With all of the upheavals of the pandemic, it is comforting to have a reliable and consistent source of good, old fashioned live music entertainment. Service Brewing continues to deliver with its weekly series, "Bluegrass by the Pint," every Friday night.
Since July, local bluegrass supergroup, Swamptooth, has been entertaining revelers with electrifying string band interplay. The name Swamptooth comes from a southern slang term for having trouble speaking because of a rotten, puss-filled tooth, but the band doesn’t seem to have any trouble communicating its rich three-part harmonies and vibrant melodies.
Swamptooth was initially the side project of Evan Rose (mandolin/vocals) and Jimmy Wolling (banjo) of Evan Rose Band, and Cory Chambers (guitar/vocals) and Jay Rudd (bass/vocals) of City Hotel.
"It’s more of a full-time project now," explained Rose. "We just joined forces. We kind of had Swamptooth on the back burner for a while and now we’ve moved it to the front.
"Since half of my band and half of their band had to quit because of the pandemic, we’re just focusing on our own band now. It’s going really well — the harmonies are great...It’s just been a good thing to keep going, rather than not playing at all."
Swamptooth took over the "Bluegrass by the Pint" gig from City Hotel, who had been doing it since 2018.
"It’s been an ongoing thing for two years, now, but everyone seems to love the music and the owner is happy," said Rose of the popular series.
Besides some traditional bluegrass songs, Swamptooth largely write their own numbers and hope to get into the studio soon to record an album or EP.
"We’ve all contributed a fair amount of songs," said Rose. "It grows every day. We’re a pretty good team, so we’re trying to make the best of it. Seems like everybody is bringing a new song every week."
Rose has been deep into bluegrass for almost his entire life and continues a family tradition. "My mother and father had a bluegrass group called the Lonesome Whistle Band," explained Rose.
"They started playing when I was very, very young. When I was 8 years old, they’d bring me along to sing a song or two on their sets. By the time I was twelve, I was already playing mandolin with them full-time. They took me on the road full-time with them. I had to quit school, be home-schooled and everything. I was carouseled around the country playing different bluegrass festivals and I basically grew up at them—half the year I was at bluegrass festivals, half the year I was home in Effingham County. It’s been my life and my family’s for a long time.
"I have all kinds of different acts I’ve been with, but I always come back to bluegrass."
There is always something good on tap at Service Brewing, so come enjoy a pint this Friday with one of Savannah’s favorite string bands.