Soundchecks: Harrison Ray, Gaslight Street, DD Allin, and Conor Donohue

Great live music to check out this week

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ACOUSTIC FOLK | Harrison Ray
w/ The Red Clay Strays
Fri. August 24
9 p.m.
$7
Tin Roof

Singer-songwriter Harrison Ray spent about 12 years making music in Charleston before moving on in the early ’10s, but he has mostly fond memories of his time here watching a nascent music scene turn into something bigger. “When I was there, it was just getting going,” Ray says. “I moved there in ’99 and I got to know a lot of people who went on to do really great things.” Ray, who is also a painter, is a skilled folk songwriter who can play everything from guitar to drums to keyboards to banjo, but he hasn’t been especially prolific; his last album came out in 2011. “I believe in things taking a natural course,” he says, “and every time I would get ready to put something out, something would change, whether it was me moving or a computer crashing or whatever. But I write a lot of music. I probably have about five albums worth of music, but if it’s not just right or I grow unhappy with it, I’ll keep it to myself.” Luckily, his catalog is about to get a little bigger. “I’m pretty far along with a new record and hopefully it’ll be out in a few months,” he says. “This is as close as I’ve come to having something finished in a while.” —Vincent Harris FRIDAY

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ROCK N’ SOUL | Gaslight Street (Album release)
w/ Sunflowers & Sin, The Mother Truckin’ Horns
Sat. August 25
9 p.m.
$10/adv., $12/door
Pour House

Gaslight Street has been working on their new album, You Already Know, for over a year, and they’re justifiably proud of it. The trio, working with producer/engineer Omar Colon at Fairweather Studio, has created a warm, soulful nine-track mix of rock, funk, and R&B, complete with a horn section (courtesy of Simon Harding’s Mother Truckin’ Horns) and backing vocals (from Sunflowers & Sin), and they’re ready to celebrate the album all night at the Pour House, with a little help from their friends. “We’ll play the whole album and plenty more,” says singer/guitarist Campbell Brown. “We’re going to play for three hours straight, with a lot of guests coming up there. We’ll start with the three-piece (Brown, keyboardist Whitt Algar, and drummer Stratton Moore), and then build it throughout the show.” That buildup will include Sunflowers & Sin and Mother Truckin’ Horns sitting in for most of the show. “We’re going to build it to this whole ensemble, plus some other friends of ours who will be joining us,” Brown says. “It’ll be a celebration of what we did with this album and the musicians we love to play with, and it’ll be a party.” —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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RAP/HIP-HOP | DD Allin
w/ Abstract That Rapper and Illaxdell
Weds. August 22
9 p.m.
Free
Big Gun Burger

One of the coolest things we seem to have discovered as rap grows as an art form is how truly dark the music can be while still staying melodic. DD Allin specializes in these warped, haunting tracks that seem to bend and distort the melodies into new shapes and then almost immediately into different new shapes. A desolate piano line might form the spine of a DD Allin track, but then he piles on the atmosphere and slices up the beats, making his music more unpredictable as the song progresses. He’s got a great flow, too, one that can start out calm and reserved and grow increasingly unhinged, almost before the listener realizes it. Laying that level of control over a spare, skeletal backing track creates an unbalanced feeling for those listening to it, but his rapid-fire narrative (and the miles-deep bass) keep you on your toes to the extent that you have to hear how the song ends. Don’t sleep on Abstract That Rapper, either. His new single, “Mumble Rap” is an onslaught of skittering beats and laid-back-but-lightning-fast flow that will make your head spin … all before the mid-song classical piano breakdown. —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

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ACOUSTIC FOLK-POP-ROCK | Conor Donohue
w/ Grace Joyner & Hunter Park, Matt Long
Sat. August 25
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

Kinda hard to know where to start on this bill, which is an embarrassment of musical riches. Let’s go with Conor Donohue first. Conor is a New Orleans singer-songwriter (by way of our fair city) who, on his most recent album Cayenne, mixes foot-stomping, hand-clapping gospel with gritty, gutbucket rock ‘n’ roll and atmospheric folk, all tied together by his slippery, jazz-like vocals that push and pull the melodies apart within his songs. Charleston’s Grace Joyner and Hunter Park (a.k.a. She Returns From War) are pairing up for a set, which means we can expect to hear some truly haunting folk-rock mixed with atmospheric indie-pop, and perhaps some new songs from Park’s new She Returns From War album, Mirrored Moon Dance Hall, which is a jaw-dropper. Joyner’s no slouch here either, though: The stunning, vocals-only opening title track on her 2016 album Maybe Sometimes – In C, will send shivers down your spine. The prospect of what the two of them can do as a duo is pretty exciting. —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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