Named for Robert Tannahill -- Scotland's second best-known poet, after Robert Burns -- this acoustic band is dedicated to preserving the traditional music of Scotland, quite similar in many ways to traditional Irish music, but with notable differences in matters of subject, instrumentation and fierce Tartan pride.
There's also the band's legendary onstage energy and presentation. According to a review in the Winnipeg Free Press, "The Tannahill Weavers - properly harnessed - could probably power an entire city for a year on the strength of last night's concert alone. The music may be old time Celtic, but the drive and enthusiasm are akin to straight ahead rock ‘n' roll."
Founding member Roy Gullane, who plays guitar and sings, explains that the rest of the band's name comes from the weaving industry that dominated his hometown of Paisley, where the group originated in the 1970s. It's also a shout-out, he explains, to the Weavers, that pioneering American folk group of the ‘40s and ‘50s.
The Tannahill Weavers lineup also includes an assortment of fiddles, tin whistles, bohdran, flutes and second guitars. The vocal harmonies are tight, the songs born of the Celtic highland traditions, and of the pub songs of the lowlands.
One thing that sets the Tannahill Weavers apart from of British Isles traditional bands is the use of full highland bagpipes, which, according to Gullane, are less musically versatile than the tradition Uilleann pipes of Ireland, but which give the Weavers' music that unmistakeable, grass-o-green quality of the highland mountains.
In other words, it's what makes the Tannahill Weavers -- or the Tannies, as they're known in their homeland -- decidely Scottish. Listen & learn: www.tannahillweavers.com
A presentation of the Savannah Folk Music Society. At 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7 at First Presbyterian Church, 520 E. Washington Ave. $8 adults, $5 students and children.
.357 STRING BAND
Music from Wisconsin: With guitar, mandolin, banjo and standup bass in the lineup, this Milwaukee mob looks like one more hippie Americana band. In one way, that's the deal, but the .357s' energy and attitude is like a linear connection to the punk ethos - and it's contagious. They're pretty good pickers, too, whether they're playing speed bluegrass, hopped-up acoustic rockabilly, or boozy acoustic rock ‘n' roll. The band has no drummer, so the kinetic rhythms have to come from somewhere, right? Listen & learn: www.streetgrass.com.
At 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.
Absolutely astonishing acoustic blues from the duo of Mike Mattison and guitarist Paul Olsen. The former has been the lead singer of the Derek Trucks Band since 2002, and Scrapomatic has opened tons o'shows for the Trucks Band (and for singer/songwriter Susan Tedeschi, Mrs. Trucks). This show may or may not feature Tedeschi's regular stringbender Dave Yoke and a few other celestial music bodies from the Atlanta jam-band orbit (it seemd to change from week to week, with Mattison and Olsen the only constants). Listen & learn: www.scrapomatic.com.
At 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $8 advance, $10 day of show.
FRICTION FARM/LAUREN LAPOINTE
This week's most notable acoustic show (after the extra-special Eudora Welty tribute, of course) pairs the Florida duo Friction Farm (always popular in Savannah) with our city's own Canadian folkie Lauren Lapointe. FF consists of Aidan Quinn (no, not the famous actor) on fleet-fingered guitar and vocals, and the lovely Christine Stay on soaring vocals and occasional bass guitar. Lapointe is a singer/songwriter with a delicate touch, both vocally and instrumentally, and the ability to hush a crowded room with her gossamer singing voice. She knows how to tell a funny story, too. Listen & learn: www.frictionfarm.com, www.laurenl.com.
At 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5 at the Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.