Andrew Sovine’s blues experiment

Guitarist extraordinaire brings Rhythm Method project back to El-Rocko

Guitarist Andrew Sovine calls Savannah home, but he’s been a fixture on the road and on record for many of your favorite Americana, rock, and country artists over the years. Some of the artists Sovine has played with include Ashley McBryde, Chase Rice, The Fox Brothers, and Ian Noe.

He’s truly a session player in the most valuable ways, but he’s also got an originality to his playing style that makes him one of the most unique guitar players we have in Savannah.

Something he’s been doing as of late while home in Savannah is a project called Andrew Sovine’s Rhythm Method, a gathering of local heavy weights at El-Rocko Lounge. The group plays a variety of blues songs curated by Sovine, which have a loose and freewheeling nature to them but are glued together by the band’s stellar musicianship.

He’s done one of these musical experiments so far, and he’s gearing up for another on Sat., Dec. 21. Ahead of the gig, we spoke to Sovine about what to expect from a Rhythm Method performance.

How many of these have you done so far?

Just one! Every once in a while, when I was living in Brooklyn, I had a residency at a bar in Williamsburg called Skinny Dennis. It was kind of a rotating thing, and we’d occasionally just make up a name. We called ourselves the Kathleen Turner Overdrive one week. Rhythm Method is just hilarious—the obvious double entendre. So when I brought up the idea to Wes [Daniel] of doing some shows at El-Rocko, I was like, “Oh, I should probably do something to indicate that it’s more in the groove/blues vein.”

We’re just playing a lot of heavily blues-influenced stuff, whether that’s Jimmy Reed or Little Feet.

Tell me more about choosing the songs for this. Do you have a master list of songs that you feel work for this idea? Or do you just work stuff up over time?

We’ve never all rehearsed together [laughs]. Just because our schedules are so crazy. Jared [Hall, keyboards] does every other gig in town, Marc [Chesanow, bass] does all of his gigs with the Philharmonic, and Vuk [Pavlovic, drums] does Velvet Caravan and a Thursday night gig at Rancho Alegre, and I’m usually up to my eyeballs in overdubs. But, you know, everyone knows what they’re doing! So it’s not like we’re going to show up and not know what key we’re in.

I kind of put together a big list of songs and emailed it out to everybody. I said, “Just listen to them, but don’t memorize them because the whole point is to keep it real loose.” One of the thing I stumbled upon in New York when I did a lot of country gigs was that a lot of people would treat country or blues music as precious or very traditional. Even the country stuff, like the Merle Haggard stuff, is all just blues.

That’s what jazz is, too. So you kind of just approach it from a jazz mentality. That’s kind of what we did last time, and the goal is using the creative left-field jazz approach but with blues tunes. Like, we played a Robert Palmer tune last.

You’ve got a really great band behind you for this project. How did you put everyone together? Did you have a picture in your head of what this would look like?

Honestly, man, I just don’t know that many musicians in town [laughs].

I get that! [laughs]

I’ve sat in with Jared and Vuk at the Cuban joint, and Marc is my neighbor. There’s only a handful of working musicians in town, as you know, so at a certain point you start running into each other. With these guys, I knew they weren’t going to stress out about not having a set list or knowing what key we’re in [laughs].

Going forward, do you see this as something you want to do more of? Has it been fulfilling so far creatively?

Oh, yeah! For me, I just like playing. I did a tour recently with a friend where it wasn’t my typical day rate, and it was like, “I’ll make a little bit of money, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.” I played a bunch of instruments and songs I hadn’t played before. So I feel like with doing gigs like this, if I enjoy the music and enjoy the people I’m playing with, then that’s all you really need.

cs

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