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Sol Driven Train returns from Virgin Islands

The busy local rock band: active on the road and in the studio

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Charleston rock band Sol Driven Train hasn't slowed down this season. On the heels of a big New Year's Eve gig at the Pour House, the veteran quintet just completed a 12-day/12-gig tour of the U.S. Virgin Islands. City Paper ran into singer/guitarist and hand drum percussionist Joel Timmons at the Hit or Miss gig at Art's Bar & Grill last night (that's Timmons and singer/guitarist/trombonist Ward Buckheister doing their duo thing), where he told a few quick tales of the adventure. He said things went better than expected: "We played mostly our own original music, and people were really receptive to it."

Timmons, Buckheister, and the guys joined tour manager Bryan Austin along for a string of dates at villas, clubs, and beach-front venues in St. John and St. Thomas. "We went snorkeling and even caught a few waves," Timmons said.

In other SDT news, the band recently recorded and posted a fresh mix of an original song titled "Orangeburg" to their Myspace page in commemoration of Black History Month. "Growing up in S.C., racial tension was a constant undercurrent in my school life," Timmons wrote in an announcement on the page. "For years, I have wanted to figure out a way to address this in my songwriting. When I checked out Orangeburg: A Place and Time Remembered, by Sonny Dubose and Cecil Williams, from the library, I was moved by the photos and first hand accounts of the event to write a song about that dark day in S.C. history."

The song refers to the tragic events of Feb. 8, 1968, when police fired upon a group of S.C. State University students on campus during a civil rights demonstration. Sol Driven Train tracked it at Hillcreek Studios in Candler, N.C .and at Awendaw Green. They mixed with engineer Jeff Hodges at Charleston Sound. Two guests — organist Jim Peterman (a founding member of Steve Miller Band) and singer songwriter Danielle Howle — performed on the recording as well.

The band next local gig is at the Oysters on the Point party at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina on Sat. Feb. 20 from 2-6 p.m. Visit soldriventrain.com for more.

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