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Published on February 6th, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


Ticker: News Bits from Charleston’s Music Scene


Johnny Mac on the Strat (photo by Tina Withrow Graves)

Local Blues Music and Fans Gather at Home Team

The sixth annual Home Team BBQ All-Star Blues Jam and Oyster Roast will take place at the West Ashley Home Team BBQ on Sun. Feb. 10 from 12-7 p.m. Over the last five years, the event was held as part of the Lowcountry Blues Bash, but this year, it’s an independent show, organized and presented by local musicians and members of the Lowcountry Blues Club.

The All-Star Blues Jam and Oyster Roast will feature “all-you-can-eat” oysters and a solid lineup of local and visiting blues, rock, and Americana acts, including the Lowcountry Blues Allstars backed by drummer John Picard and bassist Whitt Algar. Singer/guitarist Skye Paige will be on hand, and singer/guitarist Tommy Thunderfoot, a veteran blues-rocker who played in the Lowcountry for years and years before relocating to Raleigh, N.C., will return with his band the Accelerators. Rockin’ soul/blues power trio Johnny Mac and the BootyRanch, led by the fiery guitarist/vocalist Rev. Johnny Mac — will perform a closing set at 7 p.m. Visit for more info.

Rachel Kate’s Kickstarter is Up and Running

Charleston songwriter Rachel Kate Gillon put a lot of time, effort, and money into her making Rachel Kate: With Love and Hate, her forthcoming 10-song debut solo album. She tracked her songs in Columbia with a team of guest musicians and the engineering duo of Jay Matheson and Jamey Rogers. Now Rachel Kate is trying to wrap things up with financial assistance from a newly launched Kickstarter campaign, which includes a satirical promotional video featuring Tin Roof bartender Lesley Carroll, drummer-about-town Jack Burg (channeling the sprit of a Dixie Dregs drummer by a roaring fire), and Rachel Kate herself.

Rachel Kate performs at Jail Break (photo by Anne Chandler)

Rachel Kate (photo by Anne Chandler)

“I’m trying to raise $9,000 by March 3. If we don’t make the goal by then, we don’t get no money,” Gillon says. “The project is still in the hands of the studio, for I haven’t yet paid the amount in full. We still have to mix and master, but the tracking is finished.”

Rachel Kate has steadily performed in and around the Lowcountry this season, and there are plenty of shows on the horizon, too. When she’s not performing with the acoustic Americana/pop combo Local Honeys, she perform solo shows and keeps time on a drum kit with singer/songwriter Antoine Dukes (they’ll leave for a short Southeastern tour after a gig at the Tattooed Moose on Feb. 19). Click here to learn about (and contribute to) her Kickstarter campaign, and check out and for show dates and info.

Julie Slonecki Sings and Strolls in New Video

Charleston-based songwriter Julie Slonecki posted a cute new music video for her song “Garden Gnome” on YouTube. The delicate, hand-clappy pop tune is one of 13 new tracks from of her independently released new album Truth/Ideals.

Directed and produced by local videographer David Keller (of Charleston Video Service), the clip follows Slonecki on a neighborhood outing as she sings. Members of local band Old You join Slonecki in full party mode at several points. Slonecki performs at the Tin Roof on Wed. Feb. 27 with Hark! The Marching Bones. Visit for info, and take a look and listen to “Garden Gnome” here:

Charleston Acts Congregate at Awendaw Green for the ‘Benefit for Lucy’

Awendaw Green will host a special Barn Jam concert to raise funds for the local Wilkins family on Sun. Feb. 10. One of the Wilkins’ young triplets, Lucy, battled kidney failure through six months of hospitalization and multiple health complications before coming home. The benefit show is designed to help the family through the financial burdens of the scheduled kidney transplant and post-op care of father and baby. ​

The “Benefit for Lucy” roster features Everest Cale, the Jacob Jeffries Band, Satellite Rodeo, the Louie D. Project, and Hit or Miss (Joel Timmons and Ward Buckheister from Sol Driven Train). Oysters, wood-fired pizza, craft beer, and wine will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go towards medical expenses and care for Lucy. Visit and for more.


Tickets Available for 98 Rock’s Annual Fest

Local radio station 98 Rock has teamed with Monster Energy to present this year’s 98 Rockfest, an outdoor concert set for Sun. April 28 at the Exchange Park Fairgrounds in Ladson. The roster will feature Stone Sour, Bullet for My Valentine, Halestorm, In This Moment, Young Guns, Otherwise, Surrender the Fall, and Gemini Syndrome. Discounted “pre-sale” advance tickets are available this week (until Feb. 10) for $25. Visit and for more.

