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Unplugged: Looking ahead to the Savannah music scene in 2017


Unplugged: Looking ahead to the Savannah music scene in 2017

27 Dec 2016

In last week’s column, I looked back at some personal highlights from the Savannah music scene in 2016, so today let’s look ahead to 2017.

I’ll begin by noting that we should expect another great year from various nonprofit organizations and festivals, including the Savannah Philharmonic, Savannah Children’s Choir and Savannah Jazz Festival.

But for this column, I’m primarily focused on individual shows, the local club scene and the broad genres of rock.

First, it’s worth noting a known unknown. How many clubs will apply for the new license that will allow adults 18 and older to attend performances in venues that serve alcohol but don’t serve food?

Savannah’s vibrant DIY scene has been fueled by the decade-long ban on 18- to 20-year-olds from clubs, and there’s a real chance for a more cohesive music culture if those young adults – and young musicians – can have access to legal venues.

Anyway, here are a few dates that are already on my calendar.

After a lengthy hiatus, CUSSES will bring their hard rock back to The Jinx on Feb. 10. The trio plays The Earl in Atlanta on Feb. 11. It’s not clear yet what the future holds for CUSSES, but it will sure be good to see Angel, Brian and Bryan blow the roof off The Jinx again.

On Feb. 18, Coastal Rock Productions reprises A.U.R.A. Fest (All Underground Rock All day) with a stacked lineup of heavy music in the North Garden of Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum.

Savannah Stopover is slated for March 9-11, and again this year we’ll be treated to 80 or more bands in venues throughout the northwest quadrant of the Historic District.

Stopover has a stellar track record of bringing up-and-coming acts on the cusp of bigger things, and I can’t recommend the three-day event highly enough.

Of the Savannah Stopover bands announced so far, I’m most excited about the incredible songwriter Ezra Furman, the established soul band Lee Fields & The Expressions and JEFF the Brotherhood, an awesome rock band.

The Savannah Music Festival has a stacked lineup for March 23 to April 7. I think, top to bottom, it’s my favorite SMF lineup in a few years.

At this point, I’m most excited for the SMF return of Ukranian band DakhaBrakha, the double bill “Haitian Roots” with Chouk Bwa Libete and Leyla McCalla, a collaboration of bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolin player Mike Marshall, Jason Isbell at Johnny Mercer Theatre (I splurged for the most expensive seats), the double bill of Richard Thompson and Sarah Jarosz (are you kidding me?) and the double bill of two rising stars, Nikki Lane and Parker Millsap.

That’s a lot of good music, and that just gets us through the first quarter of 2017.

Happy new year, everyone. Be safe out there.

Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged ( and hissing lawns ( Email