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Sam Johnson has worked in the Savannah radio business for two decades, so it’s no surprise that when the 38-year-old found himself in a difficult position it was to the local music community that he turned for help. Johnson (who currently is heard on WEAS-FM) is in dire need of a kidney transplant, and cannot afford the estimated $100,000 he may ultimately need for post-operative care.

To that end, he’s organizing an all-day concert at this downtown bar and live music venue in hopes of getting a good start at raising this phenomenal amount of money. The show starts at noon and runs till 10 pm, and costs only a $5 donation – all of which will go directly to Johnson’s official tax-deductible account. The bar too, is donating a portion of their liquor sales for the day, so it’s a win-win situation all around.

9 different local and regional artists in a variety of genres are donating their time and talent to the cause, including guitarist G.E. Perry & Strange Brew, world-music hip-hop vocalist Zan, singer/songwriter Greg Williams, The Jackson-Evans Jazz Duo, Atlanta’s funk-metal newbies Code Atom, and electric bluesman Eric Culberson. Says Johnson of the time and effort it’s taken to put this show together, “I’m starting to feel like Bill Graham.”

This is a great way to expose yourself to some great live entertainment, and do a good deed in the process. For more info on how you can help out, and a complete schedule of artists participating, go to: samjohnson.blogspot.com. Sat., noon, Mercury Lounge.

"Dark Side of The Dead" w/Cosmic Charlie

Cosmic Charlie was formed about 6 years ago in Athens, Ga., as a one-off tribute to the enduring legacy of The Grateful Dead. Since then, they’ve gone on to become a solid draw throughout the region, and one of the better Dead cover bands around.

Far from slavish recreations of old bootleg tapes, they strive to pick obscure numbers and do their own thing with them - offering folks a bit of the same attitude that helped the Dead become improvisatory rock legends despite often interminable noodling.

In honor of April Fool’s Day, they’re adding a new element to their gig: they’ll end the show with a note-for-note recreation of Pink Floyd’s landmark psychedelic LP Dark Side Of The Moon, complete with background singers and a horn section. This is a majestic record that most musicians would shy away from messing with - especially in a noisy bar environment. In other words, this will either be a truly impressive feat, or a wildly ambitious misstep. Either way, how can you not show up and check it out for yourself? Fri., Locos Deli & Pub.

DJ Lord & Friends

Savannah native Lord Aswod now calls Atlanta home, and from that base, he’s gone on to become one of the most notable turntablists in the world. A familiar face on the DJ competition circuit, he’s won scores of awards for his lightning-fast reflexes and innovative mixing skills - skills which he patterned after the work of his heroes, Grand Master Flash, Jam Master Jay and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

In 1999, Aswod joined Public Enemy on their 40th World Tour, and was soon awarded his own solo segment during those shows. He’s currently working on 2 new PE records, and touring with Flavor Flav. In his spare time, he travels the world hosting Drum & Bass parties like this one. Also on this high-intensity bill: DJ Jeff-Nice, DJ Jahaan, and Nfms39. Thurs., 10 pm, Club Oxygen (formerly Conga).

Freddy Cole

Astute listeners have long called this amazing performer “The Cole that no one knows.” The youngest child in a musical family that also included the legendary Nat “King” Cole (12 years Freddy’s senior), Freddy took up the piano at the age of 5. Visitors to his Chicago home included the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Billy Eckstine, so it’s no wonder he turned out the way he did.

Ad how’s that? Well, after a hand injury sidelined a possible pro football career, he dove into the club scene with a passion and ultimately studied at Julliard in the early ‘50s, soaking up inspiration from the great Oscar Peterson and Teddy Wilson.

That led to steady club work, which by the ‘70s led to Freddy’s albums and live shows going over like gangbusters abroad. The fact that he does in fact sound quite a bit like his brother Nat (and is usually backed by guitar, bass and drums as well) no doubt helped, but in truth he swings more and his smoky vocal tone owes a greater debt to both Sinatra and Billie Holiday.

Unlike many of his peer group, he’s still widely believed to be playing and singing in top form, and is constantly in demand as a cabaret act across the globe. In fact, after this two-nighter, he’s off to Greece for a week... Fri. - Sat., 7 pm, The Jazz Corner (Hilton Head).


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Jim Reed

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Connect Today 10.22.2016

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