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Published on January 22nd, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


Ticker: News Bits from Charleston’s Music Scene

Shovels & Rope Hit Late Night Airwaves

It looks like Charleston-based duo Shovels & Rope — singer/guitarist/percussionist Cary Ann Hearst and singer/guitarist Michael Trent (pictured above) — have attracted the attention of high-class late-night television executives. This week, the band announced confirmation for a performance on The Late Show with David Letterman on Wed. Jan. 30. Hopefully, an invitation to serve jury dury next week won’t mess things up.

Hearst and Trent recently recorded some new material in Nashville. They leave for a lengthy winter tour through the Northeast next week, starting on Jan. 31 with a sold-our concert at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan.

“Hey friends. We are very excited to announce that they asked us to come sing on the TV,” reads a recent announcement on the Shovels & Rope web page. “Tune in to The Late Show with David Letterman on [Wed.] January 30th and watch us try not to freak out on national television.”

The duo’s road trio will wind down the East Coast and make a stop at the Charleston Music Hall on Sat. March 2. Advance tickets for that show are still available for $17 at the Charleston Music Hall Box Office, by phone at (800) 514-3849, or online at Visit for more updates.


Hannah Thomas (provided)

A Trio of Tuneful Songwriters at the Sparrow

The Sparrow in Park Circle will host a special songwriter showcase on Thurs. Jan. 24 headed by Lowcountry folkie Danielle Howle. Acclaimed North Carolina producer and musician Don Dixon will be on hand. Dixon is a longtime singer-songwriter who’s played bass player for Mary Chapin Carpenter and produced a number of great collection by such bands as R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw, Tommy Keene, the Smithereens, and others.

Georgia-based songwriter Hannah Thomas, the 2011 winner of Georgia Lottery’s All Access Music Search, will be there, too. Thomas has new studio album titled Goodbye on Wasted Time. The collection features a guest appearance by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls.

“What a great night of music,” Thomas states in a recent post. “I am honored to be playing with such great writers and musicians. Don Dixon is a world class producer, songwriter, and an amazing bass player — the real deal. Danielle Howle can spin a Southern tale like no other. She is one of my favorite artists to play with.”

Blue Oyster Bash (No Cult Involved)

Veteran Charleston roots-rock band the Blue Dogs and bluegrass/folk combo the Bluestone Ramblers are set to perform at the Blue Oyster Bash from 7-10 p.m. on Sat. Feb. 2 at the Founders Hall at Charles Towne Landing. The event is part of a fundraiser for Child Life Services at MUSC Children’s Hospital.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available for $50. Admission includes steamed oysters, barbecue, an “art in progress” demonstration by local artisans, a silent auction, beer, wine, and special cocktails. Visit for more.

Lux Interior and Poison Ivy of the Cramps (photo by Steve Jennings)

The Tin Roof Celebrates the Music and Life of Lux

Local writer, vintage clothier, and music fan Kelly Rae Smith has been organizing a Cramps-themed tribute show at the Tin Roof in honor of the band’s late, great frontman Lux Interior. Set for Mon. Feb. 4, the event will feature a handful of local musicians doing their favorite Cramps tunes from the band’s early and late periods.

Lux Interior (born Eric Lee Purkhiser) served as the tall-standing, ghoulish singer of the Cramps alongside his guitar-slingin’ wife Poison Ivy from 1973 until his death from a heart attack in California in 2009.

“February 4 marks the five-year death anniversary of the lead singer of the influential psychobilly band the Cramps,” reads a recent post from Smith. “Party time includes Cramps songs covered by some badass local musicians.” A few brave souls will attempt to deliver their best Lux Interior impersonation

They’ll screen a brilliantly grainy short film of the Cramps performing live at Napa State Mental Hospital in 1978 before the show at 8 p.m. So far, members of M-Tank, Sans Jose, the Lean Few, and the Early Bird Diner staff are on the roster. More are expected to sign on this week. A special “Goo Goo Muck” cocktail will be on the bar menu. Admission is $5. Proceeds from the door will benefit the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center.

[Asst. Ed. Note: Hopefully, they’ll let Metronome Charleston’s fearless leader Ballard Lesemann impersonate early-era Cramps drummer Nick Knox at some point]. Visit and for more.

Spring Jam Music Fest Fills Roster

It seems odd that a two-day music festival would start selling tickets and promoting itself before securing the majority of its band lineup, but that the way the Spring Jam Music Fest likes to do it. Sponsored by local radio station The Bridge 105.5 FM, the two Spring Jam concerts are set for March 23 and 24 at Brittlebank Park along the Ashley River.

Last month, they started selling two-day passes for $35. The initial lineup featured Vagabond Union, the Corduroy Road, Stop Light Observations, and Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work. In recent weeks, they’ve added local band Sol Driven Train, L.A.-based folk/rock band the Mowglis, L.A.-based indie-pop band Family of the Year, N.C.-based roots-rock ensemble Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and Knoxville-based Americana/rock sextet the Dirty Guv’nahs, and country-rock band Truth and Salvage Company. Check out for more.


Hearts & Plugs’ Dan McCurry (photo by Megan Elger)

More Hearts & Plugs Music on Sampler #2

Local indie label Hearts & Plugs are keeping busy this month with an Elim Bolt/Brave Baby tour across the Southeast and Midwest in support of two recent releases — Elim Bolt’s Nude South and Brave Baby’s Forty Bells.

Label head Dan McCurry also released a label sampler titled Hearts + Plugs Sampler, Volume 2. The 11-song compilation is available for free download on the label’s web page. Tracks include several tunes from the Elim Bolt and Brave Baby albums plus new music from Columbia’s The Lovely Few, Charleston’s Mr. Jenkins (a project by multi-instrumentalist Nick Jenkins), and McCurry’s own long-running melodic pop project Run Dan Run. Some of the songs are exclusive to the collection. Click the buttons at for samples, tour dates, album info, and more.

Dangermuffin Goes Weekly at the Pour House

Local Americana/rock band Dangermuffin — singer/guitarist Dan Lotti, drummer/bassist Steven Sandifer, and lead guitarist/singer Mike Sivilli — recently announced a new weekly Monday evening residency at the Pour House. The series begin on Mon. Feb. 4 and run through Mon. Feb. 25. Each show will start promptly 9 p.m. on the main stage. Every performance will feature two full sets and a rotation of special guest musicians and singers. Admission is $7. In March, the trio will leave the Lowcountry for a spring tour of clubs and festivals, including the Suwannee Springfest (March 21-24).

Dangermuffin’s latest studio album, Olly Oxen Free, reached the top of the Homegrown Music Network’s playlists and earned play on the SiriusXM JamOn! show.The trio plans to record an unplugged “AcousticMuffin” album early in the year as well. See and for more info.



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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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