March is a huge month for live music in Savannah with multiple festivals taking place over the coming weeks. Coming right out of the gate on March 1 is the 7th Annual Savannah Blues Fest at the Johnny Mercer Theater.
North American Entertainment Group has once again assembled a terrific group of blues, soul, and R&B entertainers to keep audiences on their feet including Sir Charles Jones, Calvin Richardson, Pokey Bear, T.K. Soul, and Theodis Ealey.
Independent R&B artist, Sir Charles Jones is the self-proclaimed “Undisputed King of Southern Soul.” It’s a bold title, but one that he backs up with a smooth blend of modern R&B and traditional soul and blues.
Sir Charles was born in Ohio, but raised in the South and now calls Georgia his home. Although he releases all of his music independently, two of his albums, “Love Machine” (2002) and “My Story” (2008) found spots on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Also on the bill is North Carolina neo-soul artist Calvin Richardson. Richardson was raised in a musical environment, with his mother leading a gospel group called the Willing Wonders. Although he was steeped in gospel, Richardson cites Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cooke as his main influences.
Richardson was inspired to become a recording artist when his close friends K-Ci & Jojo achieved success in the 90’s as the vocal group Jodeci. Richardson began his career in the group Undacova, but went solo in 1999 with the release of his debut “Country Boy” (Uptown/Universal). He has since released six more full-length albums, including 2017’s classic soul album “All or Nothing.”
Pokey Bear is a certified party-starter from Baton Rouge. Pokey is a member of The Louisiana Blue Brothas and has a larger-than-life persona inspired by James Brown. His solo releases include dance-floor hits like “The Gingerbread Man,” Mr. Hit It and Quit It,”“Good Foot,” his theme song “They Call Me Pokey,” and “Shake That Money Maker” featuring Mystikal.
Calling himself “The bad boy of Southern soul,” T.K. Soul has released nine albums since 2002. T.K. Soul kicked around the fringes of the music industry until he had an opportunity to play keyboard in soul-blues singer Willie Clayton’s band.
Clayton even began to record some of T.K.’s songs including “Wiggle in the Middle” and “Party Like We Used To.” After five years with Clayton, T.K. went out on his own and released his debut, “One Woman Man,” in 2002. Since then, he has had several regional hits like “Cheating and Lying” and “You Ring My Bell,” and even rose to number 85 on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts with his album “Undisputed.” His most recent full-length was 2016’s “The Legacy.”
Blues singer and guitarist Theodis Ealey is called “The Bluesman Lover” for good reason. His 2004 No. 1 hit single “Stand Up In It,” a playfully raunchy song that offered bedroom advice to wannabe lovers, spent 21 weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts.
Ealey spent much of his career as a respected sideman for Little Milton, Charles Brown, Johnny Clyde Copeland, and Richard “Dimples” Fields before he stepped to the front as a solo artist. He won the Male Vocalist Top Star Award in San Francisco and later the Mo’ Better Blues Male Artist of the Year in Atlanta. He has released 11 full-lengths since 1992, with his most recent being 2013’s “You and I, Together,” a collection that blends vintage soul with classic country.