IN LATE-BREAKING NEWS, alt.country and Americana duo Jeff & Vida have chosen to end their current tour in one of their favorite cities: Savannah.
“Savannah’s always been good to us,” explained vocalist Jeff Burke (he also doubles on guitar, mandolin and banjo) — and it’s true. The internationally-praised dynamic duo of Burke and singing guitarist Vida Wakeman instantly jump-started a loyal and devoted following here a few years back, and although they only make it through town once or twice a year, those gigs are always cause for celebration among fans of roots-country, retro-folk and Appalachian-style bluegrass tunes.
Known for a repertoire that vacillates between bittersweet laments and rip-roaring barnburners, this heartbreakingly sincere group honed their songwriting chops in the Big Easy before relocating to Nashvegas and finally starting to get noticed by major press outlets like the New York Times.
- Jeff & Vida
Their infectious energy, spit-shined originals (which rest comfortably alongside time-honored traditionals and standards) and unpretentious attitude towards music-making and life on the road is about as perfect a combination as you’re likely to find. Their profile is steadily increasing, which is long overdue. Anyone who appreciates sawdust and chrome vocal harmonies, wicked-fast mandolin rave-ups and evocative, ‘50s-era rock and roll lyricism should make a point to attend this free local show at one of downtown’s hippest new restaurants: Blowin’ Smoke BBQ.
Located at 514 W. MLK, Jr. Blvd., this funky, upscale-yet-affordable bar and eatery is currently anchoring a stretch of this important entrance corridor to Savannah that is slowly enjoying revitalization after decades of stasis and depreciation. Central to this business’ M.O. is their relaxing courtyard, where rock, folk, blues, jazz and bluegrass musicians perform on weekend nights during good weather. Most of those acts are locally based, such as The Roger Moss Quintet, Greg Williams’ Band, The Magic Rocks and The Jimmy Wolling Band. However, from time to time, they host standout touring groups such as Jeff & Vida.
Notably, ever since city officials altered the local alcohol ordinance to expressly prohibit anyone under 21 from attending live music events held at businesses for which serving alcohol is a primary focus, Blowin’ Smoke is one of the only full-service restaurants (which also serves adult beverages) that regularly books live musical entertainment and does not charge a cover. That means that an entire family can hang out and enjoy the show, or that underage college kids or high schoolers can grab dinner and check out a great band — an option that’s increasingly hard to find in Savannah due to these restrictive regulations.
If you’ve never heard or seen them before, you can learn more about Jeff & Vida at their official website here. Better yet, just head on out to the gig and enjoy that wonderful feeling that comes from stumbling upon a terrific, feel-good band. Just bring a jacket and a hearty appetite.
Sat., 6 pm - 10 pm, Blowin’ Smoke BBQ - FREE TO ALL-AGES.