SSS moves to new First Sunday date, Dec. 7, with a strong lineup

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., Dec. 7, at 6 pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.  
All ages.  Non-smoking

 A strong set of songwriters inaugurates in a new date for Savannah Songwriters’ showcases, Sun., Dec. 7.

Kris Youmans returns to her hometown with her fusion of Texas swing, Americana and traditional country. She’ll be joined by local songwriters Andrew Gill, Thomas Claxton and Roy Swindelle at Johnny Harris Restaurant, as the SSS moves to the First Sunday of each month.

Kris Youmans

Kris Youmans

Kris Youmans has always been influenced by the Southern charm and coastal life of Savannah, where she was born and raised. Now living in Newnan, she is the founder of Newnan Unplugged, a popular songwriter showcase in Newnan, and is also the co-coordinator for the Carrollton chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI). She is a community partner with Meals On Wheels and organizes musical fundraisers for them annually.

She has been nominated several times at Ga-Country.com for female vocalist of the year as well as the Georgia Music Awards 2013.

The Kris Youmans Band performs in venues throughout the Atlanta metro area and just completed a new CD of original tunes.

Andrew Gill was the lead vocalist for the popular, local band Wormsloew.  He can be heard most weekends around Savannah solo or fronting the Andrew Gill Band (AGB).

Andrew’s vocals are as dynamic as any in the Coastal Empire.  He possesses perhaps one of the strongest voices to grace the Savannah Songwriters Series. His lyrics are as strong as his voice.

Thomas Claxton is a popular fixture on the Savannah music scene.  A native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., the 31-year-old has been performing professionally for over a decade.

“…Thomas is a breath of fresh air …,” according to Connect Savannah.  His performances are high-energy and the breadth of rock songs he knows and performs is astounding.

He is currently playing with his band the Myth.

Roy Swindelle is one of the Coastal Empire’s best-known musicians. Roy is a multi-instrumentalist, playing drums, bass, guitar, steel drums and harmonica.  He has been voted Best Musician on Tybee several times by the readers of the Tybee Breeze. He plays solo, often as Roy and the Circuit Breakers, as well as with the Christy Alan Band, which has been voted the Breeze’s Best Band two years running.

Roy is a producer of the Savannah Songwriters Series, which showcases original music the 1st Sunday of each month at Johnny Harris.  All are free to the public and start at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Jon Waits debuts at Savannah Songwriters Series Sun., Nov. 23

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., Nov. 23, at 6 pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.  
All ages.  Non-smoking

Jon Waits makes his Savannah Songwriters Series debut Sun., Nov. 23, at Johnny Harris Restaurant.

He’ll be joined by local SSS veterans Pete Love and Ben Wells. Also, Arsena Schroeder, who excited the audience with her March performance, returns from Charlotte to the writers-in-the round showcase.

For 25 years, Jon Waits has been writing and performing in coffee shops, bar and alleyways. He is currently the main songwriter and vocalist for Waits & Co., a Savannah-based Americana and Alt-country trio.

Jon Waits

Jon Waits

Born the son of a preacher-man in the early seventies in Atlanta, Jon first picked up the guitar at age 10. Growing restless in his early twenties he hit the road, traveling and living by the seat of his pants for the next decade, performing in coffeehouses, and wherever else would let him pick his guitar; sometimes for pay, sometimes just to be heard.

Eventually the high life brought him down, and the music was put on hold for several years. After getting clean and sober he slowly returned to playing. He moved to Savannah three-plus years ago.

DoSavannah wrote: “Waits, as most fans in Savannah probably know, is a hardened performer with more than 20 years of stage experience echoing throughout his songwriting.”

Pete Love, a SSS favorite, has played with groups such as the Denny Phillips Band, Spectrum, Band in the Park, Mary Davis and Co. and the Navigators.

A sought-after guitarist who is comfortable with most genres, Pete also performs solo. He self-produced his CD “Chester and the Elements.”

