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Mike Cross, Amburgey & Hanson

Back in the early 1980s, during the heyday of the old Night Flight Café on River Street, fiddling storyteller Mike Cross used to pack ‘em in.

The Maryville, Tenn., native got a late start to his musical career, only starting to dabble on the acoustic guitar during his junior year in college. However, he quickly took to it, as well as a variety of stringed instruments, and since that inauspicious beginning, has released over a dozen LPs, many on the respected Sugar Hill record label.

These days, he performs everywhere from outdoor festivals and fairs to Boston’s prestigious Symphony Hall. His shows include fiery Irish jigs and reels, 12-string bottleneck blues, and plenty of humorous anecdotes from his life and travels. Most who have seen him live drag the uninitiated to his concerts, convinced they’ll become entranced by his unique twist on homespun Appalachian entertainment. Most do.

If you appreciate the country wisdom of such icons as Will Rogers or Mark Twain – or can’t get enough out of rural folk and blues – this show’s for you.

Opening for Cross will be the local duo of Amburgey & Hanson.

Guitarist Michael Amburgey and harmonica player Bobby Hanson first shared the stage back in 1972 under the name The Back Door Men. As pioneers of the Coastal Empire’s fledgling blues-rock scene, the two quickly became known in our area for a dedication to their craft and a passionate love for country blues – the kind popularized by such iconic masters of the form as Blind Willie McTell, Charlie Patton and Dock Boggs.

Though the duo split up in 1976, they reunited in 2002, and have since released an enjoyable indie CD. They also play local shows from time to time, but they have an aversion to bars, so folks don’t get a chance to see them that often. To my knowledge, their appearance marks the first time this venue has presented anything other than bluegrass, so it should be an interesting double bill.

Seating is limited to around 100, and more than half the room is already spoken for. To purchase advance tickets, call Randy’s shop at 748-1930, or log on to www.randywoodguitars. Sat., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (Bloomingdale).

The Weary Boys

When you’re a hard-rockin’ country and roots music band, perhaps the last place you want to be based out of is Humboldt County, Calif. Not merely for the split-skulled ghosts that lie beneath the fertile soil, but for the area’s notoriously weedy apathy that can encourage creativity but discourage ambition and drive.

The Weary Boys saw that hydroponic ball and chain for what it was, and hightailed it to the music mecca of Austin, Texas in search of fame, fortune, and perhaps most of all – a reason to excel.

They found it holed up in a Ramada Inn looking for work and busking on the side in the town’s infamous Renaissance Market, which had done well in the late ‘80s for such influential acts as Lucinda Williams and Poi Dog Pondering. While gritty, hard-drinking, outlaw country with strong old-time and punk influences is pretty much par for the course in Austin these days, the group quickly earned the respect of jaded townies, and as a feather in their caps, a hard-won weekly gig at the hip Continental Club.

Now they tour the country, bringing their hardscrabble mixture of Jimmy Rodgers, The Carter Family and Keith Richards to the masses. Don’t mistake them, however, for a mere novelty or cover act. Their setlist includes a few fistfuls of originals that do a nice job of paying homage to their heroes while still keeping the genre moving along.

Opening this show will be Savannah’s own Whiskey Dick, an acoustic guitarist and songwriter who embodies many of the better aspects of Kris Kristofferson, David Allan Coe and Tompall Glaser. Wed., August 18th, The Jinx.

The Rebeca Vallejo Project

This self-described “nomadic musician” has traveled across several continents in the pursuit of her own “creative nirvana.” Working hard through her music to transcend (ultimately) limiting labels such as jazz, funk, Latin or worldbeat, this native of Madrid, Spain, uses the hypnotic language of flamenco as her jumping off point.

After spending time in the U.K. jazz scene, the vocalist arrived in New York City in 2000, and was traveling as far away as Cuba to front a number of impressive Latin jazz ensembles. With her band, The Rebeca Vallejo Project, she has recorded and released an indie debut that draws on Afro-Cuban beats as well as Beatle-esque pop flourishes.

She regularly performs at such high-profile venues as The Elbow Room and CB’s Gallery, and hopefully this unusual coffeehouse booking may just provide here with a decent turnout, and a reason to make Savannah a regular stop on her neverending tour.

Sun., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean. <
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Jim Reed

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Connect Today 12.08.2016

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