Category Archives: artist feature

Artist Feature – Thomas Oliver


DSCN9283-001Tybee Island singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver’s music is straight from the rich heritage of Southern music: the roots of Americana and real country.

Thomas moves easily from country love ballads to the blues of Ameriana, 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.  Still his religious upbringing reveals itself in several songs he calls his spiritual blues, where he confronts the mystery of the misery suffered by both the just and the unjust.

Since moving from Atlanta four years ago, Thomas has played most of the music venues on Tybee, from Bernie’s Oyster House and the Rock House to Doc’s Bar, Huc-a-poos and North Beach Grill, as well as Wild Wing’s at City Market and Uncle Bubba’s on Wilmington Island.

Five songs from his two CDs were selected as Best of Country by Georgia Music Association.  Songs from his “Finally Over Losing My Mind”  and  “The Life You Save Might be Your Own” CDs are available on iTunes and most other Internet music sites and stream on everything from Spotify to Rhapsody.

His song “Ballad of Tybee Island” is a favorite among the locals.


Savannah Songwriters Artist Feature – The Jefferson’s

The Jeffersons, Paul Jefferies and Lisa BrokopPaul Jefferson and Lisa Brokop met for the first time at a Starbucks in Nashville. A few hundred coffees later…they were married.

In the years that followed that initial meeting in the coffee shop, they never once contemplated combining their musical talents. As a solo act you get used to carrying the load and being the person alone out in front. Then one night during a concert Lisa was performing, Paul joined her onstage for a special one-song duet. The crowd went wild. And The Jeffersons were born.

Individually, Lisa and Paul have enjoyed considerable success over the past two decades – with radio and video hits, tours across North America, as well as recognition for writing songs for artists such as Keith Urban, Aaron Tippin, Reba McEntire, and Terri Clark.

Lisa and Paul recently released their debut album, entitled simply, ‘Volume 1’. Their current single, a cover of the Jakob Dylan penned ‘One Headlight,‘was released to radio in April 2011.

About The Jeffersons
Since Vancouver, BC native, Lisa Brokop, burst onto the scene in the early 1990s, she has been a fixture on the country scene.

With seven albums and an impressive resume of writing credits, Lisa has earned her place as one of Canada’s most respected singers and songwriters. She has practically grown up in front of her fans and has garnered an incredible 15 nominations for the Canadian
Country Music Association’s Female Artist of the Year, with hits such as “I’d Like to See You Try,” “Hey, Do You Know Me” and “Break It.”

Born in San Francisco, Paul Jefferson followed his heart to Nashville where he soon made a name for himself with the hits “Check Please” and “I Might Just Make It” from his 1996 debut self-titled album. He has toured with artists such as Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, and John Berry and is also an accomplished songwriter, having penned songs for Keith Urban, Buddy Jewell, and the #1
hit from Aaron Tippin, “That’s As Close As I’ll Get to Loving You.”

The Jefferson’s join Jefferson Ross and Stan Ray IN THE ROUND Sunday July 10th

Artist Profile – Eric Britt

Eric Britt will be releasing his solo debut sometime in Winter 2011, following a bank heist somewhere in Texas and a brief stint in the pen. So far the guitar and vocals have been recorded. As you may have collected in the following sentences, based on monetary restrictions the album is not finished.

Britt got his music career started in Athens GA about 1993. He was the frontman and songwriter for Hazel Virtue. Hazel released “hip” in 1995 and began a huge tour behind it that went on for about four years. During this era hazel was headlining such venues as the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Chameleon Club in Atlanta, and the Windjammer in Charleston on a regular basis. In addition to that they received airplay on 100+ radio stations and played huge festivals like Music Midtown, Big Day Out, and Crossroads in Memphis. They were touted as the best unsigned band in America.

Following the break-up, Britt put together a band called Revolvers and did a short tour before starting version #2 of Hazel Virtue. On this run, hazel put out another gem called “face and the shine” and began another tour of the Southeast. This band consisted of some all-star musicians from Charleston SC. They collected a huge following in Savannah, Charleston and the surrounding areas. They began to get airplay on a few commercial stations, ended up at Sony Nashville and made quite a go at it before disbanding in the last couple years.

Eric will be IN THE ROUND this Sunday with Jefferson Ross, Stan Ray and Kyle Shiver

Artist Feature – BJ Franklin

BJ Franklin is a 27 year Marine veteran, with multiple combat tours, who decided to pursue a  softer side of life upon retirement. He picked up the guitar at age 42, formed a band within 6 months, played and sang for the Pacific military clubs system and was the leader of a country band in Japan that headlined the Japanese JayCee convention.