He will once again demonstrate his guitar skills and play his songs that cosmically and comically look at life and its meaning.

Ben Wells started writing his own music within the last couple of years, while working on Jan Spillane’s most recent CD. He co-wrote and recorded a song with her and John Banks.

Since then, he has written several songs on his own and has recorded them at home. He enjoys trying out his new material at the Coffee. Deli acoustic jams on Wednesday nights.

Ben is a math teacher with the Savannah Chatham County Public School System. He is married to Stacey and they have a young son, Charles. They reside in Coffee Bluff.

Arsena Schroeder

Arsena Schroeder

Charlotte-based Arsena Schroeder began her journey as a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist six years ago. Since then, she has performed locally, nationally and internationally at venues such as The Evening Muse in Charlotte, Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia, and WDVX The Blue Plate Special in Knoxville.

She’s also competed and advanced a round as an American Idol contestant.

She released her first EP, “Abundantly,” last year. It garnered her comparisons to Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Corrine Bailey Rae, & Tracy Chapman.

Her next release, “For My Artist Child” is scheduled to be released next month.

The Savannah Songwriters Series is a monthly showcase of original music, fostering an appreciation for Savannah’s songwriting community.  Hosted at Johnny Harris Restaurant the fourth Sunday of each month at 6 pm, the series will move to the First Sunday of each month beginning December 2014.

If you are interested in playing, please email your information to savannahsongwriterseries@gmail.com or visit our website at savannahsongwriters.com.

 

 

 

 

Jefferson Ross returns to Savannah Songwriters stage Sun., Oct. 26

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., Oct. 26, at 6 pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.   All ages.  Non-smoking

The founder of the Savannah Songwriters Series returns to play a showcase Sun., Oct. 28, at Johnny Harris Restaurant.

Jefferson Ross will be joined by Jason Salzer, Tom Cooler and John Russell.

Jefferson Ross

Jefferson Ross

For over a quarter century, Jefferson Ross honed his craft in Nashville, both as staff songwriter for companies like Curb Records, a studio session player and as a road musician and background singer for folks like Terri Clark.

He lived in Savannah from 2010 until last year when he moved to Atlanta.  While in Savannah, he, his wife, Tami, and local musician Stan Ray founded the Savannah Songwriters Series.

As a solo artist, Jefferson has released three CDs —  “Azalea,” “Hymns to the Here and Now” and last year’s “Isle of Hope.”  Each has eclipsed the previous one in fans response and critics praise.

 John Russell is a 21-year-old songwriter from Detroit.  A  preacher’s son, John grew up in a musical family and started writing songs at 15.  He moved to Savannah about a year ago with his wife Melody.  He’s just beginning to make his mark musically.

A professional photographer, John brings a soulful sound belying his age.

Jason Salzer, who relocated to Savannah last year after a 15-year career in Nashville, returns to the SSS stage with some of his poignant songs.

Jason Salzer

Jason Salzer

While based out of Music City, Salzer toured the country, sharing the stage with renowned artists including Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Steve Earle.  In addition to releasing several albums of his own, Salzer has had his songs cut by country, Americana, and Christian artists alike.  He has worked with some of Nashville’s top writers and producers.

Tom Cooler is a veteran of the SSS circuit. When he isn’t playing a SSS showcase, he’s heavily involved behind the scenes, helping set up and tear down and often running sound.

He released his first CD in 2012, “Nebraska Boy,” which included the popular “Tuscaloosa” about the devastating tornado in that hit that town in 2011.

Last year, he released a new live CD, “This is What You Get.”  Tom was chosen to play Tybee’s Third Thursday series earlier this year.

The Savannah Songwriters Series is a monthly showcase of original music, fostering an appreciation for Savannah’s songwriting community.  Hosted at Johnny Harris Restaurant the fourth Sunday of each month at 6 pm, the series will move to the First Sunday of each month beginning December 2014.

