Tybee Island musician Thomas Oliver says the Savannah Songwriters Series is one of those unique opportunities songwriters crave.

While the music always proves to entertain, it's also a "one-of-a-kind place for the songwriters - it's nothing but original music in a listening environment."

"Local musicians appreciate the opportunity to play for an audience that wants and expects to hear their original songs," Oliver adds.

The next installment of the series will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Johnny Harris Restaurant. The all-ages event offers free admission in a non-smoking environment. Donations are accepted to help pay for the production of these events.

Oliver explains the series is a writers-in-the-round event.

"It's four songwriters perched on stools in front of the audience. It's a really cool environment."

Oliver will join singers/songwriters Rick Williamson, Dean Johanesen and Savannah's Kyrsten Paige Roseman.

"The Johnny Harris dining room used to be a ballroom, so the acoustics are incredible. There is a sign at the hostess stand that states this is a listening room.

"It's really important for the event because it advises people to understand they are there to hear the songwriters and that it's a listening room environment even though people are eating and ordering food."

Oliver says the series lasts about an hour and a half and each performer takes turns performing four songs and telling stories behind their music.

"People like hearing the story behind the songs - as longs as the story doesn't last longer than the song," he laughs.

"Rick Williamson is making his SSS debut and I'm really excited to hear his stories and his songs.

"... He has had a great career as a Nashville songwriter ... and he had cuts for some major stars with a great variety of singers from Engelbert Humperdinck to The Kentucky Headhunters."

Johanesen, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based musician, is returning to the SSS for his second performance.

"Dean is quite good. He's very talented and everybody loved him when he played here last year. He does such a different style of gypsy jazz and his stories are surreal."

Roseman usually shares the stage with her sister Kourtney in the indie soul duo, The Rosies.

The sisters have made a mark on Savannah and opened for Loretta Lynn at the Johnny Mercer Theatre last year.

"Kyrsten has one of the more unique voices in Savannah," Oliver says. "She'll knock your socks off with what she can do."

While Oliver says the performances are great, the event is really more about the song and the songwriter.

"We feel this series is something Savannah needs ... We have a lot of great bands and live music, and we need something to support songwriters. In my opinion, it all begins with the song and we need Savannah songwriters."