Self-taught and still in the learning curve, he regularly plies his trade with his partner-in-crime, Lloyd Braddy, throughout the low country empire. Being a part of multiple  groups, such as  BJ & Lloyd, Hwy South and The This and That Band keeps him busy as they are in demand at most Hospice, assisted living and nursing homes in the Chatham/Effingham area entertaining the shut-in and debilitated. They maintain a rigorous schedule often playing for charity events and church groups.

Starting his writing career with songs about his wife, he has penned numerous country, gospel and soft rock music.  His wife says he writes gospel music cause he needs to be saved! He works for one of the world’s most influential  luthiers, Randy Wood, providing retail and production assistance, MC’s all the national level shows at the Pickin’ Parlor in Bloomingdale, and volunteers his time both at Hunter AAF and with the Savannah/Chatham Advocacy Program. He is the Commandant-elect of the West Chatham Detachment 1326 of the Marine Corps League and plays music with the group at Doc’s Bar in Tybee on Tuesday night.

BJ will join Stan, Roy and Sam IN THE ROUND this Sunday at Doc’s on Tybee.  6PM

Savannah Songwriters Artist Feature – Gary Swindell

G.S.Songworks – “Music for your heart, mind, & Soul”

Gary Swindell is an Actor, Singer, Songwriter & Musician who brings unique perspective and experience to his music.

His extensive Jazz, Gospel & Theatrical background shines through in highly expressive phrasing and musical textures. Swindell is focused on creating music that touches the heart mind and soul of the listener.

He serves faithfully as Minister of Music for  Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center International Ministries and as Musical Director for PAC- Performing Arts Collective of Savannah.



It gets a little annoying at times but most of my life people often assumed i was dropped from some alien craft in the middle of the night because my way of looking at the world and expressing ideas can be a bit peculiar and unexpected so here is a little of my (terrestrial) family background & musical influence.

Mrs. Mable A. Swindell (Mamma) was my primary vocal model. She loved hymns & memorized (I believe) the entire Gospel Pearls hymnal. Today I can open a hymnal to any page and remember hearing the song beautifully & soulfully sung.To me her singing voice was amazing! She had a smooth 2.5 octave range and perfect expressive vibrato that she called upon for effect whenever she wanted. I believe that the foundation of my songwriting structure today is the hymn. Mom’s musical taste was very broad. She loved Ella Fitzgerald every bit as much as she loved Mahalia Jackson, and sang a mean “Straighten up & fly right”. She also had a habit of reciting poetry by Langston Hughes just out of nowhere.

My Father’s, purpose musically in my life much like in all other aspects was to supply grounding, strength & stability, in that he was the ultimate musical minimalist. He loved & had us listening to aaaaallll kiiiinds of music from as long as I can remember ( & before ) but I don’t ever remember hearing him sing or even hum a complete phrase. But what he would do was hum a single note or 2, 3 at most, with his deep comforting melodious voice and have a whole song going on in his head riding on that note I suppose.

The youngest of 7. My brothers and I used to “doo wop” on the front porch and on the staircase in the hallway of our building where the acoustics were so very cool Monday through Saturday, and “Nearer My God to Thee” all day Sundays. If it was noisy we dug it! If it had a groove, we dug it more! If it had a groove & could be harmonized, we dug it more than Mamma’s lemonade with lots of ice on a hot summer’s day!! I’m sure we had to be the most musically eclectic poor kids in Savannah, Ga. We listened to & tried to emulate everything from John Coltrane- “A love Supreme”, to Three Dog Night – “Mamma told me not to come” ! We constantly channeled the Eagles, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes & Stevie Wonder (sometimes all at the same time). Then one day we got a Guitar and the place went wild!!!! Then we got a piano & that was all she wrote!!!!! Creative pandemonium
ensued!!!! The music was on!!!!!!


When I first got saved I didn’t use my musical gift at church for almost a year. I listened! I studied! I prayed! This (I believe) was a good thing for me. I have seen talented people rush into performing in church without first receiving a foundation in the Word and spiritual growth. Their gift works well but their life is a mess, not realizing that we have to recieve before we have anything substantive to give. Once I really understood that every gift that I was given by God was to be dedicated back to HIM then I could use it for HIM, then I hit the ground running!!!!