If you are interested in playing, please email your information to savannahsongwriterseries@gmail.com or visit our website at savannahsongwriters.com.

 

Two touring songwriters make their Savannah Songwriters Series debut Sun., Sept. 28

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., Sept. 28, at 6 pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.   All ages.  Non-smoking

Two touring songwriters take the Savannah Songwriters Series stage for the first time Sun., Sept. 28, at Johnny Harris Restaurtant.

David Kraai and Claudia Nygaard will be joined by local songwriters Chris Desa and Thomas Oliver.

David Kraai

David Kraai

David Kraai (pronounced cry) is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter who has been traveling and performing his melting pot of country, folk and rock music for over a decade. His roots stem from New York’s Hudson Valley.

Kraai has been fortunate enough to release several albums and share stages and bills with some of his heroes like Pete Seeger, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Dickey Betts, Leon Russell, Charlie Louvin and more.

After graduating from San Jose State University, Claudia Nygaard spent the next several years paying her dues singing in dive bars, rowdy honky tonks, and on noisy fairgrounds.

Claudia Nygaard

Claudia Nygaard

After her years on the road, she moved to Nashville and landed a job as a staff songwriter for Greenwood Music on Music Row. The job allowed her to focus on the craft of songwriting, and she learned it well.

Her songwriting has won her numerous awards including the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting Competition “New Folk.” Her skill as a guitarist earned Claudia a Tacoma Guitars endorsement, as well as an endorsement from Intellitouch Guitar Tuners.

With the release of her second CD, 2011’s “Let The Storm Roll In,” Claudia garnered some well-deserved praise from radio and press.  

Chris Desa is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter specializing primarily in six and 12-string guitars. With over five decades experience, he blends well-known tunes of the 60’s- 80’s with his own compositions. He also enjoys promoting songwriters who are not well known by playing his versions of their tunes.

He is president of Savannah Folk Music Society since 2011 and has served as a long time member and board member.

A seasoned maritime professional for over 40 years, he operates an independent maritime consulting company based in Savannah.  

Thomas Oliver will once again host the showcase.  He released his third CD, “The Edge of America,” last year.  Red Line Roots said, “…in a world of people trying to make country music and falling short, [Thomas Oliver] soars high above the competition.”

Thomas is one of the co-producers of the Savannah Songwriters Series, which showcases original music the fourth Sunday at Johnny Harris’ restaurant in Savannah.

Local songwriters who would like to be considered for a SSS showcase, should email links to their music to savannahsongwriterseries@gmail.com

Sarah Tollerson returns to SSS Aug. 24, along with two young songwriters making their SSS debut

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., Aug. 24, at 6 pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.  
All ages.  Non-smoking

One of Savannah Songwriters Series favorites returns for another showcase Sun., Aug. 24, at Johnny Harris Restaurant.

sarah tollersonSinger/songwriter Sarah Tollerson headlines a group that includes two songwriters making their SSS. debut.
Tollerson was raised in Winder and started singing at an early age with her musically inclined family.

She studied classical music at the University of Georgia before going to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston to study songwriting and voice.
Shortly after graduation, she relocated to Nashville to continue her career as a singer-songwriter and session vocalist.

Her songs have received awards such as the John Lennon Scholarship for Songwriting, the Berklee College of Music Performing Songwriter Award, and several fan choice awards on OurStage.com and Upromise.com.

Last year she moved to Savannah.

Joining Sarah and making their SSS debuts are Danni Ri from Heflin, Ala., and Nikko Raptoulis .

Danni Ri

Danni Ri

Danni Ri (Ree) from Heflin, AL., has been singing since the age of 4.  She grew up a family whose member favored different decades of music, from 40s big band to 80’s bid hair.

She  is currently pursuing opportunities to advance her songwriting career in Nashville and with songs like “Mamma Don’t,” she getting noticed.

Herr first self-produced full Country album titled “Cliché” is now available on i-Tunes, Amazon, et. al.

