This Nashville-based singer/songwriter has made five CDs, two of them collections of exquisitely arranged Christmas music. Bishop is a vocalist and acoustic guitarist of considerable strength and passion, and her songwriting is deep, and thoughtful - and hopeful, which makes her something of an uncommon delight in this era of mopey and fatalistic musical wordsmithery.
Her Steal Away Home album consists of folk arrangements of negro spirituals, gospel tunes and hymns, plus spoken word.
She's a visual artist, too - a true Renaissance woman - she held her first solo art show, "Roots, Rhythm & Gospel," in Nashville in 1998, exhibiting more than 40 of her folk-art Jazz/Blues/Gospel portraits of the musicians and singers whose music has "influenced, uplifted and inspired" her through the years - including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Rev. Gary Davis, Mahalia Jackson and others.
This is Bishop's second local appearance in 2009 - she performed for the Savannah Folk Music Society's First Friday series earlier in the year. This time, she'll have a stellar opening act in the form of the Sacred Heart Church Folk Choir, a 15-member ensemble with vocals, guitar, bass and percussion. Bishop will be selling her original artwork (and CDs, of course) at the show.
Listen & learn: www.jonibishop.com. At 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1707 Bull St. Admission is by donation.
One of Georgia's most unique bands makes a welcome return to our area. Little Tybee's songs are lushly assembled and range from dramatic dreamscapes to propulsive, percussive semi-rockers. It's not really a rock band, though, and it's most definitely not a jam band. With Brock Scott's otherwordly falsetto vocals (and his piano work), Josh Martin's guitars and the tasty melodic and harmonic presence of Ryan Gregory's violin, Little Tybee is like a pleasant chemical drive down a rabbit hole into the unknown, a place where Jerry Garcia meets Sufjan Stephens for tea and biscuits. The bill also includes Adron and the classically-inspired electronica/pop outfit Tealights. Listen & learn: http://www.myspace.com/littletybee. At 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 at the Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave. $5.
From Charlotte comes a jazz quartet featuring vibraphone, keys, bass and drums. Not a guitar in sight. And vibesman Eric C. Mullis is a professor of philosophy at Queens University of Charlotte, which means that a lot of thought - contrary, perhaps, to the nature of jazz - goes into the music of Actual Proof (his specialties are "Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art"). Theirs is a mix of funky fusion and Latin-edged funk, with tape loops, percussive samples and synthesizer swells from Silas Aldridge. Listen & learn: www.actualproofband.com. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12 at Jazz'd Tapas Bar, 52 Barnard St.
At 5 foot 3 inches, singer and guitarist Belinda Jane may be small in stature, but she's big on Jesus - she runs Belinda Jane Ministries, with an adoption outreach program, a direct connection to Loaves and Fishes (which feeds the area's needy) and a decidedly musical message, through her songs. Her Nashville-recorded CD, The Heart of God, includes eight original numbers and a pair of re-arranged hymns. Friday's concert is an all-acoustic event with themes of Christianity and Christmas. Listen & learn: www.bvelindajaneministries.com. At 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 at Savannah Joe's Coffeehouse, 920-G Morgan's Corner Road, Pooler. Admission is free with a donation of canned goods for Loaves and Fishes.