Tybee Post Theatre’s Quarantine Concert series continues this Sunday with the high and lonesome sounds of Kris Youmans and Slim.
Kris Youmans and her "mighty band" have been playing together for six years, earning Best Traditional Country honors at the Georgia Country Awards in 2016. They also increased their profile when they performed a set for GPB to promote Ken Burn’s "Country Music" documentary, and recently were named best band in Coweta County where Youmans currently resides.
Although Youmans won’t be performing at the Quarantine Concert with her full band, she will be joined by her secret weapon, Warren "Barefoot Slim" Hall on pedal steel, with whom she has been playing with for 14 years.
"He’s just a great pedal steel player, and lap steel," said Youmans. "I always tell him, ‘If we didn’t play together in this band, I’d have to find another pedal steel player,’ cause I’ve got to have one. It just adds so much to no matter what genre of music."
Besides Slim, Youmans will also be joined by a special guest. Youmans comes from a musical family and is the sister of Savannah’s premiere blues guitarist, Eric Culberson, who will be lending his guitar chops to the Quarantine Concert.
Youmans began playing guitar at the age of ten and inspired Culberson to pick it up, too. Youmans recounts when they were children and Culberson would use a phonograph needle and speaker to amplify his father’s acoustic guitar to make it sound electric.
"I laugh every time he says this, but he credits me for ‘teaching him everything he knows,’ and I’m like, ‘You are so not right’," said Youmans.
Youmans early influences include Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, John Prine, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, but she and her band play a combination of folk and country with heavy amounts of Western Swing and Americana thrown in. Besides playing Youmans’ many original songs, the band also cover country greats like Hank Williams, Junior Brown, and Wayne Hancock.
Youmans lives in Newnan, Georgia, where she writes music articles for the local paper and runs a popular singer-songwriter series called Newnan Unplugged, which can be followed on Facebook. However, she grew up in Savannah and much of her songwriting is inspired by her life here. Her debut album, 2017’s "Whitefield Avenue," is named after the street she grew up on and references local spots like Tybee Island and Richmond Hill (where she spoke to me from).
During the pandemic, Youmans has continued to write new music and has been able to perform several streaming concerts with her bandmates, who she considers family.
"We’re enjoying what we do. We love country, we love Americana," said Youmans. "I’ve had a lot inspiration, unfortunately, lately, with everything that’s going on, so there’s a lot of songwriting we’ve been doing. Everybody sings in our band except for the pedal steel player. I’ll miss them when I’m doing this thing, but every once in a while I do a songwriter show or something. It’s the way I started out in Savannah. I used to play little happy hours and things, I’d haul a little PA system around and did all that by myself way back when. I always got a lot of help form local musicians. Sometimes I just need to get back to doing that."
"Playing music is a joyful thing," Youmans added. "Through all the quarantine I really feel like music has helped to keep everybody together. It’s helped people relax, it’s helped people find some joy during the day. All these live concerts and live streams, it’s just amazing how many people are contributing to communities. You’ve got something to listen to that lifts you up. I’m proud to be a part of that."