Nikko Raptoulis moved to Savannah in December after 6 years of performing in and around Orlando, not far from his home-town of Longwood, Fla., and four years  performing in Provo, Utah, where he produced his EP, “King of This Castle.”

In Savannah, he has pulled back from performing aside from a few open mics, deciding to recede from the scene a bit to write and enjoy music as a passion and less of a career for the time being.

Thomas Oliver will once again host the showcase.  He released his third CD, “The Edge of America,” last year.  Red Line Roots said, “…in a world of people trying to make country music and falling short, [Thomas Oliver] soars high above the competition.”

Thomas is one of the co-producers of the Savannah Songwriters Series, which showcases original music the fourth Sunday at Johnny Harris’ restaurant in Savannah.

Local songwriters who would like to be considered for a SSS showcase, should email links to their music to savannahsongwriterseries@gmail.com

Anna Chandler leads trio of new voices to Savannah Songwriters July 27

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., July 27, at 6 pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.  
All ages.  Non-smoking

Three new voices to Savannah Songwriters Series take the stage Sun., July 27, at Johnny Harris restaurant.

Anna Chandler, Isaac Smith and Rachael Shaner make their SSS debuts.  Long-time SSS veteran and host Thomas Oliver will join them.

Anna Chandler

Anna Chandler

Anna Chandler’s earliest childhood memory growing up in Greenville, SC, she’s barefoot hanging onto the top of a metal fence, furiously blowing into a harmonica and disturbing the neighbors early on a Sunday morning. As a grown woman who is now a vocalist, guitarist, and accordionist, primarily with Savannah bands Lovely Locks and COEDS.

While attending SCAD on a creative writing scholarship, Chandler fell in love with Savannah. In 2009, Chandler and Devin Smith formed  General Oglethorpe & the Panhandlers.

A lifelong lover of all-American rock ‘n’ roll, folk songs and hymns, and lush harmonies, Chandler’s lyrics are flushed with realism, urgency, a little paranoia and a healthy dose of Southern sweat.

Lovely Locks just released “Trust No Man,” which is available at lovelylocksband.com. COEDS’s latest single, Summer Hits, Some Ain’t, can be heard at coeds.bandcamp.com.

Isaac Smith is hard to pin down as an artist.  From Atlanta, he is steeped in Southern culture, trained in classical music, and raised on the pews of his father’s church.  He blend’s all of these elements into his live performances.

In his live performance, you can expect to hear soulful re-imaginings, roots rock, pop, and maybe even catch a hymn from his youth.

When Isaac is not performing around Savannah’s music scene you can catch him on Sunday mornings at Tapestry Church.

Rachael Shaner

Rachael Shaner

 Rachael Shaner was born and raised in Savannah. She was classically trained on upright bassist for 12 years. She then wandered a bit. From Atlanta to Colorado but got drawn back to Savannah.

Only recently has the 23-year-old Rachael begun writing and singing. She just picked up the guitar and started writing/playing this past February.  Soon she was attracting attention at the open mic at Tybee’s Social Club.

Last fall, Tybee Island songwriter Thomas Oliver released his first CD in seven years.  “The Edge of America.”

One reviewer said the songwriter displayed a “journalistic eye for detail and poetic flow.”  Red Line Roots said, “…in a world of people trying to make country music and falling short, [Thomas Oliver] soars high above the competition.”

Thomas is one of the co-producers of the Savannah Songwriters Series, which showcases original music the fourth Sunday at Johnny Harris’ restaurant in Savannah.

Local songwriters who would like to be considered for a SSS showcase, should email links to their music to savannahsongwriterseries@gmail.com

 

Savannah Songwriters Series moves to once a month at Johnny Harris restaurant

The popular Savannah Songwriters Series is moving to a once-a-month Sunday showcase at Johnny Harris restaurant.

