KEN WILL MORTON
Talk about your left brain/right brain. Friday’s Sentient Bean show will put the spotlight squarely on Athens singer/songwriter Ken Will Morton’s acoustic side. He’s also a fierce electric guitarist, with a crackerjack band (the Wholly Ghosts), but this time, it’s just Ken Will and his ol’ acoustic.
In 2008, Morton put out his third and fourth albums simultaneously; while the buzzing Devil in Me gave sway to his ass-kicking alt/country (with bass and drums aplenty), Kickin’ Out the Rungs is a touch more mellow, with an emphasis on lyrical observation, speculation and tough-willed determination. He’s backed by the occasional bass, drums, harmonica and even a lightly-plucked banjo.
Not that the guy’s Dan Fogelberg sensitive or anything like that. With his husky, world-weary voice and sharp – sometimes brittle – lyrics, Morton’s a little Steve Forbert, a little Steve Earle, a little Ryan Adams and yes, even a bit of early Dylan. Listen & learn: www.myspace.kenwillmorton At 8 p.m. Friday, July 24 at the Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.
UNION OF SACRED MONSTERS
From Dope Sandwich, Savannah’s tripped-out hip hop aggregate comes a new project (USM for short) in the tradition of Wu Tang Clan, Jurassic 5 and Brown Bag Project. Saturday’s show at the Tantra Lounge is in honor of the USM’s self-titled debut EP, distributed nationally by Orama Records. Legendary freestylist Craig G of the Juice Crew hosts the event, and Atlanta’s Dungeon Family appears, along with MC Blak (who also has a new one out, Street Knowledge), Jawz of Life and others. Ms. Sam Ruffin will pay tribute to Michael Jackson. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/usm. At 9 p.m. Saturday, July 25 at the Tantra Lounge, 8 E. Broughton St. $5.
Touring behind his self-titled Vanguard Records debut, Hilton Head native Trevor Hall – who’s in his early 20s and lives in a Buddhist temple in Southern California – writes thought-provoking, spiritual lyrics and gives them an acoustic rock/reggae feel, peppered with R&B grooves and a dash of electronica. “Unity,” the album’s standout high energy track, was co-composed with Hall’s good friend Matisyahu as a reaction to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (“Matis” sings the track as a duet). Fans of Michael Franti will love this guy. Listen & learn: www.trevorhallmusic.com. At 8 p.m. Friday, July 24 at the Shoreline Ballroom, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head Island. Tickets $10 advance, $12 day of show at www.shorelineballroom.com.
Don’t look for any emo sensitivity with this hard-rocking quintet from El Lay, fronted by former 18 Visions vocalist James Hart. Burn Halo, with songs called “Dirty Little Girl,” “So Addicted” and “Gasoline,” is a take-no-prisoners rock ‘n’ roll band – it ain’t metal, it ain’t grunge, it’s just good old-fashioned balls-to-the-wall ‘80s guitar rock, the stuff your older brother swears (over and over again) that nobody plays the way they used to. The band recently opened for Korn. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/burnhalo At 9 p.m. Monday, July 27 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $5.