The Ticker Charlton Singleton and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra (photo by Priscilla Thomas, courtesy of the JAC)

Published on January 8th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


Ticker: News Bits from Charleston’s Music Scene


Hearts & Plugs Gears Up for Brave Baby/Elim Bolt Tour

Label exec Dan McCurry and his team at Hearts & Plugs is stoking a fiery push behind Charleston-based pop/rock group Brave Baby’s debut collection Forty Bells, an 11-song collection due on Jan. 15. Fronted by songwriter Keon Masters, Brave Baby tracked Forty Bells at drummer Ryan Zimmerman’s (also of Elim Bolt) home studio several months ago. Brave Baby will play a CD release show at the Pour House on Thurs. Jan. 17 with support from Octopus Jones and Elim Bolt. The $10 admission will include a free copy of the new album.

Fans can sample Brave Baby’s first single “Living in a Country” for free via Soundcloud here. They can listen to an additional tune titled “Magic & Fire” here.

Elim Bolt and Brave Baby share several members. Both groups will embark on a showcase tour through the Southeast and the Midwest in mid-January. Check out,, and for more.

Music and More at the Charleston Comedy Festival

Already in its 10th year, the annual four-day Charleston Comedy Festival kicks off on Wed. Jan. 16 and runs through Sat. Jan. 19. Organized and presented by Theatre 99 and co-presented by the Charleston City Paper, the festival presents a variety of local and national stand-up, sketch, and improv downtown and in Mt. Pleasant. Evening and late-night events are booked at Theatre 99, the American Theatre, the Stars Lounge, Footlight Players Theatre, the Lighthouse at Shem Creek, PURE Theatre, Redux, and the Woolfe Street Playhouse.


The Shock T’s (photo by Ballard Lesemann)

In addition to the straight-up funny business, a few music-based acts stand out this year. Theatre 99 veterans Lee Lewis and Jason Cooper will perform as the duo Doppelgänger at Theatre 99 on opening night. The Woolfe Street Playhouse will host Chicago-based musical comedian Matt Griffo (playing a bit of piano and ukulele) and the popular vocal/guitar threesome the Shock T’s at 10 p.m. on Fri. Jan. 18 (the Shock T’s return to the stage there on Saturday night as well). The seemingly innocent vocal/string duo Reformed Whores share the Theatre 99 stage on Fri. Jan. 18 and Sat. Jan. 19.

Check Metronome‘s Calendar section for all of the Charleston Comedy Festival events, and visit for more.

Sewee Association Hosts Music and Oysters for Wildlife Concert

The Sewee Association had to make a few last-minute adjustments to the music roster of the 8th Annual Music & Oysters for Wildlife set for Jan. 12 behind the Sewee Outpost in Awendaw, but the solid lineup of local and visiting acts came together. Local singer/guitarist Doug Jones will reunite with members of his longtime roots-rock band Cravin’ Melon (plus some special guests). Nashville-based country singer Maggie Rose signed on for twangy set. Local folk-rocker Danielle Howle (bouncing back from a recent automobile accident) will jam with her pals in Charleston rock quartet Firework Show. The rootsy Red Dog Ramblers (pictured) return with a full set of renditions. Acoustic singer/songwriter Ed Hunnicutt and the Lincoln Middle/High School Steel Band will perform early in the afternoon.


The Red Dog Ramblers at the Sewee Outpost, 2012 (photo by Ballard Lesemann)

“It’s two huge tents with heaters and bonfires outside,” say organizers. “We are ready for any weather.” Attendees can enjoy all-you-can-eat Bulls Bay oysters, Glenn Bagley’s BBQ, burgers and hot dogs, and ales from Charleston’s Palmetto Brewery, and more. The event runs from 2-6 p.m. Tickets are available for $40 at the gate and for $35 in advance. Proceeds benefit the Sewee Association’s Environmental Education and other programs. Visit for more details

Musicians Come Together at Art’s for Lisha Frits

Local musicians and friends of the Art’s Bar & Grill staff will come together on Say. Jan. 19 for a benefit show for Lisha Frits, the wife of the venue’s longtime proprietor Kent Frits. The event is designed to assist Lisha and Kent and their family with massive medical bills that have piled up while Lisha has been battling heart disease over the last two years. Her condition is serious, but she’s doing well. The roster for the benefit show is still taking shape, but so far it features members of Spunjwurthi, Kurly Wolf, Fowler’s Mustache, Donnie Polk, the Savage Tongues, and other Lowcountry acts. Donations will be accepted. Call the club at (843) 849-3040 for more info.