After nearly three years of twice-a-month showcases, the producers of the Savannah Songwriters Series are returning to the original monthly format and basing the series at Savannah’s legendary Johnny Harris. The restaurant has been the site of the 4th Sunday SSS showcase the last three years.

“We are thrilled that the Savannah Songwriters Series is committing to Johnny Harris,” said Corbin Parker of Johnny Harris Restaurant.  “We’ve been proud to be a part of the series’ growth and look forward to it’s continued success here.”

Roy Swindelle, one of the producers of the writers-in-the-round series, said the earlier move to having showcases twice a month was more happenstance than planned.  “And once it happened, it took on a life of its own.”

The series produced two showcases of original music each month, the second Sunday at the American Legion on Tybee Island and the fourth Sunday at Johnny Harris.

“The American Legion has been great to us,” Swindelle said, noting that 64 people attended the last showcase there.  “And we hate leaving.”

“But,” said, Thomas Oliver, another SSS producer, “we have small group of volunteers, most of whom are working musicians, and the twice-monthly workload had, frankly, become too much.”

Coincidentally, Oliver said, as he and Swindelle were discussing the move to once a month, Johnny Harris approached them about wanting to make more of a commitment to turning their dining room venue into a true listening room – something that Savannah music scene boosters have long sought.

“We are turning our main dining room into a listening room for the Savannah Songwriters performances,” said Parker.  “We want to contribute to Savannah’s original music scene.”

 

 

 

 

Matt Eckstine leads outstanding lineup of songwriters Sun., June 22

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., June 22, at 6pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.  
All ages.  Non-smoking

The front man and lead guitarist for one of Savannah’s most popular band, the Accomplices, leads an outstanding lineup for the Savannah Songwriters Series Sun., June 22, at Johnny Harris.

Matt Eckstine, hot off the release of the band’s second CD, will be joined by newcomer Darrin Bradbury and SSS veterans Roy Stalnaker and Pete Love.

Matt Eckstine

Matt Eckstine

Matt and the Accomplices burst on the scene four years ago with the release of
 “Canned Beans,” an all-original CD. The string band plays a combination
of groove-based blues-grass with overtones of jazz and bohemian
country. Matt plays guitar, is the lead vocalist and writes
 some of the Accomplices more lyrical tunes. He also performs solo.

One of Savannah’s most popular bands, the Accomplices have also taken to the road, playing as far away as Alaska. Their second CD,  “A truck, a train, an old dump pile,” just dropped to overwhelming acclaim.

Darrin Bradbury

Darrin Bradbury

Darrin Bradbury, 25, is from Nashville these days, by way of New Jersey.   Guitarist/vocalist and chief songwriter in the “Thrash Folk” band Big Wilson River, Darrin has spent the past 7 years dragging himself across America an alarming number of times to play in living rooms, basements, concert halls and colleges. Having slept in his fair share of truck stops, Darrin’s work reflects a lighthearted yet jaded view of 21st century Americana.

Roy Stalnaker was born and raised in Savannah. He started singing professionally in the late 1970s, performing throughout the Southeast, from Savannah’s Night Flight Café to Nashville’s Blue Bird Café.

His songs are not exactly traditional country and certainly not the pop country of radio. But with his smooth voice, Stalnaker takes you with him as he travels the back roads of a soulful country music with his ballads and stories.

Pete Love, a SSS favorite, has played with groups such as the Denny Phillips Band, Spectrum, Band in the Park, Mary Davis and Co. and the Navigators. for nearly three decades.  A sought-after guitarist who is comfortable with most genres, Pete also performs a solo.

 

Two local songwriters make their SSS debut

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., June 8;   6 — 7:30 pm
Tybee’s American Legion10 Veterans Dr.  
Tybee Island, GA 31328
Free admission.  Free parking.  All ages

Two local songwriters make their SSS debut Sunday, joining  two veterans of the series.

Monty Parks and Ben Wells will be joined by Tom Cooler and Roy Swindelle for another writers-in-the-round showcase of original music at the American Legion on Tybee Island.

