Not that Savannahians need an excuse to get boozy or dance, but December will provide several opportunities to get you into the holiday spirit while enjoying consumable spirits and wonderful live music.
One of the city's most popular holiday parties, the Homegrown Holiday Hoedown, returns for its seventh installment at 7 p.m. Dec. 16. The annual get-down, held in the ballroom at the American Legion on Bull Street, sells our early every year. (As of this writing, tickets were still available.)
Originally envisioned as a joint charitable venture between alt-country staples The Train Wrecks and Americana rockers The Accomplices, this year will feature a slightly different lineup. The Accomplices began a hiatus in February after fiddle player Colleen Heine and bassist Zach Smith moved to Colorado. Frontman Matt Eckstine and drummer Stan Ray remained in Savannah and will help head up this year's hoedown as solo artists, along with The Train Wrecks.
"We knew The Accomplices were not going to be here," said Train Wrecks drummer and event organizer Jeremy Hammons. "It naturally progressed to who we were going to do this with. Matt just did his new album and it's awesome. Stan is always an entertainer. We said, let's keep it in the family."
Read all about the Savannah Philharmonic's Holiday Pops concerts here.
Ray will be this year's master of ceremonies and share his original Christmas music, backed by other musicians on the bill. Eckstine, with a full band, will share from his latest album and has some great covers in store. The Train Wrecks will deliver their newly ramped-up alt-country sound with some Christmas tunes and surprises. Expect a "Thunder Jam" with all the night's entertainment to close the evening.
"Stan is one of the only guys I know who writes original Christmas music," Hammons said. "And they're really great! He's got one called 'Margaritas and Mistletoes' about hanging around the fire with you and your lady, having margaritas on Christmas Eve."
Food will be served from Kayak KafÃ©, with beverages from Southbound Brewing Co. and the always-cheap cash bar at the Legion. For the charitable aspect, the group has once again teamed up with Loop It Up Savannah, a locally based nonprofit that focuses on bringing creative art experiences to children and families. Donations can include art supplies, canned goods, grocery store gift cards and new children's shoes, socks and toys.
"It allows people to do things a little differently," Hammons said. "So it's not just toys. It lets you take care of kids who need a little more, like school supplies and art supplies. It's all local based, so distributed locally in Savannah. It was very successful last year."
You can get your holiday kicks in early this year.
Savannah's premiere bluegrass band, City Hotel, will host a Christmas party at 6 p.m. Dec. 8 at Savannah Canoe and Kayak on Bonaventure Road. Some beer and snacks will be on hand, but no one is stopping you from bringing a covered dish or more spirits.
Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah will host the third annual Uncommon Collective concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 9, featuring several of the city's highly talented musicians.
Harpist Kristin King has designed a program called "Inspiring Measures" that features music from a variety of genres with holiday selections and unexpected arrangements of traditional tunes. Blending mandolin, upright bass, guitar, concert harp and vocals, this concert is a unique and intimate approach to holiday music. A wine reception will follow the show.
If you haven't experienced Savannah's Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, the Holiday Equinox at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at The Westin might be the perfect opportunity.
In addition to a stellar repertoire of music from the fantastic big band, this event includes a three-course dinner from Aqua Star Seafood Kitchen, with all proceeds going to the Empty Stocking Fund, a yearly charity drive helmed by the Savannah Morning News.
Broadway entertainer Jim Wann and Savannah songstress Kim Polote are teaming up for the inaugural Tybee Christmas Cabaret at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Tybee Post Theater, featuring a bunch of different arrangements of holiday music. Joining them will be Fully Invested, a Savannah barbershop quartet, and the youth chorus from the Tybee Island Maritime Academy.
The variety show will feature Wann sharing several traditional Christmas songs in various formats, including English folk and calypso, as well as a Springsteen arrangement of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and much more. He and Polote will join together for "O Holy Night" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside," backed by an all-star band.
Joshua Peacock is a writer and musician based in Savannah. He studied music theory, jazz and playwriting at the University of Iowa. Empire of Sound has won two Georgia Press Awards in the past two years. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
What: City Hotel Christmas
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 8
Where: Savannah Canoe and Kayak, 414 Bonaventure Road
What: Uncommon Collective: Inspiring Measures
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah, 311 Harris St.
Cost: $20, ages 13 and older
What: Holiday Equinox
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 10
Where: The Westin Savannah Harbor, 1 Resort Drive
Cost: $60, includes dinner
What: Homegrown Holiday Hoedown
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 16
Where: American Legion Post 135, 1108 Bull St.
Cost: $25; 21 and older
What: Tybee Christmas Cabaret
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16
Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Drive
Cost: $20 adults; $10 children 12 and younger