<a data-cke-saved-href="http://shereturnsfromwar.bandcamp.com/track/fruit-of-the-night-2" href="http://shereturnsfromwar.bandcamp.com/track/fruit-of-the-night-2">Fruit of the Night by She Returns From War</a>
Three different, yet equally exceptional and evocative songwriters are converging on El-Rocko Lounge late this month for a wonderfully varied rock 'n' roll show.
Out of Charleston, S.C., She Returns From War (a frequent Savannah visitor in the past) will headline the evening. Jacksonville, Fla.-based singer/songwriter Corey Kilgannon will make his Savannah debut, and rounding out the bill will be local support from Nancy Druid, a brand-new indie-rock band.
She Returns From War is the music of Hunter Park, a transgender Charleston native, whose "cosmic Americana" is inspired by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. She Returns From War straddles the border of folk rock and country, with relatable imagery, reminiscent of the writer's Southern home and the basic human connections we all make.
"I just like that kind of mystic country, glamour country kind of style," Park said. "I lot of my inspiration for songwriting came from the need to perform and connect with people. You'll see songwriters, like Corey [Kilgannon], really connect with their audience. It can be a really intimate setting and experience for both the listener and musician. I take that and make that really personal."
After stints in Nashville and New York, Park moved back to her native Charleston in 2012. Since then, she's fallen into the highly supportive music community. She Returns From War began with revolving members, but has solidified a full band lineup of late.
"I have a set band now," Park said. "I have a drummer and bass player and keyboardists that are full-time now and even have the uniforms to prove it. I think it was one of those things where I just asked the right musicians. In Charleston, we have a great music community, genuinely one of the best music communities I've ever been a part of. Savannah has a great community, too. I finally found a lot of people who were willing to put in the time and work for it. I am really happy with that."
They released their debut album, "Oh, What a Love" in 2015, playing a release show in Savannah with Lovely Locks. Recently, they've finished recording the second album, "Psychic Voyage of the Mirrored Moon Dance Hall" and are looking to release next year. A few of the new tracks have made it into the live set rotation.
Similar to Park, Kilgannon began writing songs in his formative teenage years. In college, he put together an EP, "The Hollow," and received praise on the independent music sharing site Noise Trade, encouraging him to pursue more songwriting. Kilgannon dropped out of college and started playing house shows. A couple of years ago, he made a more intentional move into music and songwriting.
"It was just a couple of years ago it shifted for me into something I feel I have to and get to and choose to do," Kilgannon said. "I don't know if it's forever. But, it is nice to feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do here, for a couple of years. Writing songs and sharing them with people - it's really fun."
He followed several EPs with a full-length debut this year. "The Hollow II" is comprised of a number of songs he had written around the same time as his first EP, but went unreleased. Kilgannon's songs stand easily on their own as powerful folk/Americana tunes, but for the album, a litany of instrumentation paints the accents with string orchestration and electronic elements.
While working on the songs, Kilgannon was processing a number of personal tragedies.Thematically, his songwriting ranges from struggles with religion, to death of family members and divorce. Dipping effortlessly from brooding to sanguine, Kilgannon's songs emanate from a deeply personal place, while remaining universally accessible. Over the years, writing poetry and writing songs have been his two primary artistic outlets. Each, to him, has its own separate yet equal merit.
"I've always been really interested in that fine line between describing things and painting a picture and telling a story, but also adding enough poetry to be accessible so that it feels like it's about everybody," Kilgannon said. "I've always cared about that. I just got really into poetry. I think poetry became a place in my own personal life to go with my hard questions and hard thoughts.
"Songs feel so mysterious to me sometimes," Kilgannon said. "They don't really have a process, they just happen. Poetry is a little more sober-minded and intentional. Songwriting is very subconscience. Sometimes songs come out of the chaos a little more and come bursting into existence in some moment of inspiration. It's a little less intentional."
Although "Hollow II" was just released, Kilgannon is sitting on a number of new songs, inspired by his first year back in his native Jacksonville after living in Nashville. After a highly prolific year, he has about 40 new tunes that will depart from his current, more ponderous music.
"I've still got some sad ones, but those are just about girls and stuff," Kilgannon said. "I think even still, they're more tongue-in-cheek and funny. Everybody is going through girl problems. Some of them are more about nature.
"I wanted to have a more balanced story. At the end of this, when I stop releasing songs, I would like for it to tell a nice, balanced story of going to the dark place and getting back from it in a non-cheesy way - finding some kind of peace within it. That's how life is. If everything is happy tomorrow, that's probably not really true. I am just taking my time with it and writing a lot of songs and trying to tap into it."
A new Savannah band, Nancy Druid is the solo material of COEDS frontwoman Anna Chandler (Lovely Locks, General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers). The "shadowy, dancey indie-rock" is brought to a roaring life by Chandler on guitar and vocals, Jeremy Hammons (The Train Wrecks) on drums, Ian McCarthy on synth and keys and Ethan Stewart (Isaac Smith Band) on bass.
IF YOU GO
What: She Returns From War, Corey Kilgannon, Nancy Druid
When: 9 p.m. Dec. 28
Where: El-Rocko Lounge, 117 Whitaker St.
Info: shereturnsfromwar.bandcamp.com, coreykilgannonmusic.com, coeds.bandcamp.com