As we prepare for family feasts and holiday fun, the seventh annual Yuletide Jam at Tubby's in Thunderbolt provides an opportunity to enjoy eight back-to-back performances from regional and local bands, while also supporting America's Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia.
The holiday season is busy for Second Harvest, a food bank that provides meals for those in need. Last year, they offered 8.1 million meals to our community with the help of events like the Yuletide Jam.
The concert features live music from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 12, plus a 50/50 raffle at 9:45 p.m. The lineup features eight local bands and traveling acts.
This year, Willie and the Giant are visiting from Nashville to bring a shot of vintage rock 'n' roll. It will be the first visit to the Hostess City for lead singer and guitarist Will Stewart.
"I hear nothing but great things about Savannah," Stewart says. "I'm especially interested in the architecture and food - it seems like Savannah is one of the last holdouts of an old Southern culture that doesn't really exist anymore, and that has always been intriguing to me."
The band is hot off a new deal with Cumberland Brothers Music, a record label that has taken about two years to come to fruition.
"I met Nick Worley of Cumberland Brothers Music shortly after I moved to Nashville in 2012," Stewart says. "We had a lot of similar tastes in music, and I later approached him about recording some demos in early 2013. Some time passed, we worked on other projects and later that year, I got a call from Nick saying that he was starting Cumberland Brothers and wanted us to be on the label.
"Needless to say, we were all very excited and grateful for the opportunity."
Stewart is joined by Jon "The Giant" Poor on vocals/guitar, Mac Kramer on drums and Grant Prettyman on bass. So far, they are thriving on the competitiveness of Nashville's music scene by "focusing solely on the music; everything else is secondary," Stewart says.
"I'm not really concerned with fitting into one of the many scenes here in Nashville. Ideally, we want to carve our own path and have our own unique sound and not latch onto a trend or movement, even if that means making the path more difficult," he says.
That path led them to going all-analog for the debut song and upcoming self-titled album.
"Tape gives a certain warmth and saturation that can't be duplicated with digital recording," Stewart says. "If given the option, we'll always choose tape over digital. We're not totally against digital, but tape is definitely our preference."
They also convinced the award-winning Chad Fisher Group - which has backed the likes of The Temptations and Gregg Allman - to play horns on some of their tracks.
"Being from Birmingham myself, Chad was the obvious choice for horns on our recent single. He's played with so many amazing artists over the years, and is an institution in Birmingham. We have nothing but respect and admiration for Chad and the fellas," Stewart says.
Their album will be released in early 2015, along with their first proper music video. And perhaps, another show in Savannah, Stewart hopes.
"I've always heard that St. Patrick's Day in Savannah is something everyone should experience at least once in their life - I'm hoping one day the band can come back and play a rowdy St. Patrick's Day party," he says.