One of Georgia's most revered contemporary musicians plays a solo Happy Hour show - you heard that right - and he'll be doing a "Meet & Greet" afterwards. There's a method to this seeming madness, however - the full Randall Bramblett Band will be back at Loco's May 28, full of raging rock ‘n' roll glory. This up-close-and-personal deal is a preamble of sorts, a "shake n' howdy."
Bramblett, a husky-voiced R&B singer who plays keyboards, saxophone and a whole bunch of other instruments extremely well, was a charter member of the jazz/rock/fusion outfit Sea Level, alongside piano master Chuck Leavell (who's been leading the Rolling Stones' touring band for almost 30 years now). Bramblett and Leavell both still live in Georgia - they're natives, don't you know - and they frequently do shows together.
He was also the utility man onstage when Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi toured, as Traffic, in the 1990s. And the Randall Bramblett Band opened that Bonnie Raitt show last October in the Johnny Mercer Theatre.
We'll have loads of questions for Mr. B in a future issue, just before the band comes to town - in the meantime you can check out this Happy Hour Special, and ask him yourself. Listen & learn: www.randallbramblett.com.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 30 at Loco's Grill & Pub, 301 W. Broughton St. Free.
THE OAK RIDGE BOYS
Nothing we can say here will make new converts for the Oaks - either you enjoy their exuberant, homespun four-part vocalizing or you don't. Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden, Richard Sterban and Duane Allen aren't the hippest guys in the world - this is really old-school (i.e. ‘70s and ‘80s) country music - but they've been singing together for a very long time and they've got what they do down to a science. Unlike many country hitmakers of their day, the Oaks can still deliver. "Elvira"? Check. "Bobbie Sue"? Gotcha. "Y'all Come Back Saloon"? In the bag. If you know what you're after, you won't be disappointed. Listen & learn: www.oakridgeboys.com.
3 FOOT SWAGGER
Funk, folk, psychedelia and even bluegrass mix it up all warm ‘n' cozy in the sweet embrace of the Swagger. It's a jam band - music without borders - and up in Athens, jazz and Eastern-influenced guitar player "Danger" Dave Cardello is something of a local hero. Mandolinist Jake Cohen (a sometime member) adds the rural vibe, with Jeff Reusche's open-tuning acoustic guitar (he's the lead singer) leaving things wide open for experiments in spacy improv. Oh, the drummer, bassist and keyboard guys are killer as well. Listen & learn: www.myspace.com/3footswagger.
At 10 p.m. Friday, April 30 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $7.
After a half-dozen years of playing ‘80s covers on the Wild Wing circuit, this Athens-based quartet has just released an all-original CD, American Band. Still, for lead singer Brent McFly (that's his name, folks, Back to the Future be damned) and company, the bread, butter and melba toast is tearing, gig after gig, through those high-energy favorites by Journey, AC/DC, Foreigner, Van Halen and Def Leppard. Mighty McFly is proud to call itself a party band, and when tow-headed Brent first appears, in his trademark pink jacket, you'll be hankerin' for a hot tub time machine all your own. Listen & learn: www.mightymcflyrocks.com.
At 9 p.m. Friday, April 30 at Wild Wing Café, 27 Barnard St.