Two singer/songwriters from Philly share the bill during this week's installment of the Palmetto Acoustic Series on Thurs. Jan. 22. Chris Kasper (of bluegrass group the Lowlands) hits the stage at 7:30 p.m. and Hezekiah Jones (a more indie/modern-minded songwriter) follows at 8:30 p.m. in West Ashley at the Muddy Waters Coffee Bar (1331 Ashley River Road, 843-795-0848). The bi-weekly Palmetto Acoustic events have established a cool vibe in town. There's never a cover. It continues on Thurs. Feb. 5 with members of White Rhino and Jason Harrod, and every other Thursday through the winter. For more info, visit www.myspace.com/palmettoacoustic.
HERE COME OL' FLATTOP
The Athens, Ga.-based tribute band Abbey Road Live! — a quartet of veteran players including guitarist Tim Conley, drummer Andrew "Silver Hammer" Hanmer, bassist Dave Domizi, and guitarist/keyboardist Michael Wegner — is an act more interested in celebrating the music, guitar licks, harmonies, and dynamics of the 1969 Beatles album Abbey Road than in putting on some sort of wig 'n' costume cabaret act. They've done their homework. And they rock. Look for them at the Music Farm at 9 p.m. on Sat. Jan. 24. Visit www.musicfarm.com and
COOL NEW PRAC SPACE
For years, local musicians and bands have struggled to find safe, secure, moderately sound-proofed, and remotely comfortable rooms in which to rehearse. The carpet-padded garages, blanket-lined laundry rooms, and drafty backyard tool sheds have never quite sufficed. Fortunately, a new rehearsal space (with all mod cons) is set to open in the lower North Charleston area, just off of Dorchester Road. Musician and entrepreneur Kevin Dunnill's large, multi-room, climate-controlled, sound-proofed facility will be called The Hinge, located at 2516 Oscar Johnson Road. The practice space's website includes this self description: "The Hinge is a connecting point for musicians — a place for bands to rehearse and for individuals to either practice by themselves or meet some others to jam, a great way to network for shows, recording and publicity, a place to get ready for tour or to make your first gig happen." Bands and musicians can choose from a variety of small, medium, or large rooms to rent by the hour for reasonable rates. Check out more details online at www.thehingecharleston.com.
GUTHRIE & IRION GO TO CHURCH
With a crisp sound filled with boy/girl harmonies and lilting melodies, folk/Americana duo Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion have a modern take on traditional roots music. Guthrie (the daughter of Arlo and granddaughter of Woody) and Irion plan to perform in Charleston next month in support of a new live two-disc album/DVD set titled Folksong (Rte 8). Suncoast Promotions booked the show for 8 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the Circular Congregational Church (150 Meeting St.). Opening acts include Hootie guitarist Mark Bryan and singer/songwriter Danielle Howle. Contact Suncoast by phone at (843) 568-6728 or online at www.suncoastproductions.com for ticket info. Visit www.sarahleeandjohnny.com for more.
BIG HIT, BABY KIT
An unusual rock duo has merged in the local bar scene. Big Hit & The Baby Kit — comprised of Mike Legere on vocals and acoustic guitar and Andrew Shaw on vocals and toy drum kit (a tiny contraption with a kick drum, cymbal, and two toms) — handle a mix of covers and originals at several venues every week. "Andrew and I have been playing together on and off since 1997," says Legere. They both recently played in an original band called The Mystery Fellowship. Now, they blend bits of classic rock, reggae, alternative, and Americana. "Our goal is all good songs and no bullshit," says Legere. "We don't play a cover that we don't like, we don't do Buffet or 'Freebird,' that's for sure." The duo plays at Necter Bar & Grille on Wednesday evenings, at J. Paul'z on Thursday evenings, at the downtown Tsunami on Friday nights, and at the Chucktown Tavern on Saturdays.
SAVANNAH MUSIC FEST
The 2009 Savannah Music Festival, set for Wed. March 18 through Sun. April 5, has expanded its schedule from previous years. It will feature an impressive lineup of over 100 classical, jazz, rock, Americana, gospel, and bluegrass artists performing at various venues around the city's historic district. The jazz lineup include Dianne Reeves, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin's Five Peace Band, and The Clayton Brothers. The blues schedule highlights Piedmont blues masters. Béla Fleck's Africa Project is part of the world music program. "Georgia On My Mind" is a four-concert series. The "Roots & Twang" series boasts alt-rock and Americana acts, such as Neko Case, The Punch Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, and The Lovell Sisters. Tickets can be purchased through Trustees Theater's box office (912-525-5050). Some events are free. See www.savannahmusicfestival.org for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann