Category Archives: artist feature

Three songwriters make their SSS debut Sun., Sept. 4, at Tybee Post Theater

The Savannah Songwriters Series’ Labor Day Weekend showcase will be remembered as one of the best this year. Featuring three songwriters making their SSS debut, each of whom cites either Texas and/or Tennessee as helping shape their music

Thomas Oliver, a veteran of the SSS stage, will join Shawn Byrne, Brittany Moses, and Tim Eightay.

Shawn Byrne

Shawn Byrne

Nashville Scene calls Shawn Byrne “Nashville’s Best Kept Secret.” That’s quite a leap from 2003, when he starting washing dishes at the venerated Blue Bird Café.

But it was there that Shawn honed his writing and playing skills and not only became one the town’s most sought out guitar slingers (touring with Rodney Atkins, Mark Collie, Ashton Shepherd and Kelleigh Bannen to name just a few) but also became an in demand demo singer working on sessions for Mark Knopfler, Mary Gauthier, Gary Louris and Kristen Hall under the guidance of Grammy winning producer Nathan Chapman. In time it was Shawn’s talents as a writer that got the attention from publishers and major artists alike garnering Shawn a SESAC writer’s award and around 20 cuts to his name.

Byrne has a handful of Americana/Indie Country cuts to his name, the most notable of which was “Ol’ Cook Pot” recorded by The Duhks on their Grammy-nominated album “Migrations.”
Shawn’s second self produced record “Pine Trees, Cheap Wine, and the Moon” was released in 2012 and this year he released a new CD: “Slow Bullet.”

Brittany Moses

Brittany Moses

Hailing from the small town of Bethany, Missouri, but reared in Houston, Texas, Brittany Moses’ soulful, introspective

music takes on a style of its own.

Her musical upbringing included a talented singer/songwriter father and a grandfather who owned nightclubs in Houston in the 1970s. She’s been singing for as long as she can remember but it wasn’t until she received her first guitar at 19, though, that the songs began pouring out of her.

While finishing her degree in Music Business at Middle Tennessee State University, a school located near Nashville, Brittany honed in on her songwriting skills and gained valuable performance experience. She was chosen as one of the top songwriters in her songwriting program to perform at “Hot On The Row” for four consecutive semesters. She also was chosen to attend ASCAP’s Pop Songwriter Workshop. She has played at some of the world’s most preeminent clubs and venues like The Bluebird Café, The Listening Room, and The Rutledge, 12th and Porter, 3rd and Lindsley, Steel Stacks, and various other venues.

She recently moved to Columbia, SC.

Timothy Eightay

Timothy Eightay

Hailing from the musical mecca of Austin, Texas, by way of Washington D.C., Timothy Eightay (pronounced: like the number: 8, and the letter “A”– “8A”) began his musical journey 25 years ago. Drawing inspiration from the blues masters, reggae pioneers, and rockers of all era’s, Timothy believes he was was put on this earth to create music.

His soulful voice and masterful guitar playing weave the audio tapestry that is the local cover band @Sundown.

A software engineer for the Army, it was his Army job that brought Timothy to the Hunter/Savannah area.

He has played in many bands, ranging in styles from country, blues, jazz, rock, reggae, to hybrid originals.

Having shared the stage with the Dixie Chicks, Kevin Fowler, and Toby Keith, his latest CD, “Heard In Thoughts” was recorded at Ted Nugent’s personal studio.

Thomas Oliver

Thomas Oliver

Tybee Island singer/songwriter Thomas Oliver’s music mixes old school country with some blues and folk along with a little swing.

His critically acclaimed CD, “The Edge of America, is “pure outlaw Americana….” and “soars above the competition.” His ever-growing catalogue of songs has been described by Connect Savannah as ranging “from toe-tapping, catchy country tunes to haunting, wistful story-songs, the prolific writer is refreshingly versatile in both style and narrative.”

Thomas writes and posts a Song Blog on his website, where every couple of weeks, he post a new demo of a song and the short story behind it.

Over the years, the Georgia Music Industry selected five of Thomas’ songs for its Best of Country Showcase.

In addition to his solo career, Thomas also fronts the Lazaretto Creek Band.

Savannah Songwriters Series showcases original music by the writers the First Sunday of each month at the Tybee Post Theater.  The shows are for all ages.  The Post serves beer and wine in addition to the usual soft drinks, candy and popcorn. Tickets are $10.  You can order them online at


Todd Murray returns to Savannah with Charlotte’s Arsena Schroeder

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

1651 East Victory Dr.  31404

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

Former Savannah songwriter Todd Murray returns to town with Arsena Schroeder, a discovery from his new home in Charlotte. They will be joined on the Savannah Songwriters Series stage by local songwriter Robert Benton and audience favorite Leo Dean from Brunswick.

