Published on January 30th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


Ticker: News Bits from Charleston’s Music Scene

Kevin West Returns to Charleston from Hollywood

After spending more than year in his new digs in Los Angeles, veteran Charleston guitarist, songwriter, and singer Kevin West is back in town for two weeks for some session work, a few solo gigs, and a big show at the Pour House. West, a Charleston native who played in town with various rock, soul, and jazzy funk bands through the 1990s and 2000s, relocated to Lost Angeles in November 2011, shortly after releasing his latest solo album Once in a Lifetime.

“My plan was to travel play music and expand my artistic horizons,” West tells Metronome. “I started acting because it’s actually easier to make money acting in Los Angeles than it was playing music. Not good money, but something. I’ve not done much real acting — just a few independent projects and background acting. I’ve had a little luck, but I’m mostly busting my ass, though. It’s been a struggle, but I guess as an artist the struggle is food for creativity.”


Kevin West … out West (provided)

West has keeping up with many solo performances, as well as playing with the new band called Jet Pilot Jerry as the lead guitar player. Bandleader Rodney Smith was a good friend of West. Smith used to tend bar at the old Holiday Inn on Folly Beach.

“He was the one that convinced me to head out to L.A.,” West says.

The reunited Kevin West Band will share the Pour House stage with local soul/blues combo Sara Cole & The Hawkes and songwriter Brittany Linder at 9 p.m. on Thurs. Jan 31. West’s backing troupe includes Shawn Beckner on bass, Daniel Crider on drums, Andy Masker on saxophone, and Linder on vocals.

“We’ll be playing a variety of material, from soulful R&B covers to my original stuff, including some new stuff inspired by my travels,” West says. “I’ll be starting with a solo acoustic set, then Brittany and I will perform some acoustic stuff. Then, the full band will join us.”

West plans to sit in with Sarah Cole and the Hawkes during a late-night set, too. Looking ahead, West plans to get back in the studio and on the road. “Being in Hollywood and traveling has been just as humbling as playing in Charleston,” he says. “So I have really spent a lot of time practicing, trying to get to be a better musician — the one thing as an artist I can actually control. If being in Hollywood has taught me anything. it’s that to be an artist of any kind, you better do it because you love it. Commercial success is promised to no one, no matter how talented they are.”

For more info and stories from California, check out “It’s an easy read and will give a little more insight as to why I’m doing what I am,” he says. Check out for more.

Follywood Productions Hosts Annual Bash at the Pour House

Booking agent and promoter Ben Bounds is excited to host friends and colleagues at the Pour House this week as part of an all-day Follywood Productions Anniversary Party and Oyster Roast scheduled for Sat. Feb. 2. Seven bands will perform on the deck stage and main stage from noon ’til last call. “Working with musicians and clubs never becomes mundane because every day is different,” Bounds says. “Ive enjoyed making connections and working with a variety of acts over the last three years.”


Ben Bonds (center) with a bunch of Follywood Productions family members (provided)

Bounds was based in Oxford, Miss. before relocating to Charleston in 2010 and forming Follywood Productions as an event coordinating service. Since his early days in town, Bounds and his ever-growing staff of assistants and interns have expanded their artist roster which includes dozens of Lowcountry songwriters and bands. Follywood Productions regularly assists with booking at several local clubs, including the Pour House, the Windjammer, both Home Team BBQs, the Surf Bar, Smoky Oak Taproom, Loggerhead’s, Midtown Bar & Grill, and others. They’ve also worked with more than 200 bands over the past three years. Some of their prime artists based in the Charleston scene include Guilt Ridden Troubadour, James Justin & Co., Mac Leaphart, Gaslight Street, Davis Coen, the Dead 27’s (pictured above), and Bret Mosley.

“We’re doing more out-of-state events these days, too,” Bounds says. “We’re getting closer to a 50/50 mix of in-state and out-of-state booking and event coordinating now. I realized that a lot of bands and venues needed help here in the Charleston area, but Im pleased that we’ve found a good balance between it all.”

Bounds has a busy winter and spring ahead of him. Starting next week, he’ll embark on a series of week-long jaunts to Los Angeles, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Bahamas. “It’s kind of crazy,” he says. “Going into 2013, I’m doing a lot more consulting this year so far. We’ve really become a regional company around the Southeast. The agents that work with me are doing that, too — working on festivals, university events, venue openings, and even some weddings and fundraisers. It’s really exciting to be at this point now.”


