Live Music: Joy Kills Sorrow, The Living Deads, Cranford & Sons, Tom Swift and His Electric Cohorts

Live music to check out this week

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Kidnapabilly | The Living Deads
Fri. March 29
10 p.m.
Free
The Mill

The Living Deads have kidnapped a rockabilly guitarist from Akron, Ohio, and forced him into servitude. The two-piece band has been picking up guitarists on the road since their original guitarist quit the band the night before a tour several years ago, and it makes for an unpredictable live show. Upright bassist Symphony Tidwell and drummer Randee McKnight once picked up 43 guitarists in a single tour. When they come to North Charleston, they’ll have Shane Vain, lead singer of the Midnight Railers, laying down the hot licks on rough-cut, infectiously danceable songs like “Living Dead Boogie” and “Shit Men Say to Symphony.” “We keep our burlap sack and baseball bat onstage in case our kidnappee tries to make a run for it,” Tidwell says. —Paul Bowers FRIDAy


OLD TIME ROOTS | Cranford & Sons
Fri. March 29
10 p.m.
Wild Wing Café
Downtown

Cranford & Sons’s John Cranford is a fan of flicks featuring gangsters from the days of yore. You know, films like Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables and Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, two shoot-em-uppers about real-life criminals Al Capone and John Dillinger, respectively. Not surprisingly, this tommy-gun love affair has found a way into the lyrics for the Hilton Head-based band — Cranford (vocals, guitar/banjo) Phillip Carol Sirmans (bass), Randy Rockolotta (drums), and Eric Reid (fiddle). And you have to look no further than the rockin’ Irish jig jam, “Highway 17.” “It’s a great throwback to the ’30s and the bank robbery/Prohibition days,” Cranford says, “The story of running from the law is pretty timeless no matter when the song has been written.” “Highway 17” also name drops the Best City in the World. “Charleston has definitely become our home away from home and one of our favorite cities we play in, so it made sense to send a little love to Chucktown,” Cranford says. The old timey roots rockers recently released a live gospel album, and they’ve got a new as-yet-untitled disc coming out this summer. —Chris Haire FRIDAY


Chilled-Out Electro-Pop Jazz | Tom Swift and His Electric Cohorts
Fri. March 29
10 p.m.
Big Gun Burger Shop

Although Charleston’s Tom Swift and His Electric Cohorts — Sawyer Sherrod (piano), Nathan Whitley (guitar), Keeley Briaud (vocals), and Taylor Stewart (drums) — have yet to release a proper album, you can find a handful of their recordings online. One of the standouts is the ultra-cool organ-powered spoken worder “V,” which sounds like a Luscious Jackson-meets-Susan Vega-meets-Money Mark mash-up. “I had written a poem a couple of weeks prior and wanted to use it, but I didn’t want to lose the fact that it was supposed to be a poem,” Sherrod says. “I told Keeley to just read it like she was performing spoken word and to ignore the music. She only took two takes and we used both.” And then there’s “Peacock Feathers.” You can think of it as the hipster love child of Portishead and Billie Holiday. “‘Peacock Feathers’ was the first song we had as a band. I recorded a version of it and e-mailed it to Nathan while I was still living in Texas,” Sherrod says. “It was kind of our test song. It was an experiment musically.” Well, here’s hoping that Sherrod and company keep experimenting. —Chris Haire FRIDAY


Boston Bluegrass | Joy Kills Sorrow
Wed. April 3
9:30 p.m.
$8/advance, $10/door
Pour House

Last fall, Bridget Kearney and the Boston-based bluegrass band Joy Kills Sorrow parted ways, and while the band has bounced back, there’s no doubt that the Joy Kills Sorrow that Charlestonians will see this week will be a decidedly different act from the one that played Spoleto in 2012. After all, Kearney was the band’s principal songwriter. However, the band ­— Matthew Arcara (guitar), Emma Beaton (vocals), Wes Corbett (banjo), Jacob Jolliff (mandolin), and Zoe Guigueno (bass) — has always been a true-blue collaborative effort. “Bridget has a great way with words and music, but was only ever one part of a whole,” Arcara says. “While she did contribute a lot of the song ‘skeletons’ each member always wrote their parts to the tunes, so the sound has remained very much the same.” The guitarist adds, “Wes and Bridget are still writing together, and we just cut a new track which was a collaboration between them.” Arcara also notes that the must-see bluegrass act — Beaton, in particular, has breathtaking chops — recently recorded a seven-song EP that should be out in June. “People in Charleston can expect to hear all the new songs at the Pour House,” Arcara says. —Chris Haire WEDNESDAY

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