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Blake Rainey brings variety of influences to three-night stand in Savannah

 

Blake Rainey brings variety of influences to three-night stand in Savannah

23 May 2017

 

 

Atlanta’s Blake Rainey is returning to Savannah for three shows the first week of June, and bringing with him a new set of tunes as well as his full band.

Rainey, a Georgia native, has had a rather multifarious decade-long career. In 2007, he began simultaneously releasing solo folk and Americana records soaked with country-western influence under the banner Blake Rainey & His Demons.

He also fronted the power punk band the Young Antiques from 2008-12. Young Antiquesare returning to form with several live shows planned this year, putting Rainey into the spotlight of both projects.

Young Antiques released four albums, and Rainey added six more to his discography with the Demons. In all of that music, a wide range of influences can be cataloged, coursing from Tom Waits to The Replacements.

“I was a small-town Georgia boy,” Rainey said. “When I grew up, we didn’t have the internet. I was fortunate to have some older friends who had older cousins who were in college. They were bringing home all this music.

“I feel very lucky even back then to have even the slightest understanding of any of that stuff. The kids I went to high school with thought it was crazy. They had no idea what the hell it was about. I was fortunate enough to find everything from country music to punk rock. We sort of grew up listening to Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, The Clash, The Ramones and The Replacements at the same time.

“It wasn’t until I started doing solo stuff and focusing on a folk sound that it turned into a bigger sort of country/Americana/rock ’n’ roll sound. I try to, as far as material goes, do something that I haven’t done before. Something that’s a unique perspective musically.”

The Demons’ sixth studio album, “Helicopter Rose,” follows the trajectory of its author, drawing influence from a host of Americana, rock and country artists. From the country-western staple “Every Time I’m Thinking of You,” to the darker, old-school R&B jam “Mulholland Square,” Rainey & His Demons (Joe Foy, Eric Young and Aaron Mason), meld a host of styles to produce an album full of interesting contrasts, upswings, downturns and unexpected ventures, all grounded by rich storytelling.

“The entire album was meant to be centered around rescue,” Rainey said. “I think most of it, in some form or fashion, deals with a sense of rescue. With some of the darker tunes, like ‘Mulholland Square,’ there’s definitely Nick Cave/Tom Waits influence going on there.”

To better assist promotion for his own unique musical products, Rainey and his wife Kendra started up Southern Lovers Recording Company, “a boutique record label” that released “Helicopter Rose” in December. The album garnered praise from Spin Magazine and Creative Loafing.

“It all fell together,” Rainey said. “The imprint gave us more visibility. We have the intention of putting some other stuff out in the future. As it is, with marketing records, it’s not the cheapest thing in the world. We’re focusing on what we’re doing with this record and keeping it in the boutique land. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put some other stuff out. We’d like to cover some local guys here that are songwriters and try to do some singles or 7-inches and go from there.”

Rainey, who played a Thursday Night Opry at Trinity United Methodist Church last year, is playing three shows in Savannah the first week of June. He’ll kick off the weekend June 1 at The Jinx with Waits & Co., then appear solo at Foxy Loxy on June 2, followed by a stint at Tybee Island Social Club on June 3.

Savannah’s own Americana/alt-country outfit Waits & Co. announced it will be the last live show for a while due to some medical issues. The typical three-piece of Jon Waits, Marcus Kuhlmann and John Pizzichemi will expand in size at the June 1 show into a five-piece, adding Jared Hall on keys and Ira Miller on drums. Waits says it’s not the end of the group, just time for “a well-deserved creative hiatus.”

IF YOU GO

What: Blake Rainey & His Demons, Waits & Co.

When: 9 p.m. June 1

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: $5

Info: southernlovers.com

What: Blake Rainey solo

When: 7 p.m. June 2

Where: Foxy Loxy Cafe, 1919 Bull St.

Cost: Free

Info: southernlovers.com

What: Blake Rainey & His Demons

When: June 3

Where: Tybee Island Social Club, 1311 Butler Ave.

Cost: Free

Info: southernlovers.com

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