Few musicians can claim to have played alongside the iconic bluesman John Lee Hooker in his formative years, as well as with soul titan Otis Redding in his salad days, but those memoir-worthy achievements are guitarist and singer Eddie Kirkland’s calling card. Known as The Gypsy of The Blues, this Jamaican-born and Alabama-bred performer is well into his 70s, yet is known far and wide for consistently putting on gripping live shows. He still maintains what most would consider a brutal touring schedule that speaks volumes about the roving minstrel ethos and disciplined work ethic of old-school R & B acts of his generation.
Cutting his teeth on the 1950s house party circuit before relocating to Detroit (and later to Macon), his intense brand of showmanship draws on country music, delta and Chicago blues, as well as gospel spirituals. Backed by a road band, the singer will accompany himself on guitar and harmonica. This family-oriented event is co-sponsored by the Hinesville Area
Arts Council and the U.S. Army. Admission is free, and a variety of vendors will have BBQ and drinks for sale on site. Ben Prestage opens the show, with Kirkland set to appear around 8:30 pm. Call 767-6212 for more info. Sat., 6 pm (music at 7 pm), Bradwell Park at the Liberty Co. Courthouse (Hinesville).
The Claire Lynch Band
Leave it to local bluegrass and country music insider Randy Wood to once more bring this Grammy-nominated singer/guitarist in for an intimate, 100-seat concert. A former member of the celebrated ‘70s bluegrass act The Front Porch String Band and leader of her own band for well over a decade, Lynch is known throughout the music biz as possessing one of the finest and most emotive voices in her genre (which has earned her a nomination for Female Vocalist of The Year from the International Bluegrass Music Association), and her songwriting skills have resulted in artists such as Patty Loveless and Kathy Mattea recording her tunes.
When not adding guest vocals to records by the likes of Ralph Stanley, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Pam Tillis, she tours with her own acclaimed contemporary bluegrass band, which prominently features bassist Missy Raines (a 6-time IBMA winner for Best Bass Player!). Lynch’s occasional appearances at this no-frills listening room about 20 min. from downtown Savannah usually sell out in advance, so you’ll want to call 748-1930 ASAP to reserve $30 advance tickets. Fri., 8 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale) - ALL-AGES.
Plenty of live music fans around town are anxiously awaiting this club show by one of the better touring bands associated with Athens, Ga.’s own jam-band legends Widespread Panic. Those familiar with Panic —and specifically their late, lamented guitarist Michael Houser—will no doubt already be hip to this group which boasts Houser’s former guitar tech and confidant Sam Holt as one of its key members. While the Southern rock-influenced, exploratory and —at times— trance-like music Outformation plays has a great deal in common with the Panic vibe (Holt does at times seem to channel Houser’s tone and feel), their avowed influences range from Marshall Tucker to Frank Zappa, and their improvisatory take on straight-up “workingman’s” music is landing them fans who have no prior connection to the world of parking lot carnivals and nitrus tanks. Sat., 10 pm, Loco’s (downtown).
When this laid-back jazz pianist and singer left The Pink House after more than a decade of steadily playing 6 nights a week in their cellar bar, Savannahians and tourists alike were deprived of one of downtown’s “must-see” live acts. Viewed by some as a sort of kid sister to the famed “Lady of 6,000 Songs,” Emma Kelly, Thurmond’s similarity to that late Hostess City icon is mainly superficial, in that they’re both known for tickling the ivories and concentrating on charming, upbeat standards, light pop and classic tunes with a regional flair. Which is to say that Gail is her own woman, as her heartwarming independently released CDs attest. She’s cut back on her performing schedule (and who could blame her?), but these shows mark the beginning of a new, ongoing residency for her 2 nights a week at this cozy, unpretentious Mediterranean eatery that’s a favorite among locals. Thurs. & Sat., 6:30 pm, Grapevine Restaurant (346B Johnny Mercer Blvd., Wilmington Isl.).