THE WOOD BROTHERS
Savannah first met the Wood Brothers in April - they opened the Derek Trucks/Susan Tedeschi Band concert in the Johnny Mercer Theatre.
That's why the brothers are kicking off their summer club tour here. "We thought it would be a cool time to come back and re-visit some of the new fans that we probably got in front of that night," says Oliver Wood, who plays acoustic and electric guitar and sings.
The other brother in the duo is Chris Wood, who's been the bassist for Medeski, Martin & Wood since that group began in 1991.
The Wood Brothers' music is a blues-based combination of styles. "I definitely don't think of myself as a bluesman - however, I'm hugely influenced by it," says Oliver, who has a high, lonesome voice, world-weary around the edges, and completely unique.
"We don't play 12-bar blues, we try to overlap with a lot of other things. I think of it as roots-based American music - I hate to say folk, or just blues, I think of it as roots. Definitely influenced by a lot of gospel, blues and folk. But it's also influenced by a lot of great singer/songwriters."
Near the top of Wood's hero list: Lowell George and Levon Helm. When you hear the Wood Brothers, you'll understand.
The Wood Brothers' music seems like the polar opposite of the jazzy, improve-heavy acoustic style Medeski, Martin & Wood are known, and are justifiably famous, for.
Oliver and Chris were born and raised in Boulder, Colo.
"I'm four years old than Chris, so when I left the house I ended up in Atlanta," says Oliver. "My band broke up, but I liked it and I stayed there. When Chris left the house he went to school in the northeast, and he met John Medeski. Chris really ended up finding his niche up there. So we both ended up in places that were really comfortable for us."
In Atlanta, Oliver worked with ace blues guitarist Tinsley Ellis, then formed the horn-based electric blues band King Johnson.
"At the same time," he explains, "Chris and I listened to the same stuff when we were growing up. And MMW's and my musical history really overlap a lot more than people think. Back in the day, MMW was listening to as much Howlin' Wolf and Ray Charles as they were Coltrane and whatever else. In other words, they were into the roots stuff, just like me.
"Same goes for me. I listened to lots of Howlin' Wolf and Lightnin' Hopkins, but I also liked Miles Davis and Charles Mingus.
"It doesn't feel odd to us. It's not that much of a stretch when it comes down to what our individual influences are, and what we like to listen to."
Joining the brothers on this tour is Tyler Greenwell, the former drummer for Bobby Lee Rodgers & the Codetalkers. Listen & learn: www.thewoodbrothers.com.
At 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $12 advance/$15 day of show.
A benefit for the Savannah chapter of Hosea Feed the Hungry, this daylong concert in Grayson Stadium features appearances by Arrested Development, the Atlanta-based hip hop collective ("Tennessee," "Mr. Wendal," "People Everyday/Everyday People") that took home two Grammys in 1993; old-school rapper Kurtis Blow - he was the first hip hop artist signed to a major label, way back when, and he recently became an ordained minister; Larry "Pants on the Ground" Platt; and several local performers, including dancers and a step-dance team. Look for a smashing fireworks show when things wind down around 8 p.m. Listen & learn: wwwarresteddevelopmentmusic.com.
At 12 p.m. Saturday, June 19 at Grayson Stadium, E. Victory Drive. Admission $10.
EQUINOX JAZZ QUINTET
As the name suggests, there are five musicians in this group, playing the Coastal Jazz Association's annual Father's Day bash. There's also a 20-member Big Band version, called the Equinox Jazz Orchestra, and both aggregations are steered by tenor saxophonist Jeremy Davis, 34. In fact, after the quintet plays the gig, the next thing on Davis' horizon is the big orchestra's annual Fourth of July party at the Lucas Theatre - after that show, everybody hoofs it on down to River Street in a sort of New Orleans jazz conga line. It's all jazz, all the time. Listen & learn: www.equinoxjazz.com.
At 5 p.m. Sunday, June 20, Westin Savannah Harbor. Admission $10 (free for Coastal Jazz Association members).
CHECK IT OUT, DUDE
Phil Cooper and Howie Strouse write the tunes for Kalibur, Savannah's toughest young metal band. Kalibur celebrates a new CD release with a show at the Wormhole Saturday .... New Orleans alt/country duo Jeff & Vida, playing amped-up bluegrass and acoustic rockabilly, roll into Randy Wood Guitars Saturday ... If you're up for the short drive, none other than Edwin McCain is playing the Wild Wing Cafe in Hilton Head Sunday. Music starts at 1 p.m.....