Robert Benton

Robert Benton

Robert Benton has been playing and singing for about 20 years. Benton grew up on Wilmington Island and attended UGA.  In the last few years, he has been focused on writing and his band, Benton Hill.

Those who have heard Robert always remember his strong vocals.

     Todd Murray records and often performs under the name Sincerely, Iris.

Arriving in Savannah from Chicago in early 2011, Todd quickly garnered attention. Connect Savannah said Todd was “one of the most interesting of Savannah’s newest crop of acoustic artists” in favorably reviewing his CD, “The Great Unknown.”  That was followed by rave reviews for “Best Left Free,” his 2013 release.

Todd is no stranger to SSS audiences, having performed three previous showcases.  However, he is new to SSS as a touring artist, having moved to Charlotte last year.

Arsena Schroeder

Arsena Schroeder

Charlotte-based Arsena Schroeder began her journey as a singer-songwriter and instrumentalist a mere five years ago, but has since then 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 in a round as an American Idol contestant.

She released her first EP, “Abundantly,” last year. That garnered her comparisons to Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Corrine Bailey Rae, & Tracy Chapman. She’s been critically reviewed as, “the next Alicia Keys”, and a powerful vocalist to be on the lookout for. Her next release, “Seeking Shadows” is scheduled to release in the summer of 2014.

     Leo Dean lives and plays out of Brunswick. A life-long musician, Dean promotes himself as a  “trop-rock musician.”  He’s been called the Human Jukebox.

He is also a master Parrot Head, knowing and playing as many Jimmy Buffett songs as the man from Margaretville himself. Leo has played Parrot Head clubs up and down the East coast of the US and as far west as Texas.  He has been invited to play the prestigious Meeting of the Minds — the annual convention of Parrot Head clubs.

But he is also a master songwriter and storyteller with three CDs out.  He is an engaging performer and fan favorite at his previous Savannah Songwriters’ showcases.

2 songwriters slated to play Sun., April 14, nominated for Ga. Music Awards

The Georgia Music Awards 2013 nominations include two Savannah songwriters slated to play Sun., April 14, at the SSS showcase at the Tybee Island American Legion.

Tyler Harrison

Tyler Harrison


Tyler Brant Harrison has been nominated for Georgia country male singer of the year, while  Cc Witt’s Lyn Avenue band has been nominated for best country group.

Cc Witt

Cc Witt

Both Harrison and Witt will be among four songwriters playing the 2nd Sunday SSS at the American Legion on Tybee.  They will be joined by Allen Cote form Milwaukee and Tybee’s own troubadour Thomas Oliver.

Music starts at 6.  It’s free, as is the parking.



Lauren Lapointe and Stewart Marshall at Savannah Songwriters Series – Sunday September 23rd

Lauren Lapointe and Stewart Marshall will showcase their songwriting skills at Savannah Songwriters Series

Savannah Songwriters Series

Sun., Sept. 23, at 6 p.m.

Johnny Harris restaurant

1651 E. Victory Drive

Free admission.  Free parking

Songwriters: Lauren Lapointe, Stewart Marshall, Tom Cooler and Jefferson Ross

Savannah’s loveliest singer/songwriter Lauren Lapointe and Stewart Marshall of Junkyard Angels will hook up Sunday with the Savannah Songwriters Series for another installment of the popular in-the-round showcases.

Canadian-born Lapointe has established her roots in Savannah while gaining recognition across the country for her soulful songs, unique voice and strong live performances.

Her songs include themes such as self-empowerment, following your dreams, as well as story songs inspired by living in the South and growing up in Canada.

Marshall is best known as the “Stewart” from the successful, long running regional touring act, Stewart and Winfield.  He also was a founding member of the country tonk band Junkyard Angels. He lives in Savannah with his family and tours with Junkyard Angel, Stewart and Winfield, and his family bands: The Marshall Brothers, The Marshall Family, The Marshalls and Rock.N.Chair.

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

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.

Now living in Savannah, Jefferson has set his sights on putting Savannah and Tybee on the map as hot spots for original acoustic music.

He is a founding member of the Savannah Songwriters’ Series, which showcases original music twice a month – the second Sunday at Doc’s Bar on Tybee and 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

Savannah’s Harry O’Donoghue Returns to Songwriters Series

Savannah Songwriters Series
Sun., Aug. 26, at 6 p.m.
Johnny Harris Restaurant
1651 Victory Drive
Admission is free, as is ample parking.

Songwriters in the round:  Harry O’Donoghue, Brad Wells, Stan Ray and Roy Swindelle.

With over 30 years in the music business, Harry O’Donoghue has become a master folksinger, storyteller and songwriter.  One of Savannah’s most successful musicians, Harry returns to the Savannah Songwriters’ Series after a very successful tour of Ireland.

