Cranford Hollow is the epitome of the working band, with a driving force that brings the Lowcountry life to a boil in a blaze of scratchy vocals and fiddle-drenched melodies.
With more than 750 shows and two albums under their belt, they have toured the Southeast, Midwest and West for the last three years with their bartender's blend of Southern rock and Americana.
The quartet (originally named Cranford and Sons) calls Hilton Head home base, but consider Savannah a second home. After a trek to Colorado, the group will be burning back into the Lowcountry on Dec. 27 for a 10 p.m. solo show at Wild Wing Cafe.
Frontman John Cranford worked and played in Savannah for years before moving up the highway and forming Cranford Hollow with fiddle player Eric "Thunder" Reid.
"We work pretty hard, but we play hard too," Cranford said from his tour bus in Colorado. "Bottom line is, I get to play music with my buddies every night, which is great."
Alongside Cranford and Reid, Julius DeAngelis and Phillip Sirmans make up the rhythm section on drums and bass, respectively. Their sophomore offering, the self-titled "Cranford Hollow," was released in October.
"We're really happy with it," Cranford said. "It took nine months to do it. The last album we made down in Florida. We got to make this album on Hilton Head, and it was really nice to do something at home.
"We got a bunch of our buddies, fellow musicians from the area, to come play on it," he said. "We're really happy with it, primarily because of the sound quality. There's a lot more information, sonically."
Separating themselves from the crowd, Cranford Hollow changed their name and developed their own style of Southern music. They even gave it a name: Lowcountry stomp.
"It's our problem-solver," Cranford said. "People are always asking us, 'What the hell do you call your music?'
"To us, Lowcountry stomp was this blend of Southern rock and what Eric does on the fiddle - it is that driving pulse with the rhythm section," he said. "Seventy-five percent of our material you can put your foot on the floor and it keeps thumping along."
Cranford, a native of Northwestern Wisconsin, has always found appeal in the sound of the South. He was raised on staples of Southern rock, like The Band and The Allman Brothers. That sound seeped into his playing and became a part of his identity early on.
"To me, there was always a draw to that sound," Cranford said. "There was something about the sound of the South that resonated pretty hard, that hit home with me. When I started playing guitar, it was immediately reflective of the Delta blues guys, Robert Johnson and Lightnin' Hopkins.
"Its simplicity is a beautiful thing."