it has in the past catered primarily to a gay clientele, but was always seen by many of all stripes and persuasions as a refuge from the more visible (and thus more crowded) dance-oriented nightspots.

No open under new management and re-named Club Oz, it’s still trying to be all things to all people, but hey – that must be a patented Savannah business plan.

Still geared for dance music and visiting hip-hop and rap artists, the large, boxy main room has recently undergone a few acoustic treatments which I’m told will help temper the horrible, rackety live sound it was previously known for. They’ve also installed a large in-house PA, and each Friday night through the end of the year, a local indie promoter is alternating rock acts and name DJ’s.

First up is this double bill, which pairs post-modern Atlanta folkie Aparo (who’s released a few noteworthy CDs, but is best known for penning Faith Hill’s mega-hit “Cry”) with local solo artist Reeves.

Aparo’s been a hit-or-miss draw in town, but maintains a rabid following in Hilton Head, where his career began.

Reeves is a young, Christian-oriented artist who lists Dave Matthews as his primary musical influence. Much like other Matthews acolytes – like Howie Day or Keller Williams – he runs his acoustic guitar through various effects pedals, so as to beef up his live shows. Tickets to this show are $10 for those 21+ and $5 more for those 18 to 20. Fri., 10 pm, Club Oz (formerly Equinox).****

4th Annual KIX-96 Guitar Pull

This yearly benefit concert has become one of the most highly anticipated events for local country music fans, as it offers them a chance to see big time artists alongside the next generation of stars, while simultaneously donating money to a very worthwhile local cause.

The recipient of the show’s proceeds will be The Backus Children’s Hospital – the region’s only designated children’s hospital caring for infants and adolescents.

This time around, Rincon’s own celebrity, Billy Currington (who’s a shining new face at Mercury Records), performs an intimate, acoustic set in the round with CMA Horizon Award Winner Mark Chesnutt, Horizon Award Nominee Julie Roberts, and Craig Morgan.

This is a great chance to see A-list talent in what can often feel like a private show. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Lucas box office – but hurry up and grab one. This event usually sells out. Tues., 7:30 pm, Lucas Theatre.

The Sentient Bean’s 3rd Anniversary Party

This last-minute addition to the coffeehouse’s calendar may just turn out to be one of the most eclectic and refreshing nights out in recent memory.

In honor of The Bean’s emergence as a hub of the local entertainment scene, the owners are hosting a free evening featuring many of their favorite local acts. There’s not too much that binds these disparate artists together, save for the fact that each one has found some sort of home at this funky, counterculture nexus.

Artists scheduled to appear include ARTillery Punch’s Ricardo Ochoa, songwriters Lauren Lapointe, Kenneth Cowan and Bill Sabo, musicians Tim Love & Calvin Bailey and Joe Nelson, performance artist Louis Clausi, belly dancer Layla Katrina, King Pins (jugglers), Spitfire Poetry Group, and the band Hot Boss.

Headlining the show will be local alt.rockers Hot Pink Interior. Food and “treats” are promised as well. Dig it. Thurs., 6 pm, The Sentient Bean.

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Jim Reed

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