His comfortable easygoing manner has become a trademark. On stage with acoustic guitar, bodhran and his gentle voice,
Harry has performed, by invitation, with the Savannah Symphony and has shared the bill with such international recording artists as Mary Black, the Furey Brothers, Tommy Makem, Danny Doyle and others.

Harry sits on the advisory board of the Centre for Irish Studies at Georgia Southern University and was voted Best Acoustic/Folk Artist by the readers of Connect Savannah every year since 2001 until the category was eliminated.

Harry performs regularly at Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub when he isn’t touring.

Brad Wells makes his Savannah Songwriters’ Series debut. Originally from St. Louis, Brad is now based out Hilton Head.  In 2010, Brad released his debut album “Stories Of My Life” and it has received some radio play and industry attention.  Brad has been playing guitar and writing since the age of 14. The now 33-year-old musician has also spent the last 13 years as a radio
personality in various states, currently program director/afternoon DJ for Y107.9

Brad Wells has opened for Corey Smith and played shows from Houston to New Orleans, Fort Worth, Mobile to Arkansas and Indiana.

Roy Swindelle is annually voted best musician on Tybee Island, where he plays as Roy & the Circuit Breakers at Doc’s Bar.  Swindelle is a multi-instrumentalist, at ease on guitar, a set of drums, blowing a harp or slipping on a metal slide to play the blues.  He is a member of the Savannah Songwriters’ Series.

Stan Ray is a co-founder of the Savannah Songwriters’ Series.  He plays solo on Tybee and in Savannah when he isn’t banging the drums with the Accomplices.

Now finishing up its third year, the Savannah Songwriters’ Series promotes original music through its twice-monthly showcases: the second Sunday at Doc’s Bar on Tybee and the fourth at Johnny Harris restaurant in Savannah.

Local songwriters wishing to perform can send a query along with a link to their music to

Pittsburgh Songwriter Joins Savannah Group For Another In-The-Round Showcase At Johnny Harris’ Restaurant

Savannah Songwriters’ Series
@ Johnny Harris Restaurant
1651 E. Victory
Sun., June 24, 6 p.m.
Free admission. Free parking.
Songwriters: Jenny Morgan, Cc Witt, Jefferson Ross and Thomas Oliver

Living in Pittsburgh now, Jenny Morgan was raised in Austin, Texas.

And her songs show it. Her clear, young voice reveals her
roots as she matches her catchy melodies with poetic lyrics in a range
of folk, pop, Americana and touch of blues now and then.

She has received songwriting at such competition as the
Kerrville Folk Festival and the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival.

In 2007 Jenny was signed to Canon Records and recorded her
first studio album, “The Songs I’ve Sung.”  She has since shared the
bill with Ruthie Foster, Susan Gibson and many more.

Jenny is now recording her third album independently and
finding her niche in the Pittsburgh scene.

Cc Witt is a young aspiring musician born and raised in Savannah. The
nineteen-year’s songs are composed of a unique blend of genres, with a
heavy does of country.

When it comes to songwriting, Cc has been winning awards for
her songwriting since the age of fifteen.

“When I write my songs, I don’t want people to walk away
wondering what they just heard, I want to inspire them. That’s what
it’s about for me.”

A graduate of St. Vincent’s Academy, Cc is the lead vocalist
and rhythm guitarist for the local band Lyn Avenue.

The music of Jefferson Ross can be cooked down to three terms:
grooves, grits and great stories.

Jefferson employs his unique acoustic guitar style and
southern, soulful voice to spin some of the finest story songs to come
out of Deep Dixie in a long while. His song craft has been compared to
Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell and Jesse Winchester.

For over a quarter century, Jefferson 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.

Now living in Savannah, Jefferson has set his sights on
putting Savannah and Tybee on the map as hot spots for original
acoustic music.

He is a founding member of the Savannah Songwriters’ Series,
which showcases original music twice a month – the second Sunday at
Doc’s Bar on Tybee and the fourth Sunday at Johnny Harris’ restaurant
in Savannah.

Thomas Oliver moved to Tybee three years ago from Atlanta, where he
primarily played original music with his group, The Usual Suspects,
and received several songwriting honors from the Georgia Music
Industry Association.

Thomas moves easily from country ballads to the blues of
Americana, to country folk songs about Waffle House waitresses and
getting older in an ever-younger society.

The son of a Sunday school teacher, Thomas once considered
the ministry but opted instead for a career in journalism, which he
spent mostly at Atlanta’s largest newspaper.

Since moving to Tybee, Thomas has played many of the live
music venues on Tybee, from Bernie’s Oyster House and the Rock House
to Doc’s Bar, Two Pirates Tavern, North Beach Grill, as well as Wild
Wing’s in Savannah and Uncle Bubba’s on Wilmington. He is now an
organizing member of the Savannah Songwriters Series’ and its effort
to promote more original music.

See you Sunday!

