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Claire Holley

True Tunes Review makes no bones about the fact that Holley is currently considered by many “a major talent in the acoustic music world,” and Performing Songwriter Magazine echoes that sentiment, calling her work “straightforward, unabashed and beautiful.”

Born and raised in Mississippi, she was introduced to blues, gospel and country in her youth, but those influences blossomed during her college years in the musical hotbed of Chicago. Now, her original material inhabits that toe-tapping nexus where Big Star, The Rolling Stones, The Flamin’ Groovies, Kelly Willis and Dwight Yoakam take turns pulling on a whiskey bottle while some hanger-on shakes a tambourine.

Since playing Savannah 5 years ago, she’s been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and has released several albums – her latest on the highly-acclaimed North Carolina label Yep Roc (home to Nick Lowe, John Doe, The Forty-Fives and more). I’ve no idea how well this driving roots-rock will translate to a solo setting, but when the melodies, turns of phrase and presentation are this good, the strip-down is probably of little concern. Tickets for this ALL-AGES, no-alcohol show are $10 each or $8 for SFMS members. Fri., 7:30 pm, Wesleyan Monumental United Methodist Church (429 Abercorn St.).

E93 JamzFest w/Toni Braxton

A few weeks back this annual R & B and Hip-hop showcase was cancelled at the last minute due to (depending on who you believe) either inclement weather, or backstage promoter shenanigans. Now, it’s back on, but the venue has shifted from Grayson Stadium to Savannah State’s Tiger Arena, and while headliner Toni Braxton is still being touted, word on the street is that virtually the entire rest of the lineup is being replaced.

I’d like to be able to tell you exactly which other urban music acts will be supporting Braxton, but as of press time, WEAS-FM had yet to announce them. There were a few local acts who competed to win a coveted slot on the show (including Yancey & The Breakneck Quartet), but again, who know’s if they’ll still appear at this rescheduled date.

One thing’s for sure, though: If all comes off as planned, the crowd will be treated to a full set by one of the most popular female R & B singers of the ‘90s.

While known as much for a high-profile legal dispute with LaFace Records (she wound up bankrupt despite selling well over 16 million albums) as her musical merits, the multiple Grammy-winner is a true rarity in the music business – a genuinely talented artist whose chops, looks and allure allowed her to appeal to an incredibly broad swath of listeners, from pre-teen boys to middle-aged women.

Expect to hear suspiciously note-perfect renditions of her signature hits, such as “Un-break My Heart” and “Breathe Again.” Sat., 1 pm, Savannah State University’s Tiger Arena.

Hot Young Priest, Magnapop

Take a trip back to the glory days of indie-rock with this smashing lineup of two terrific Georgia bands that just happen to be fronted by women.

Headliner Hot Young Priest has only been around for a bit, but has knocked ‘em dead at this room before, and are winning fans over left and right with their throbbing, dark, guitar rock that’s one part Pixies, one part Tin Machine, and two parts PJ Harvey.

Magnapop, on the other hand, has been MIA for almost a decade, and has recently regrouped (with a new rhythm section). Led by the duo of Linda Hopper (formerly of Athens’ cult faves OH-OK with Matthew Sweet and Michael Stipe’s sis Lynda) and Ruthie Morris. Their new CD, Mouthfeel, is turning heads worldwide, and will soon head to Belgium for a series of major festival dates. Their “old-fashioned” overdriven, power-chord fuzz-pop is as bittersweet today as it was the first time around. If you missed out on the group back then, come see what all the fuss was/still is about. Sat., The Jinx.

Bluegrass & BBQ Party

Sponsored by The Sons of The American Legion, this early-evening show marks the first installment of the non-profit group’s new monthly concert series. Each event will feature a different type of music (courtesy of a number of regional artists), accompanied by a catered meal. Proceeds benefit the SAL, funding their larger charity throwdowns.

This time around, the theme is Southern Americana, with live entertainment by The Jimmy Wolling Band, a great local quartet specializing in both traditional bluegrass and progressive “jam-grass,” as well as old-school country – like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Sr., and Elvis. Wolling’s known far and wide as one of the best banjo men in our area, and the rest of the crew (guitarist Dennis Goldbaugh, bassist Timmy Burke, and mandolinist Spec Hosti) is solid as a rock.

Memphis-style pork, side dishes and Creole-style gumbo will be sold by downtown’s newest joint, Angel’s BBQ, There’s not much quality live entertainment to be had on Sundays North of Victory. This seems a welcome diversion.

Food starts at 6 pm, music at 6:30 pm. $5 cover, $7 dinners. 21+ only. Sun., American Legion Post #135 (1108 Bull St. by Forsyth Park).


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Jim Reed

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