Sunday Nights Are for Cuban Jazz at Voodoo

Hand percussionist Gino Castillo (a member of the Jazz Artists of Charleston) organized a few Cuban-themed jazz night at the Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge in West Ashley last month, and they went over well — so well, that the venue has booked him and his rotating cast of musicians every Sunday evening through the winter. Castillo regularly hosts similar Cuban/Latin-jazz events at Barsa and other local venues, too.

“It’s a new, free, weekly jazz and salsa dancing event,” says Voodoo booking lady Julia Heckman. “The first week we had it was a great success. They brought a great crowd and the band had such an amazing energy. We’re going to make space in the lounge area for a dance floor. We may even have some professional salsa dancers on hand to help show people some moves.”

Voodoo will offer Cuban-inspired cocktail (mojitos, sangria, etc.) as well as a variety of Cuban dishes. The series starts on Sun. Feb. 10 and will run every week from 7-10 p.m. Visit and for more.


Elise Testone, 2013 (provided)

Elise Testone Announces Backing Band

Vocalist and songwriter Elise Testone is solid for a show at the Charleston Music Hall on Thurs. Feb. 14, and she’s been in town, putting the final touches on her set with a solid lineup of local backing musicians. While those who recently became fans of Testone’s singing know her best as the American Idol Season 11 finalist with the smoky, rock ‘n’ roll style, many of her friends, colleagues, and fans in the Lowcountry go way back with her and her.

“I’m committed to this band that I’ve formed, which consists of a lot of members of projects I’ve been in in the past,” Testone told Metronome. “I gathered some of the most reliable and talented musicians I know into one group, and they all seem to be committed to me as well. This is my official band, so any time you see me on stage, I’ll be with these people.”

The lineup includes guitarist Wallace Mullinax (who made a guest appearance on Idol with Testone last year), bassist Ben Wells, keyboardist Gerald Gregory, cellist Lonnie Root, percussionist Jack Burg, and drummer Daniel Crider. Vocalists Shannon Cook and Diane Fabiano will be on hand, too. tenor saxophonist Simon Harding and trumpeter/sax player Michael Quinn are among the special guests at the Music Hall show.

Billed as “A Whole Lotta Love,” Testone’s Valentine’s Day set will feature a bunch of her original music as well as a handful of rock, soul, and pop classics. Tickets available at the Charleston Music Hall Box Office, charge by phone at (800) 514-3849, or online at See for more.

Whole Lotta Knee-Shakin’ Goin’ On

Two Lowcountry-based indie-rock bands — Band of Horses and Shovels & Rope — landed on the bill of a newly established music festival in Georgia. The inaugural Shaky Knees Festival is scheduled for May 4 and 5 at Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward Park and Masquerade Music Park. The event will showcase 28 bands on three outdoor stages.

“I’m not trying to appeal to every music fan or break into territory that has already been well covered by other festivals,” Atlanta promoter Tim Sweetwood said in a recent press release. “I’d love for people to be able to find enough of a connection in the lineup to be familiar with several of the artists. But I wanted to offer enough of a range musically that they could get turned on to an artist they might never have heard of but end up loving.”

Band of Horses and Shovels & Rope will hit the stages alongside Drive-By Truckers, Dr. Dog, the Lumineers, Jim James, Kurt Vile, and others. Two-day passes for the festival will go on sale for $99 (plus fees) on Sat. Feb. 7. Check out for details.

1.Bonnie-Marina_Chavez-Shutters_20120409_111925 photo credit Marina Chavez_resized

Bonnie Raitt, 2013 (photo ny Marina Chavez)

Rodney Carrington Delays, Bonnie Raitt Confirms at the PAC

Comedic country singer/songwriter Rodney Carrington was scheduled to perform at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Sat. Feb. 9 as part of his national “Laughter’s Good Tour,” but the show was rescheduled to September 27. All tickets purchased for this weekend’s performance will be honored at the September performance.

In more upbeat news, the folks at the PAC recently announced another big show this week: blues/rock veteran and Grammy Award-winner Bonnie Raitt with opener Danny Ellis on Fri. May 7 at 7:30 p.m. The guitar-slingin’ Raitt is on the road this year behind her new studio album Slipstream (Redwing). Acclaimed producer Joe Henry worked with Raitt and her touring band — guitarist George Marinelli, bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson, drummer Ricky Fataar (remember him in The Rutles?), and keyboardist Mike Finnigan — at a Los Angles studio last year. Slipstream is Raitt’s first album since 2005’s Souls Alike.

Reserved seat tickets for the concert go on sale on Fri. Feb. 8 for $80.50 and $60.50 (plus applicable fees) at the PAC’s ticket office, all Ticketmaster outlets (including select Publix stores), by phone at (800) 745-3000. Check out for more.

Top photo by Janelle Riolo.



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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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