As the weather in the Lowcountry cools and we all finish prepping for Christmas, there are multiple holiday parties to choose from, but only one combines Savannah's best bands, a good cause, a great venue, booze and food.
The fourth annual Homegrown Holiday Hoedown, which doubles as a concert and a Toys For Tots charity drive, is becoming one of the premiere holiday parties in Savannah.
Hosted each year at the American Legion on Bull Street by two of Savannah's most prolific acts, alt-country rockers The Train Wrecks and Americana string band The Accomplices, the hoedown has sold out the last two years straight.
"We work hard on this thing together, and we're very glad to support each other's music and growth as bands," Accomplices bassist Zach Smith said. "We feel it's a nice partnership and musical pairing, and I think our audience feels and sees that, too. It just gets better every year."
Instead of moving the growing event to a larger venue, the hosts have decided to keep the same locale, making the annual party an exclusive event. Which also means tickets are limited (Hint: Buy early.) Joining the two hosts this year will be a third Savannah act, R&B/funk band Soap.
The Accomplices and The Train Wrecks recently tag-teamed the "Life is a Carnival" tribute show to The Band, which drew more than 900 people to the Lucas Theatre in late November.
Expounding on that camaraderie will be a plethora of goodies at this year's hoedown. In the mix of original tunes from all the bands will be Christmas covers and traditional tunes. Capping it all will be "thunder-jam" featuring all the night's musicians and some rousing sing-alongs.
Along with the music, the hoedown will have food catered by North Beach Grill and The Sentient Bean, a Santa photo booth, a cash bar and new cans from Southbound Brewing Company with special hoedown koozies, as well as a special treat called "It's a Stan Ray Christmas," featuring Accomplices drummer Stan Ray.
If the music, food and goodies is not enough to draw you out on a Friday in December - and really it should be - the Homegrown Holiday Hoedown has had roaring success with a Toys For Tots drive each year.
"I think everyone is getting very much into the spirit of the season, and this is an evening where they know that their contributions will make it to those kids and families in need," Smith said. "We've tried to photograph our truckload of toys each year to share on our website and Facebook event page the day after the hoedown, and I think once people see that giant bundle of gifts, it's certainly a good feeling."
Having just released their junior studio album, "We Roll On," at a stupendous release party at The Jinx, The Train Wrecks will, as always, be a highlight for the night. One of the tightest acts in Savannah, they never fail to deliver a good live show.
The Accomplices put out their sophomore album, "A Truck, A Train, an Old Dump Pile," this past summer. Most recently, they recorded their first live album at Isis Music Hall in Asheville, N.C., which features tracks from the new album, as well as 2011's "Canned Beans."
"Live at Isis Music Hall" was barely edited, with only a few tuning moments and in-between song banter cut out, leaving a 10-track showcase of the band's live show prowess.
They have released the album for free download at www.noisetrade.com. One must only trade their email for the album; a great bargain by any standard, especially for an Accomplices album.
"It was one of our best overall performances to date, and we got a good recording of it," Accomplices fiddle player Colleen Heine said.
For $15 (or $20 at the door), the Homegrown Holiday Hoedown is probably the best seasonal deal you're going to find in the Lowcountry.