Band of Horses' surprise show last October at the Wormhole was great, but it didn't offer much of a clue as to what was coming down the pipeline: An album whose title says it all, Acoustic at the Ryman.
Recorded last year at Nashville's venerable Ryman Auditorium (which has, they say, the best acoustics in the South), the album features Ben Bridwell and company pickin' and a-strummin' without all those pesky amplifiers, the spectral beauty of the melodies (and of those gorgeous, ethereal harmonies) shining through.
The band returns to Savannah March 3 with an all-acoustic show at the Trustees Theatre.
"We've been working on the stripped down dynamic for a few years now," Bridwell told rockol.com a few weeks ago, as the tour began. "It stems from promotional performances like radio, multi-media blogs, etc.. As we've grown more comfortable in that setting and because our music can still be effective in a simplified way, it's been a fun challenge for us to perform like this and give the fans a different take on the songs."
As for last fall's solo side project, Birdsmell, Bridwell told the interviewer: "That is my little therapeutic diversion. The itch has been scratched and now I return my focus to my beloved day job."
Band of Horses guitarist Tyler Ramsay, who grew up within a stone's throw of Nashville, told riffyou.com that he was extremely nervous before the band took the stage at the legendary Ryman.
"I probably walked around and paced 20 miles before the show started," he said. "I should've put a pedometer on to figure out how much I traveled back and forth from the room to the backstage."
The acoustic tour will bring Band of Horses back to the Ryman Auditorium on March 5.
And now, this
• Nickel Creek, which disbanded in 2007 so mandolin whiz kid Chris Thile could launch The Career of a Thousand Projects, has officially reformed for a new album (A Dotted Line) and a cross-country tour. The latter will bring the alt-bluegrass trio to the Johnny Mercer Theatre April 22 (tickets are on sale at etix.com). Thile, of course, has been a staple of the Savannah Music Festival in the intervening years. Before the Nickel Creek appearance, he'll be in town for SMF shows March 22, one with fellow mandolin master Mike Marshall, the other with his acoustic/fantastic band The Punch Brothers.
• The van carrying members of the Casket Girls, The Stargazer Lilies and Dreamend, and all their stage gear, was totaled in New York City Feb. 18. Not to worry —Ryan Graveface and everyone else in the Graveface Roadshow came out unscathed, and the show goes on ... go to any Graveface artist's Bandcamp page, and whatever you plunk down will be applied top rental van and repair costs. Ryan and the gang will wrap up their tour March 22 at Dollhouse (the much-anticipated Graveface Fest II). I had a brief e-mail exchange with Ryan, and asked if he wanted to say anything to the folks at home here in Savannah. "Just that I really appreciate the continued support in all my endeavors," he replied. "Means a lot to me. Can't wait to get home!"
• The Odd Lot improv comedy group, which has become the hottest Monday-night ticket in town (at Muse Arts Warehouse; always check the schedule for the odd night off) is starting a bi-monthly improv night at City Coffee, 125 MLK, this Friday, Feb. 28. Start time is 8 p.m.
• Savannah bands getting ready to drop debut CDs include Kota Mundi (provisionally titled Kota Part 1) and Lyn Avenue (release party April 5 at Dub's Pub).
• The March 29 Whaleboat show at Dollhouse we told you about will also feature Omingnome, CO. and Tonto.