Spotlighted Gigs & Recommended Shows 

Aquariums, Midtown Dickens

At least one track on the debut CD by this low-key, Nashville-based ennui-rock act was written in Savannah (where frontman Martin Schneider’s brother resides), which may explain this local gig. A collection of languorous and often morose home-recorded ruminations on the tumult of lost innocence and spiritual skepticism (much of which is based on a haunting memoir detailing a North Korean child’s upbringing in a forced labor camp), Conceptual Realizations’ studied attempt to set a mood does —at times— overreach, but the result is compelling nonetheless.

The night may well belong, however, to the Durham, N.C. female acoustic duo Midtown Dickens, which counts almost 20 instruments among its arsenal, and summons up a hybrid of old-time Americana and vintage dada-roots-weirdness reminiscent of the oddball upstarts found on old K Records cassette samplers. They’ve gigged with Kimya Dawson, and won over critics who know something unique and heartfelt when they hear it. Locally-based experimental electro/anti-folk trio Aux Arc round out this bill. Fri., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean Coffeehouse - ALL-AGES.

Jepson Gospel Brunch

Seems like this modern art museum enjoyed getting its groove on so much at its Jepson Live jazz shows they’ve inaugurated another monthly concert series. Designed to pull in folks who might not otherwise take advantage of all the Jepson’s delights (their collections are open for perusal during the gigs), this afternoon event in the expansive Eckburg Atrium features a live gig by the Grace Full Gospel Choir, preceded by a buffet lunch.

This atrium is pleasing to the eye but problematic for loud or amplified electric acts. That’s why exultant vocal music of this type seems suited to the venue. Organizers predict the sanctified singing will get the assembled crowd on their feet, and I must say that seems likely. Art, gospel and a buffet lunch on one of Savannah’s squares — who could ask for anything more? $10 for non-members with those 7 -12 half price and those 6 and under free. Brunch is optional at $15. Sun., 12:30 pm (brunch) & 1:30 pm (concert), Jepson Center for the Arts.

George Jones

What can one say about The Possum that hasn’t already been said? The golden-throated icon of country music has enjoyed more chart hits than any other country singer in history (almost 150) and is an acknowledged inspiration to and favorite of an incredibly diverse collection of contemporary vocalists and songwriters —many of which he has collaborated with in one form or another—from Elvis Costello to Aaron Neville.

It’s been said that most anyone who aspires to sing Western pop or roots music on some level wishes they could sing like the man. With decades of hits ranging from the forgotten 1958 classic “Color of the Blues” to the rock and roll leanings of 1964’s “The Race Is On” to 1974’s signature No. 1 smash “The Grand Tour,” Jones, at 76 years of age, is a living, breathing history of C & W.

His desultory days of drugs and drink behind him (he earned the moniker “No Show Jones” for a propensity to blow off gigs or sleepwalk through concerts during his roughest periods), he can now be counted on to reliably turn in strong, stable live performances, and expectations are high for this rare local appearance.

Brother and sister opening act The Roys are a “15-year overnight sensation” from the Northeast who traded Nashville’s major label game to craft a truly beautiful, old-school country LP called Grandpa’s Barn that’s turning heads and earning airplay. Look for journeyman pedal steel guitarist Tommy Butler (who plays with local honky-tonker Chuck Courtenay during downtime between tours) as part of The Roys’ backing band. Rising independent vocalist Jason Byrd adds support. Reserved seats are $45 - $35 online at www.savannahcivic.com or call 651-6556. Sat., 7:30 pm, Johnny Mercer Theater.

Howard Paul & Kirk Lee

Atlantic City, N.J. native Paul has been a leading figure on the area jazz scene for years now. As a teen, he played alongside such legends as Roy Ayers and Dizzy Gillespie, and for the past 16 years, the guitarist (he specializes in the esoteric 7-string variety) has both led his own combos and acted as an in-demand sideman around these parts. When not contributing articles to Just Jazz Guitar Magazine or holding down a regular gig at the chi-chi Hilton Head supper club The Jazz Corner, he plays shoulder-to-shoulder in a duo with jazz guitar icons like Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden and Joe Beck.

Horn man Lee has called our area home since the ‘80s, and distinguished himself as a versatile musician with taste and chops to spare. Equally at home with straight-ahead/Big Band groups and Latin ensembles, he’s a notable member of the Savannah Jazz Orchestra and as such, has backed up more than his fair share of internationally-known headliners at our own annual Jazz Fest. You may have also caught him gigging on either trumpet or flugelhorn with Ben Tucker, The Equinox Jazz Orchestra and The Sapphire Bullets.

This gig at our only jazz-specific venue finds the pair abetted by the powerhouse rhythm section of trap drummer Billy Hoffman (something of a local legend in his own right) and killer, veteran bassist George Sheck. Dig it for only a $5 cover. Fri. - Sat., 8 pm, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club.


It’s something of a tradition for the rock-oriented acts that play the annual Savannah Irish Fest to make the trip to town doubly worth their while by also playing late-nights sets at this pub (which is also a major festival sponsor). This Fl.-based combo has brought the house down in this smallish room before, and this return engagement should find them doing so again.

With a lineup featuring former members of Seven Nations and Celtic Soul (not to mention an alumnus of late-’80s British alt.rock footnotes The Bolshoi), they make a forceful ruckus on traditional folk instruments as well as modern, electric gear — and it’s served them well, as they were recently named Best Celtic Rock Group of 2006 by a major website devoted to that increasingly popular crossover genre. Fri. - Sat., 10 pm, Murphy’s Law Irish Pub.


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Jim Reed

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