Jim Marshall has such a thick and recognizable south Georgia accent that even if he didn't write such twangy rock songs, his tunes would still sound classically Southern.
"I grew up listening to everything from '80s rock to N.W.A., but these days, my stuff's more like Uncle Tupelo, the Jayhawks, Gram Parsons, and the Rolling Stones," he says.
A native of Savannah, where he grew up in a musical family, Marshall, 31, first started playing around Charleston in 2000 while attending college.
"I didn't like trying to beat down the doors to get gigs, so I mostly played at friends' places back then," Marshall says. "I'm trying to get out there more seriously now."
Marshall gigged weekly at the downtown Kickin' Chicken before embarking on an ongoing series of weekend trips back to Savannah and up to Athens, where his older brother Stewart was well-established as a solo songwriter and as the co-leader of country-rock act Stewart & Winfield.
"The heavy route these days is between here and Savannah," Marshall says. "I still play with Stewart a lot, and our brother Joe and sister Margaret join in sometimes. We're the Marshall Family — a real family band with four-part harmonies."
Over the last two years, Marshall became more determined to dive into the Charleston club circuit, not only as a solo singer/guitarist with a lengthy set list of rock, country, blues, and Americana standards, but as a serious songwriter with strong original material.
"I'm trying to emulate the cool stuff that Stewart did over the years — the harmony-driven songs with great vocals," he says. "If I play cover songs now, I try to do tunes that either relate to me personally or surprises the audience as a song they haven't heard in a long time. I always try to craft it to the crowd."
Marshall has plans to record a solo album with old bandmates and guest players in Athens this year. In the meantime, he's pleased to develop his songwriting and solo shows, while also doing live performances with his Savannah-based project Junkyard Angels and his local band the Gilded Sinners.
"There's a difference between playing at Charleston Beer Works on a Friday night when school is in session and playing a set during a residency like this at an actual music venue like Home Team, where people come out to listen to music. It's tough to get your stuff heard at a college bar, but Home Team is the kind of gig where I can sit back and play my own stuff, and, hopefully, people will enjoy it."