The CJO Celebrates ‘Trane

The Charleston Jazz Orchestra, Charleston’s snazzy big band led by acclaimed conductor/trumpeter/vocalist Charlton Singleton (pictured above), will kick off their 2013 season on Sat. Jan. 26 at the Charleston Music Hall with a boppin’ program titled The Music of John Coltrane. Coltrane was a pioneering jazz saxophonist, bandleader, and composer who played within the bebop and hard bop styles. The CJO will perform two separate sets at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Advance tickets are available for $35, $30, and $25 at the Jazz Artists of Charleston’s Charleston Jazz House (185 St. Philips Street), at the Charleston Music Hall’s box office (37 John Street), by phone at (843) 641-0011, and online at

Town Mountain (photo by Jason Beverly)

Town Mountain (photo by Jason Beverly)

Bluegrass at the Music Hall

Awendaw Green‘s Eddie White loves all sorts of music, but he has a soft spot for bluegrass and folk styles. He and his team recently booked a three-band show at the Charleston Music Hall. Billed as Grass in the Hall, the concert set for Fri. March 1 will feature sets by North Carolina’s Town Mountain, Kentucky-based ensemble Cumberland River, and Tennessee-based acoustic trio Barefoot Movement. The music will start at 7:30 p.m. Grass in the Hall is designed to kick off a series of upcoming Awendaw Green-sponsored bluegrass/folk events, the Sweet Grass Music Festival at Patriots Point on March 16 and the Charleston Bluegrass Festival at Sewee Outpost on April 5-6. Visit and for more.

Spring Jam Music Fest Taking Shape

Local radio station 105.5 The Bridge is organizing a two-day, 10-band music festival set for March 23 and 24 at Brittlebank Park off of Lockwood Boulevard. The station says the Spring Jam Music Fest will be “the perfect cure for those winters blues, delivering an outstanding line-up of bands from the Lowcountry and beyond with something to please all music lovers. So far, the solid acts on the roster include the Vagabond Union, the Corduroy Road, Stop Light Observations, Sol Driven Train, and Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work. There are more updates to come, so stay tuned. Tickets are already on sale at


Gregory Porter (provided)

Spoleto Announces Full Jazz/Roots Lineup

The folks at Spoleto Festival USA recently announced the concert lineup for its 37th annual Wells Fargo Jazz Series as well as a handful of special musical events. Spoleto kicks off in mid-May and continues through early June. The live music series features an international variety of jazz, blues, Americana, gospel, and world music acts at the Cistern, the Recital Hall at the Simons Center for the Arts, and Middleton Place. With the Gaillard Auditorium undergoing a massive renovation, a new venue will be utilized this year: the College of Charleston’s 5,100-seat TD Arena at 301 Meeting Street (a block south of Calhoun Street).

The Wells Fargo Jazz Series kicks off on May 24 at the Cistern with the first of two concerts by New York-based jazz vocalist Gregory Porter (pictured). Finnish jazz/classical pianist Iiro Rantala will perform a series of recitals at the Simons Center from May 26 through May 30. Isreali saxophonist Eli Degribri and his combo will play the Cistern stage on May 26. The eclectic bluegrass/Americana quintet Punch Brothers — mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and violinist Gabe Witcher — will headline the TD Arena on May 27.

Brazilian piano jazz legend André Mehmari made his Spoleto debut in 2005, and he and his combo return to the festival for a concert at the Cistern on June 1. The Wells Fargo Jazz series concludes with three recitals by Brazilian guitarist Alessandro Penezzi and clarinetist Alexandre Ribeiro at the Simons Center on June 6, 7, and 8.

Additional musical events during the festival include African vocalist Angelique Kidjo at the TD Arena on May 30, roots/folk duo Johnnyswim at the Cistern on May 31, country/folk singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash at the TD Arena on June 2, Oklahoma-based songsmith J.D. McPherson at the Cistern on June 7 and June 8, and a finale concert with the Red Stick Ramblers at Middleton Place on June 9.

Call (843) 579-3100 for info and check out for ticket and event information.

Top photo of Charlton Singleton and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra by Priscilla Thomas (courtesy of the Jazz Artists of Charleston).



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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