The Savannah Music Festival Seven 

Highlights of the just-revealed schedule

THE 26th ANNUAL Savannah Music Festival, March 19-April 4, 2015, will be the largest and most varied production to date.

Tickets are on sale now at www.savannahmusicfestival.org

Fans of Southern musical tradition—bluegrass, gospel, swing, country, Cajun, etc.—will still get their fix, but the newest addition to Savannah Music Festival?


click to enlarge opera-jessicabestpinkdress.jpg

In collaboration with the lauded Savannah Voice Festival, Savannah Music Festival 2015 will feature original productions of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, two of three one-hour operas from Puccini’s Il Trittico.

The production highlights the Savannah Philharmonic and members of its chorus.

Artist are flocking from all over the world for this year’s festival. From Russia, Japan, England, South Africa, Germany, Canada, Montenegro, Ireland, Cuba, Austria, Iran, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Ukraine, and more, there will be a can’t-miss event for everyone.

THE RETURNING CHAMPS: The Wood Brothers/A.J. Ghent Band

SMF favorites for three years, The Wood Brothers return with a new full-time member: drummer/multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix. The Nashville-based band plays an appealing blend of Americana, blues, jazz, reggae, rock, and gospel, accented with harmonies only siblings can achieve, admirable picking, and Southern-steeped songwriting.

click to enlarge Wood Brothers
  • Wood Brothers

Fans of Charles Bradley’s 2013 Savannah Music Festival performance will be thrilled to see throwback Motown soul returning to the festival in the form of A.J. Ghent Band.

In addition to having pipes compared to those of James Brown, Ghent’s one hell of a slide/steel guitarist; the combination of technical skill and funk showmanship make this a must-see.

Thursday, March 19, 7:30 p.m. Ships of the Sea North Garden. $35.

click to enlarge Daniel Hope
  • Daniel Hope


One of the most sought-after violinists of his time, Daniel Hope has rounded up a collection of highly skilled colleagues to perform “Around Beethoven.” Hope, joined by Benny Kim (violin), Philip Dukes (viola), Eric Kim (cello), Keith Robinson (cello), Sebastian Knauer (piano), will play Beethoven’s Piano Trio No 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 1, bookended by two of Franz Schubert’s greatest works.

Thursday, March 19, 6 p.m. $47.


A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Winner, and National Heritage Fellowship Award winner, Mavis Staples has been singing and changing the landscape of vocal music for 60 years—and shows no signs of stopping.

click to enlarge Mavis Staples
  • Mavis Staples

In her mid-70s, the woman’s collaborating with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on her latest material, belting those Delta blues-influenced classics, and leading as a vocal inspiration. Her weathered, bold vocals have highlighted can instill comfort, empowerment, and chills, and will make for an unforgettable evening.

Thursday, March 19, 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

THE PARTY STARTERS: Buckwheat Zydeco

For 30 years, Buckwheat Zydeco has kept the traditions instilled by the King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, alive. Creole, blues, and R&B merge to create one of America’s great genres.

click to enlarge Buckwheat Zydeco
  • Buckwheat Zydeco

It’s a wild show—Buckwheat is a legendary player, but he also puts the “show” in show business, and it’s virtually impossible to sit still while he dominates the accordion. Buckwheat has played for President Clinton, David Letterman, and many more, but on Friday night, he’s all ours.

Friday, March 20, 7 and 9 p.m. Charles H. Morris Center. $35.

THE PRIDE & JOY OF THE SOUTH: Shovels & Rope/Shakey Graves

Shovels & Rope last came to Savannah in 2012, opening up Dare Dukes’ CD release party at The Jinx.

Since then, they’ve appeared in Rolling Stone magazine and The New York Times, received rave reviews for their performances at Newport Folk Festival and South by Southwest, and hung out at Willie Nelson’s ranch. Needless to say, the Charleston, SC power couple—who ruled our little Savannah stages years before Bonnaroo was even on their radar—have grown up, and longtime fans couldn’t be prouder.

click to enlarge Shovels and Rope
  • Shovels and Rope

They’ve honed a distinctly Lowcountry take on Americana/roots music, playing their hearts out on stage with whatever instruments they can find. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent are on the world’s lips now, and we welcome them back with open arms.

Friday, March 20, 8 p.m. Ships of the Sea North Garden. $35.

click to enlarge Lucinda Williams
  • Lucinda Williams


Often placed in the ranks of Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams has been contributing to the American folk/Americana tradition since her early 20s. Born in Louisiana, Williams has also made Texas and Tennessee home in her career; the influences of each region bleed through, whether she’s playing a solo acoustic set or backed by a rock band. Her songs have a Delta-raised tenderness to them, susceptible and rugged, and earned her the title of “America’s best songwriter” by TIME Magazine in 2002.

Friday, March 27, 8:30 p.m. $32.

click to enlarge Rosanne Cash
  • Rosanne Cash


What we can we say? She’s got country music in her blood. The daughter of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin, Roseanne Cash’s Savannah Stopover 2012 performance put tears in the eyes of festival attendees. While some offspring of famed musicians get by on riding the coattails of their folks, Cash has carved a place for herself in contemporary music by doing things her own way. With rich vocals that blend pop and rock with American country traditions, she’s collaborated with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, and more.

Saturday, April 4, 7:30 p.m, Lucas Theatre for the Arts. Tickets start at $32.


Speaking of Savannah Music Festival

About The Author

Anna Chandler

Anna Chandler

Connect Savannah Arts & Entertainment Editor Anna Chandler started writing about music after growing hoarse from talking about it nonstop. Born in Tennessee and raised in South Carolina, she has been a proud Savannahian for 8 years. She sings & plays guitar & accordion in COEDS and Lovely Locks.

More by Anna Chandler


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