March 07, 2012
With one foot in the pool of CofC's jazz program and the other light years away on a beach of cosmic rainbow dust, quartet Faces for Radio have redefined and raised the bar for improvisational rock music in the Lowcountry. In the post-jam band era, where audiences have tired of noodling guitarists and songs without direction, Faces for Radio stepped in and demanded that you listen to them explore. Fortunately, when the foursome of Tyler Ross (guitar), Gerald Gregory (keys), Ben Wells (bass), and Stuart White (drums) go out walking, it's impossible not to follow them down whichever road they choose. They're versatile too, doubling as the core of an Allman Brothers tribute band that features Wallace Mullinax and Ross, now a CofC jazz guitar professor, trading licks like Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. On their own, they consistently bust out inventive instrumental originals like "1970 Dodge Charger" and "Look Out for Oprah," all led by Ross' enviably smooth guitar tone. It's pretty damn terrific to have this band here in Charleston, and talent and song-wise, there's no reason they shouldn't be jamming alongside Soulive and Medeski, Martin, and Wood on bigger stages soon enough.