SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS
At 9 p.m. Friday, May 11
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St.
$8 advance, $10 day of show
One minute into watching a video of this mighty R&B juggernaut tearing into the Rufus & Chaka Khan chestnut "Tell Me Something Good," I was completely hooked. A four-man horn section onstage in a line, next to four more players including an octopus-armed drummer and a fiery Telecaster guitarist? Oh, yes.
A lead singer and frontwoman who's got a ferociously funky voice, and a powerful stage presence, and is sexy and cool too?
Where do I sign?
Arleigh Kincheloe is Sister Sparrow, and her brother Jackson is the blues-honk harmonica player in the Dirty Birds (cousin Bram Kincheloe is the guy on drums). The band sold out New York's legendary Rockwood Music Hall every Saturday night for six straight months in 2009, and has shared bills with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, which ought to tell you something, and the Black Keys, Dr. John, the Nevilles and others of the soul/funk mileau.
How do I say this? The musicianship is astonishing. It's like the Blues Brothers band with a real vocalist out front.
It's infectious, funky fun, and this show will unquestionably be the hottest thing on Planet Savannah this weekend.
BAND OF OPPORTUNITY
At 7 p.m. Saturday, May 12
North Beach Grill, 33 Van Horne
And at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 13
Tybee Island Social Club, 1311 Butler Ave.
It was the music writer for the Augusta newspaper, as I recall, that described North Carolina's rootsy rockers The New Familiars as "The Band's beautiful bearded children." What lofty praise for a young group that delivered acoustiAmericana, folk and mountain music with youthful vigor and electric rock ‘n' roll abandon. The New Fams play Savannah often, and they're always welcome guests.
During a band break, the group's Justin Fedor (vocals, mandolin and guitar) is back on the road with the Tennessee Two-Piece, Ian Thomas and Paul Lee, as Band of Opportunity. They've got two shows on Tybee Island this weekend.
I spoke with Thomas, who's one of the top-flight folk and old-time players in the Knoxville area, and asked him how it came to be. "I've known Justin for years, since before the New Familiars were even a group," he told me. "We've always played music together, throughout the years.
"He came out and was hanging out with us in Knoxville, and we thought it might be nice to fill in some of the gaps between our band-oriented touring schedules, and play some together. That was it - pure fun is the root of this."
While Thomas is a singer, guitarist, harmonica and kazoo player (he began his career as a street performer in New York City), his Two-Piece partner Lee harmnonizes as he plays a small suitcase drum kit. Pretty neat.
In Band of Opportunity, Thomas explains, "the core of it is going to be what Paul and I do as a duo, with Fedor singing and playing the mandolin. And a friend of mine from Vermont, Seth Eames, is coming down to play some bass and some lead guitar on some tunes."
CHECK IT OUT
Blueground Undergrass co-founder Jeff Mosier, one of Georgia's pioneering genre-benders, sneaks back into town with a Thursday-night show at Liver Wire Music Hall. The bluegrass jam band also includes Jeff's brother Johnny on guitar, and bassist Kris Dale ... Yadda Yadda, 348 MLK, used to be the Guitar Bar. There's some sweet local tuneage there Thursday night, as local rapper/poet Basik Lee performs songs from his brand new acoustic singer/songwriter CD Found My Place, and Britt Scott and Crystina Parker (of the group Lovely Locks) trade solo acoustic sets ...