Soundchecks: Ray Deezy, Whoa Dakota, The Secret Ingredients, Jamie Gray

Live music to catch this week


  • Ruta Smith file photo

HIP-HOP | Ray Deezy
w/ Baby Yaga, B-Side
Fri. Feb. 21
9 p.m.
The Royal American

There's something special about hometown shows, especially with an artist like Ray Deezy, whose body of work is steeped in his life and times in Charleston. When you listen to Deezy you feel close to his life and you believe what he says; it's the marker of a good storyteller and artist. He writes about his family history, referencing food and stories he was raised on. His clear lyrics, jazzy hooks, and calming beats help convey his message. Deezy's latest EP, The Getaway, continues with those feelings of familiarity and nostalgia. The EP meshes the sounds of '70s and early '80s R&B with the lo-fi hip-hop feel of the '90s to create a fitting platform for lyrics inspired by Deezy's childhood and the people he has loved and lost. The rapper cleverly uses the past and the present in this EP to make relatable and comforting points about life. The Getaway is a synthesis of those everyday struggles we go through. "I feel like everyday is a battle and if you come out victorious on the battlefield everyday, you're not only just winning, you're progressing, and that teaches you how to keep going," Deezy says. So what is The Getaway and what can you expect from the release show? Well, Deezy describes it as "the beauty of independence and just being free from life's random grievances. We all take ourselves to that special place whenever we daydream or when we are just laying in our beds reflecting on the day. I wanted to channel that feeling into a night at the arcade in the '90s while also putting on a amazing show for my beautiful city." —Eliana Katz FRIDAY

  • Provided

w/ Grace Joyner, Avi Jacobs
Sun. Feb. 23
7 p.m.
Tin Roof

In 2018, singer-songwriter Whoa Dakota (real name: Jessica Ott) released a lovely album of lush, confessional pop called Patterns. The aptly-named album interlaced Ott's kaleidoscopic, electronics-tinged songs with spoken-word interludes, creating a musical journal in which she catalogued her fears, flaws, hopes, and dreams. The term "concept album" might not be in vogue these days, but it's hard to think of Patterns as anything else, and Ott says that's certainly how she thinks of it. "There are a lot of different themes woven throughout that album," she says. "I've always been a big fan of concept albums, even if it's a tricky time in which to be doing such stuff. Unfortunately, with the rise of Spotify, a lot of people aren't listening to albums entirely, but I did want to express what I had learned in that way." On album, Whoa Dakota is Ott and whatever else she needs to complete a song. On the road, it's a three to five piece band that mixes live instruments and programmed sounds. And they've only recently begun venturing outside Ott's native Nashville within the last couple of years. "This is really just our second year now going out on tour," she says. "It's been really fun. Everyone in Nashville is a musician, so whether they're doing it intentionally or not, a lot of audience members when you're in Nashville are really scrutinizing things. I'm just as guilty of it as anyone else. We're sitting there running a list in our minds of the things that we like in the show, the things that we don't like, and how we would apply certain things to our set. So it's a totally different experience going outside of Nashville to play." —Vincent Harris SUNDAY

  • Ruta Smith file photo

SOUL | The Secret Ingredients
Sat. Feb. 22
10 p.m.
My Father's Moustache

Bill Wilson has been a mainstay of the local music scene for decades. Before owning the New Moulin Rouge, an important now-defunct music club on the peninsula, this septuagenarian saxophone player moved in and out of town, and has come in and out of hiding once or twice, as well. Still, Wilson grew up here listening to the secular sounds of the jukebox in his uncle's bar and the salvation-minded spirituals that his aunt made omnipresent in the house on Hanover Street that Wilson called home. His first band, a vocal group called the Silver Links, was actually composed of kids from his Charleston church. From there, Wilson set off in all directions, musically and geographically speaking, striking a balance between his love for both Little Richard and the Lord, along the way. Over the course of a lengthy career, Wilson has been a contributing member of some notable soul and R&B acts, and he recently released his first solo album, Stand Up!, at the end of 2018. This weekend, however, Wilson will be performing as part of the Secret Ingredients, a fine band of in-demand players from the area with whom Wilson continues to engage in a magical musical conversation. —Kevin Wilson SATURDAY

  • Mia Naome

Folk | Jamie Gray
w/ Charles Walker, Apricot Blush
Fri. Feb. 21
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

You may know Jamie Gray as the lead singer and frontwoman of Charleston dream pop band Cry Baby. Now she's taking over the Tin Roof stage as a folk solo artist. Separate from Cry Baby, Gray has released one single titled "Break Down" which hit streaming platforms almost a year ago in February of 2019. Her distinct singing voice translates exceptionally well from pop to folk and the concept of more material similar to "Break Down" is an exciting prospect to say the least. While "Break Down" is a solo acoustic track, Gray will be accompanied by a full band of drums, bass, and guitar. And for all of you Cry Baby fans, don't worry. Just because Gray is taking on a solo show and looking to branch out a little does not spell the end of Charleston's favorite early 2000s nostalgia band. They have much more on the horizon. Joining Gray on the bill will be folk rock ensemble Apricot Blush and Boone, NC folk/emo hybrid artist Charles Walker. Walker is a great young artist to check out for fans of alternative country acts like Jason Isbell and Kyle Craft. And for those of you who have ever wanted to hear a band that puts on a big, theatrical alt-country display and incorporates a singing saw, Apricot Blush is everything you've ever dreamt of. —Alex Peeples FRIDAY

Add a comment