Serving as Chief Psalmist / Minister of Music for Pentecostal Miracle Deliverance Center is one of the most rewarding undertakings of my life. It falls in line right after marriage to my awesome wife Priscilla & raising my 2 wonderful children, Nia, & Gary Jr. I had been writing & performing music for the majority of my life, with my brothers, in High School, in College, long before I ever seriously considered accepting Christ or considered being a part of a Sanctified Church. But once the proper introductions were made, everything changed. By proper introductions I mean that my eldest brother, my Mom, & my 3rd eldest brother had already become a part of Miracle of Deliverance and introduced me to the Ministry, which introduced me to the Leader of that Ministry – Prophetess Idell Cheever. Her teaching, especially in the Bible School setting, introduced me to a level of wisdom, depth, commitment, & close relationship with the Lord that I never thought humanly possible, & the Church services were so energetic, & unpredictable. During the services Dr. Cheever would teach on a subject and the Minister of Music would often spontaneously create a song that supported the message. That got my attention. After some time of just attending services, listening , studying, praying, & applying
what I was learning to my daily life, I began to assist the Minister of Music as much as I could. Which was not a lot, in that, this type of music was very new to me. I always equated Gospel to either hymns, spirituals, quartet style, or the semi-pop style that you would hear on the radio. The music that I was hearing at church was none of the above.

The praise music was extremely loud & fast with repetitive choruses instead of verses & choruses & usually sung in key signatures that I was not used to playing. The chord patterns , even of the choir songs, were different types of patterns than I was familiar with with my jazz, blues, broadway, folk, & classical points of reference. I had no comfort zone whatsoever!! So when the Minister of Music quit one day, I was in a panic!

Then after months of prayer, practice & trail & error, I began to feel more confident about what I was doing; but not until I stopped trying to imitate the previous Minister of Music and allowed myself artistically to be myself. My father told me when i was very young (concerning work ethic) that “ability will get your foot in the door, but reliability will earn you a key to that door & many other doors”. So I started being the first person to arrive at Church and the last to leave, serving musically and in any way that I could, &
still try to continue in that vein to this day.

Gary Swindell joins Jefferson Ross, Stan Ray, Roy Swindelle & Jamison Murphy IN THE ROUND this Sunday in the Cha Bella Courtyard.

Show starts at 6PM

Savannah Songwriters Artist Feature – Jamison Murphy

Jamison Murphy is an indie-folk musician and singer-songwriter with two album releases under his belt and a new one due out this month.  His albums showcase his literary-inspired lyrics and ability to play numerous instruments.

Jamison was recently featured in New York is Boring, which said, among other things, “This kid is freakin’ Mozart” and “His
lyricism echoes the philosophical content of giants such as Goethe and Nietzsche.”

He has shared the stage with a variety of indie and folk groups including Venice Is Sinking, General Oglethorpe and the Panhandlers, Besides Daniel, and The Carolina Chocolate Drops.  He is a prominent member of local folk and indie scenes, and sits on the advisory board of the Savannah Folk Music Society, where he won the Youth Songwriting Competition in 2008 at the age of12.

The instruments he plays include the guitar, dulcimer, banjo, mandolin, harmonica,
geecheetar (cigar-box guitar), bulbul tarang, and many others.  His lyrics are often inspired by literature including authors such as Faulkner, O’Connor, Salinger, Joyce, and Tolstoy.  He lists John Coltrane, Neutral Milk Hotel, Minutemen, the Mountain Goats, and Bob
Dylan as some of the musicians that inspire him.

Jamison Murphy will join Jefferson Ross, Stan Ray, Gary Swindell & Roy Swindelle IN THE ROUND this Sunday in the Cha Bella Courtyard.

Show starts at 6pm

Savannah Songwriters Artist Feature – Bob Fulton

Bob “King B” Fulton has been a performing musician for over forty years, on vocals, guitar, bass, and “blues harp” (harmonica, or “Mississippi saxophone”). Primarily known around Atlanta as the frontman for the JumpKings for the past nearly twenty years, performing in clubs, private parties, weddings, festivals, and corporate functions, he is also a founding member and a past member of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Blues Society.  Bob has also been a member of the Yaarab Shrine Entertainers Unit for the past 10 years, performing at benefits, festivals and the Annual Shrine Circus to benefit the Shrine Children’s Hospitals.

While attending Mississippi State University, Bob performed as bass player and vocalist with the Soul Solution, a band which played at the Straight 8 Jr. in Columbus, MS – a club which also frequently booked stars such as Charlie Rich, Conway Twitty and Jerry Lee Lewis.

One of Bob’s musical compositions, “We The People…200 Years” celebrating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, was adopted as a National standard.

Bob is a registered Professional Engineer and licensed Electrician, who retired after over forty years in corporate and federal government service.

