West African Drum & Dance Experience, Jeff Beasley 

The Listening Room: West African Drum & Dance Experience, Jeff Beasley  (feat.)

The brainchild of local arts organizers and entrepreneurs Jake and Miriam Hodesh (who also run the monthly Savannah Market Bazaar), this monthly smoke and alcohol-free music series is designed to showcase regional acts who are either unknown or rarely play in quiet, family-oriented settings. That’s definitely the case for singer/songwriter Jeff Beasley, who’s one of the busiest working musicians in town, but whose steady gigs (both solo and with a full band) usually take place in noisy bars and restaurants.

Jeff has longed to present his folksy, Cajun-tinged blues and roots-rock originals in a bona fide “concert” environment, and the ability of folks to pay close attention to the dedication he displays in his laid-back boogie and swing-influenced rock and roll may help earn him the type of artistic respect that too often eludes performers who make their living in loud and distracting rooms.

His 45-min. set will be followed by the debut of a 12-piece ethnic dance and music troupe devoted to preserving Afro-Caribbean culture. Made up of locals from age five to 62, some of whom are blood relatives, this combo will offer new arrangements of traditional folk and dance tunes (played on authentic instruments), plus at least one original composition. Seating is limited, but advance tix are available online. Listen & Learn: jeffbeasleyband.com. $8 adv. (at newmoonofsavannah.com/thelisteningroom)/$10 at door. Fri., 7 pm, The Black Box at S.P.A.C.E. (9 W. Henry St.).

JJ Grey & Mofro

For those of you who still equate Jacksonville, Fl. with the most terminally ‘neck forms of Southern Rock, rising international sensation JJ Grey may just be the artist to disabuse you of that rather outdated notion. With his avowed love of the chicken-fried, deep southern swamp soul made flesh by iconic ‘60s and ‘70s visionaries like Otis Redding and Tony Joe White, and a flair for penning endlessly funky guitar riffs that wrap around his husky vocals like a snake around a log, Grey and his longtime band (formerly known simply as Mofro) have become a sought-after attraction at medium to large indoor venues and major outdoor festivals. Now signed to standout blues label Alligator Records, they’re riding a wave of organic, hard-won success based upon relentless road work and a strong outreach to their ever-widening fanbase. This is another impressive booking by this ambitious River St. venue. Get there early for the best view of their low stage. Charleston Americana combo Milhouse opens. Listen & Learn: mofro.net, myspace.com/milhouseband. $12 adv./$15 at door. Thurs., 10 pm, Live Wire Music Hall.  

Kylesa CD Release 

Local band-turned-world-famous-metal-saviors Kylesa celebrate the release of their fourth (and by far most daring and eclectic) studio LP Static Tensions with this massive quadruple-bill at their home base venue that finds them joined by opening acts Skeleton Witch and Savannah’s own Black Tusk and Tim McClean. Still rooted in the kind of abrasive, monstrous sludge and doom-laden guitars-and-twin drum sets cacophony they’re known for, this new record is being hailed by critics as perhaps the group’s finest release, and by the band themselves as perhaps the definitive studio-crafted portrait of the group to date. As such, the new batch of songs reference more of (singing guitarists) Phillip Cope and Laura Pleasants’ interest in classic rock and psychedelia than was evident on previous outings — which has undergone more than its fair share of lineup changes over the course of their career.

After a recent national tour as opener for indie-rock darlings Pinback and a run through Japan, Kylesa now debuts their latest stylistic shift towards a slightly more melodic and riff-o-centric sensibility. If you’ve never witnessed their mighty onslaught (or that of both of their more than capable support acts), now might be a good time to do so, and pick up a CD while you’re there. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/kylesa, myspace.com/blacktusk, myspace.com/skeletonwitch. Wed., 11 pm, The Jinx. 


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Jim Reed

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