In The Round at Johnny Harris – March 25th

Savannah Songwriters’ Series
Sun., March 25, from 6 – 7 p.m.
Johnny Harris Restaurant
1651 East Victory Drive
Free parking. Free admission.

In-the-round: Aaron LaFalce, Thomas Oliver, Pete Love and Kurtis Schumm


Asheville, N.C., singer songwriter and radio personality Aaron LaFalce comes to Savannah March 25 as part of the Savannah Songwriters’ Series at Johnny Harris’ restaurant. The multi-instrumentalist took first place in two different categories in a recent Best of Western North Carolina poll: singer/songwriter & local performance artist.

Playing over 200 dates a year, LaFalce’s performances have taken him from New York’s Carnegie Hall & National Underground to the beach bars of British Virgin Islands.

Now in its third year, Savannah Songwriters’ Series promotes original music from local musicians in a free songwriters-in-the-round showcase once a month in Savannah, and once a month on Tybee Island. The series has grown in popularity, filling both the historic ballroom at Johnny Harris restaurant and Doc’s Bar on Tybee.

In addition to LaFalce, the showcase on the 25th will feature local songwriters Thomas Oliver, Pete Love and Kurtis Schumm.

Oliver moved to Tybee three years from Atlanta, where he primarily played original music with his group, The Usual Suspects, and won several songwriting awards from the Georgia Music Industry Association.  Since moving to Tybee, Thomas has joined the community of musicians who entertain the tourist trade with mostly cover songs.  But he is also eagerly joined the Savannah Songwriters Series’ effort to promote more original music

Love has played for nearly three decades with groups such as the Denny Phillips Band, Spectrum, Band in the Park and Mary Davis and Co.  A guitar virtuoso, Love is in great demand.

Schumm is best known as part owner of the Tybee Island Social Club, a restaurant that burst onto the scene two years ago, offering regular live music as well as a hip urban Mexican cuisine.  Before entering the restaurant business, Schumm played with his brother around town as Kurtis and Kody.  They still tour and have opened from the Allman Brothers and Emmylou Harris.  Kurtis can also be seen many nights playing at the Social Club.


Thomas Oliver
404-660-4320; 912-786-4732

Roy Swindelle

Artist Feature – Tom Cooler

Tom Cooler is a local songwriter who enjoys life on the rivers and beaches of coastal Georgia, especially during the Spring and Autumn seasons of the year. “What? Tybee too cold in November? You should try driving your JEEP onto the lake to go fishing thru a hole in the ice. Now that’s  cold !” The reflections of nearly 20 years spent living in Wisconsin can be found in his music, in songs titled “Nebraska Boy” and “Back to Nashville”. Pursuits of optimism can be found in his songs “Time” and “Whiskey & Cigarettes”, while the undeniable grasp of Faith resonates in songs like “Dotted Line” and “Brother”.
“It’s good to be home” he says, when talking about his childhood years in Savannah. “I have a lot of stories to tell, conjured-up from a lot of traveling around. I love ‘people’…I want them to listen, I’d like them to laugh, and I always try to let them to feel what I feel when I play my music.  It’s great when they sing along…that’s the best !” 
Tom will be IN THE ROUND this Sunday night at Doc’s on Tybee.  6pm

Artist Feature – James Rinalducci

James Rinalducci will be in the round this Sunday!

Saxophonist James Rinalducci wails his tunes down on River Street and in the squares of Savannah, Georgia.  After visiting Savannah for the annual Jazz Festival in 2009, James fell in love with the city and quit the restaurant business in which he worked for 25 years to make it as a musician.  He has been playing Jazz for 4 years and has been playing his current  1928 Conn Alto Saxophone  that he has fondly christened “Gilda,” after the 1946 movie starring Rita Hayworth.

Alongside playing tunes and improvising, he composes music based on conversations he hears and transfers their tonality into music. His conversational compositions possess a unique, flowing sound that can have short, abrupt notes alongside drawn out tones, like phrases and exclamations in conversation.
Every February, James takes part of  what is called The RPM Challenge.  The challenge is to write and record an album of 10 songs or 35 minutes of music, all original work.  All of which he does based on conversations he hears.

 If ever you find yourself on River Street, in Johnson or Reynolds Square, keep an eye and an ear out for James and Gilda.  Stop by and give him a sentence and he will improv a tune for you.
The Savannah Songwriters Series is at Cha Bella this Sunday, October 16th, doors open at 6pm.

Artist Feature – Jan Spillane

“SOULFUL sexy singer/songwriter Spillane has the soul of a hopeless romantic, the voice of a smoky jazz chanteuse and the tenacity of a hardworking blues diva.”

~ Bill DeYoung, Connect Savannah

Jan Spillane will be IN THE ROUND with Jefferson Ross, Stan Ray and Jaysond Neill this SUNDAY in the Cha Bella Courtyard. 6pm.