Graham Whorley (Joshua Curry)

The full-day schedule for the Follywood Productions Anniversary Party looks like this:

Graham Whorley, 1-2 p.m. (on the deck)
Davis Coen, 2:20-3:30 p.m. (on the deck)
Guilt Ridden Troubadour, 4-5:20 p.m (on the deck)
Long Miles, 5:50-7:20 p.m. (on the deck)
Shonuff, 7:50-9:15 p.m. (on the deck)
The Dead 27’s, 9 p.m. (on the main stage)
Gaslight Street, 10:45 p.m. (on the main stage)
Funk You, 12:15 a.m. (on the main stage)

Admission is $8 for the early shows, $10 for the main stage sets, and $14 for all day and all night. “This anniversary party is a bit different than some of other big events we do, many of which are fundraisers,” Bounds says. “We typically invite bands that are on our roster already, and we also bring in a few bands who we’ve done spot work for over the year. Our roster is always changing, and that’s part of the fun. This event at the Pour House is all about those artists and what we’re trying to do — our party for our family, friends, and clients in the community.”

Visit and for more.

Lindsay Holler Goes Bluegrass? (Not Quite)

The pursuit of comprising fine songs has kept local musician Lindsay Holler (Western Polaroids, Oh Ginger, Matadero) more than busy this winter. She’s collaborated with numerous players in different band settings, and she’s working up a set of brand-new sketches and tunes for solo shows as well. Holler will land at the Isle of Palms creekside venue Morgan Creek Grill this week as part of the ongoing Wintertide Music Series, an “in-the-round” style showcase featuring local and visiting acts. She’ll share the stage with local songwriters Tyler Mechem (of Crowfield) and Dave Conner (of Rustic Remedy) from 7-10 on Fri. Feb. 1.


Lindsay Holler (Joshua Curry)

“I’m gonna dust off some older material and have a few new songs to debut that night,” Holler says of the Morgan Creek gig. “I’ve never been to this Wintertide Series before, so I’m excited to see how things go.

“Writing new songs these days has been interesting,” she adds. “I’ve got a couple of outlets to filter new songs towards, like Matadero and a possible Josh Kaler [of Slow Runner] writing/recording project. What I start out with are brief sketches and then share them with people to get some color and direction and expansion. These solo tunes really just start out as basic folk songs, which is probably how they will be presented on Friday [Feb. 1]. Hopefully, in a few months, these same songs will turn in different directions once some other hands are involved.”

Holler will also be performing a Bluegrass Breakfast event (with endless Bloody Marys) at the Francis Marion Hotel (on Calhoun Street) during SEWE (The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition).

“I didn’t realize that the SEWE gigs are billed as bluegrass,” Holler tells Metronome. “I guess I’ll need to start checking out some good material for that type of thing and hit the bluegrass books, so to speak. I played an oyster roast back in early December with Sam Sfirri and Johnny Gray, and a few SEWE people heard us and got in touch about this year’s expo. To mix things up a little bit, I’ll be doing a duo with Josh Kaler during the SEWE’s opening reception from 6-9 p.m. on Wed. Feb. 13 at the Mills House, then I’ll come back with the original trio on Sat. Feb. 16 from 9-11 a.m. at the Francis Marion hotel for a brunch gig. Both should be a lot of fun.”

Visit for more.

Will the Torch Go Out?

Local nightclub Torch Velvet Lounge, a longtime hotspot on Upper King Street, is facing some major changes this season. In a message posted on Facebook this week, proprietor Mike Vitale announced that he was planning to open a new venue down in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will have to sell Torch.

“This is without equivocation the single most bittersweet post I have ever had to write,” he said. “It was not without a great deal of soul searching I have decided to open a new venue in St. Petersburg. This project will require me to not only move but to sell Torch. I have a love for this bar and this city that is indescribable. These last eight years have been an amazing journey, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Vitale went on to say that local restauranteur and real estate investor Alberto Reyes will come on as the new owner on Feb. 4 with assistance from his managing partner Marc Fisher (of the late City Bar). So, Torch will remain Torch for now. Visit for the latest update and DJ schedule.


Megan Jean (Ballard Lesemann)

Megan Jean and the KFB Get Devilish with New Album

Megan Jean and the KFB have completed all of the tracking, mixing, and mastering of their forthcoming studio album The Devil Herself, and they’ve set March 1 as the official release date.

Produced at the Jam Room in Columbia with engineer Zac Thomas, The Devil Herself features 11 new originals composed by singer/guitarist/percussionist Megan Jean and bassist/banjo player Byrne Klay over the last two years. They’re releasing it on their own label, Guts and Know How Records. The album follows 2010’s acclaimed full-length Dead Woman Walkin’.

The duo has booked a 35-date tour across the country to support the new collection. Their local CD release show is solid for Fri. March 1 at the Tin Roof in West Ashley with opening act Paleface.

“The devil is wherever we seek it out,” Megan Jean states in a recent press release. “We tend to see those lifestyles we can’t or won’t understand as a kind of possession, the devil’s hand upon their heart, guiding and claiming them. If we look too hard, that moral standard becomes too much for anyone. They end of the devil themselves.” Indeed.

Visit and for more.

Top photo of the Dead 27’s by Ballard Lesemann.



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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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