Monty Parks started writing and performing material in 1972 when he  performed in Detroit coffeehouses and clubs.  Over the next 35 years, as his career in manufacturing management took him from state to state, he wrote about life from those different regional perspectives.

Monty Parks

Monty Parks

Now, as a resident of Tybee, he feels blessed with the time to focus more on his music as he plays more and more for the island’s audiences.  He prefers playing in outside venues and entertaining the tourists.  Monty was elected to the Tybee City Council last year.

Ben Wells began playing in bands around town when he was 17 years old. Since that time, he has tried to play with as many people as he can and as often as he can. Most recently he has played with Band in the Park, Mary Davis and Company, Jan Spillane, and Lauren LaPointe. He has played guitar on two of Jan Spillane’s CD’s and on the last track of Pete Love’s CD, “Chester and the Elements.”

Ben Wells

Ben Wells

Ben has started writing his own music just within the last couple of years. He began writing while working on Jan Spillane’s most recent CD. He co-wrote and recorded a song with her and John Banks.

Since then, he has written several songs on his own and has recorded them at home. He enjoys trying out his new material at the Coffee. Deli acoustic jams on Wednesday nights.

Ben is a math teacher with the Savannah Chatham County Public School System. He is married to Stacey and they have a young son named Charles. They reside in Coffee Bluff.

 Tom Cooler is a veteran of the SSS circuit. He released his first CD in 2012, “Nebraska Boy,” which included the popular “Tuscaloosa” about the devastating tornado in that hit that town in 2011.

Last year, he released a new live CD, “This is What You Get.”  Tom was chosen to play Tybee’s Third Thursday series earlier this year.

Roy Swindelle is one of the Coastal Empire’s best-known musicians. Roy is amulti-instrumentalist, playing drums, bass, guitar, steel drums and harmonica. He plays solo, often as Roy and the Circuit Breakers, as well as with the Christy Alan Band.
His new CD, “401-k Plan” is just out.
Roy is a producer of the Savannah Songwriters Series, which showcases original music . All are free to the public and start at 6 p.m.

 

Andrew Gill leads strong cast of songwriters Sun., May 25 at Johnny Harris

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., May 25, at 6pm
Johnny Harris Restaurant 


1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

Free admission.  Free parking.  
All ages.  Non-smoking

Andrew Gill leads a strong lineup of songwriters for the Sun., May 25, Savannah Songwriters showcase at Johnny Harris restaurant.

Andrew Gill

Andrew Gill

Andrew Gill was the lead vocalist for the popular, local band Wormsloew.  He can be heard most weekends around Savannah solo or fronting the Andrew Gill Band (AGB).

Andrew’s vocals are as dynamic as any in the Coastal Empire.  He possesses perhaps one of the strongest voices to grace the Savannah Songwriters Series.

His lyrics are as strong as his voice.

He will be joined by another veteran of the Savannah Songwriters Series: Joan Maute. A self-described  ”old folkie from the 60s”, Joan is a retired teacher who lives on Hilton Head.

Joan took her guitar and music into the classroom when she began teaching in 1970. She used music to help her teach social studies, reading and language arts, and she continues to share her techniques with teachers across the country and in Canada.

Joan will be singing some songs from her third CD, “So Much More.”

Jason Salzer, who relocated to Savannah last year after a 15-year career in Nashville, returns with some of his poignant songs.

Jason Salzer

Jason Salzer

While based out of Music City, Salzer toured the country, sharing the stage with renowned artists including Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Steve Earle.  In addition to releasing several albums of his own, Salzer has had his songs cut by country, Americana, and Christian artists alike.  He has worked with some of Nashville’s top writers and producers.

Steve Simpson will be making his debut with the SSS. He comes form Charlotte.  Like so many, he played guitar as a youth, but shelved it for a career in business. Returning to guitar and songwriting almost 15 years ago, Stever has released two CDs, worked with the local chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International and plays out as often as he can.