From an Atlanta Journal Constitution performance announcement regarding the JumpKings:
“BIG Chicago blues sound from well-seasoned vets.  Bob Fulton’s powerful vocals dominate.”

Matt, of Fatt Matt’s Rib Shack, Atlanta, GA
“The JumpKings:  Those boys can sure put away some bar-b-q.  Helluva band too.”

Bob Fulton joins Jefferson Ross, Stan Ray and Leo Dean IN THE ROUND this Sunday at Doc’s on Tybee.

Savannah Songwriters Artist Feature – Leo Dean

By 1965 Leo Dean had his own band and it was off to the races !

The late sixties found Leo playing in the coffee houses singing the folk and protest songs of that era that convinced him that music was in his soul and also that the young hippie girls loved it, well that didn’t hurt either.

By the early 70’s Leo was sharing the stage with the then unknown Johnny Paycheck and Tex-Mex
star, Freddy Fender. It was also a transition from the acoustic Guitar to electric, all the while sitting in
with various bands as a drummer.

By the early eighties it was time to be a weekend warrior musician, continue an education and raise a

By the early nineties the bug had bitten again and contemporary country music was a draw, so he
played in a number of high powered country bands until he bought another acoustic Guitar and
re-discovered Jimmy Buffett and the ParrotHead movement.

So after a short stint as a duo in the JamesDean Band, playing southeast Georgia,Leo was once again
a solo acoustic act…and thats when he played a gig in a seaside bar on St. Simons Island Georgia and
met the founding members of a newly formed ParrotHead called who called themselves
“The Southern-EZE ParrotHead club of St. Simons Island Georgia”.

To make up for the lack of a band Leo adopted the latest computer technology and was a full blown
“sequenced” act. In addition to, at the time, over 500 songs. Leo’s set list also included around 50
Buffett tunes and another ParrotHead was born.

Now, some 2 thousand gigs later and a seasoned pro, Leo’s sequenced set list is over a thousand
songs and includes some 125 Buffett tunes and growing. He has played ParrotHead clubs up and down the East coast of the US and as far west as East Texas.

As of September 2004, Leo is finishing his third CD titled ” I got it made”, a collection of original
music ranging from smooth ballads about the baby boomer generation, lots of tunes about the
Islands and the tropical life to Nashville wannabe tropical hillbilly stars.

Leo Dean will join Jefferson Ross, Stan Ray and Bob Fulton at the Savannah Songwriters Series at Tybee this Sunday at Doc’s 6pm.

Artist Profile – Lauren Lapointe

IN THE ROUND – Sunday, April 17th
6PM at Cha Bella


Lauren Lapointe is a Savannah-based singer/songwriter who has been gaining recognition across the country for her soulful songs, unique voice, and strong live performances.

Her CD “Butterfly,” has been played on more than 100 radio stations in eight countries and reached #8 on the Georgia Roots Artist Radio Airplay Chart.

Lapointe’s influences include Canadian songwriters Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, and Loreena McKennitt as well as Southern storytellers Bobbie Gentry, Lucinda Williams, and Gillian Welch.

“a great talent!” – Steve Young (Steve Young, songwriter (“Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles, “Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” by Waylon Jennings)

“phenomenal!”– Renee Kennedy, WRHQ Quality Rock 105.3 FM in Savannah, GA

“An acclaimed live performer…Lapointe has definitive gifts with melody and lyrics.”– Kathleen Wehle – Southeast Performer Magazine

“A gifted and openhearted storyteller with a flair for melody.” —Sloan Wainwright, Derby Disc Music recording artist (and auntie to Rufus and Martha Wainwright)

“If you see her once, you’re sure to come back again and again.”— Sheri’s Caffe del Giorno, Greenville SC.

Artist Profile – Roy Schneider & Kim Mayfield

IN THE ROUND – Sunday, April 17th
6PM Cha Bella


Roy Schneider and Kim Mayfield have been making music together since their first date in 2003. The duo began touring when Roy ended his nationally syndicated comic strip, performing in 26 states and the UK in the 3 years since. Roy’s songs have earned him spots in several prominent songwriting contests, including the 2009 Kerrville NewFolk competition. Their roots influenced, Americana/Folk music features Roy’s soulful songwriting and virtuosic playing of anything stringed, accompanied by Kim’s mellifluous harmonies, piano, guitar or mandolin.

“Roy Schneider’s rootsy songs contain a mix of blues, country, folk and Americana all rolled into a beguiling and tasty stew.”
– Dave Drury Blues Matters! Magazine