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Country Music Hall Of Famer Don Williams Coming To2donw576
Charleston Music Hall, January 16th

Known as country music’s “Gentle Giant” for his warm baritone and laid-back ways, Don Williams is a major country hitmaker and international ambassador. Scoring at least one major hit every year between 1974 and 1991, he had an impressive fifty-six chart records. Fifty of these reached the country Top Twenty, and forty-five made the Top Ten; seventeen went to #1. In 1978 he was CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and his recording of “Tulsa Time” was ACM Single of the Year. In 1980, readers of London’s Country Music People magazine named him Artist of the Decade.

Don Williams, Volume One, his first album, appeared in 1972 on JMI Records. It contained several chart singles, including Williams’s self-penned “The Shelter of Your Eyes (#14, 1972) and Bob McDill’s “Come Early Morning” (#12, 1973) and “Amanda” (#33, 1973). Don Williams, Volume Two included Williams’s own “Atta Way to Go” (#13, 1973-74) and Reynolds’s “We Should Be Together” (1974), the singer’s first Top Five hit. Recordings like these established his style, noted for its mellow yet masculine vocals and often-pensive song material.

1donw576In 1974, Williams scored his first chart-topping record, Al Turney’s “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” It launched a string of fifteen straight Top Ten hits, including songs by numerous top-tier writers: Wayland Holyfield’s “You’re My Best Friend” and “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend”; McDill’s “(Turn Out the Light and) Love Me Tonight,” “Say It Again,” and “It Must Be Love”; and Danny Flowers’s “Tulsa Time.” The singer’s winning streak also included the Holyfield-Williams composition “Till the Rivers All Run Dry” and the Williams originals “Lay Down Beside Me” and “Love Me Over Again.”

During the eighties and early nineties, Bob McDill continued to supply Williams with first-rate material, most notably the literary and evocative “Good Ole Boys Like Me.” Other hits came from leading songwriters such as Roger Cook (“I Believe in You” with Sam Hogin; “Love Is On a Roll” with John Prine), Dave Loggins (“We Got a Good Fire Goin'”), Rory Bourke and Mike Reid (“I Wouldn’t Be a Man”), and Dennis Linde (“Then It’s Love”; “Heartbeat in the Darkness” with Russell Smith).

As of 2010 the prolific Williams had released more than thirty-five albums. The Best of Don Williams, Volume II and The Best of Don Williams Vol. III have been certified gold, and I Believe in You has been certified platinum. His video collection Don Williams Live has attained gold status. After switching from JMI to ABC-Dot (1974-78), Williams moved in succession to MCA (1979-85), Capitol (1985-89), and RCA (1989-92). Later releases appeared on American Harvest, Giant, RMG, and Intersound/Compendia. Williams was one of the first country artists to make a music video, 1973’s “Come Early Morning.”

On February 23, 2010, the Country Music Association announced that Don Williams was to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame 

CHARLESTON MUSIC HALL 

THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2014 | 7:30PM 

TICKETS ON-SALE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH AT 10AM 

Ticket Locations
All E-Tix locations, etix.com or by phone at 800-514-ETIX (3849)
Music Hall Box Office, 37 John St., 843.853.2252

Ticket Prices
$59.50 Floor / $49.50 Balcony (plus applicable fees)

All Seats Reserved

More Info:
Don-williams.com | charlestonmusichall.com | nationalshows2.com

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            George D. Hay created “barn dance” in November 1925 on WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. His goal was to have a weekly showcase honoring country music and its history.  Hay’s show featured artists that would become legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Roy Acuff.  This “barn dance” became the Grand Ole Opry, now owned by Ryman Hospitality.  The broadcast is one of the longest running in history and can still be heard on 650/WSM every Wednesday. Robert K. Oermann, an Oprey journalist, wrote, “Little by little, the national media began to notice a shift in the balance of power in America’s music business during the years following World War II.  New York’s Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood’s movie soundtracks still ruled mainstream pop music, but a network radio show beamed from Nashville was making waves with a newly popular national sound.  That show was the Grand Ole Opry, and the sound was country music.”  Can this be done now with bluegrass and in Charleston?

DSCF2256The fourth installment of Grass in the Hall included Angel Snow, SC Broadcasters, and Mandolin Orange.  Never heard of them?  Well they might just be the next Williams, Cline, and Acuff.  This is the sprit behind the experiment that is Grass in the Hall.  When Eddie White brought the idea to the Charleston Music Hall he pitched it as a “Barn Jam downtown”. Barn Jams are Eddie White’s weekly Wednesday showcases of bluegrass, Americana, and folk artists out at Seewee Outpost. The Grand Ole Opry was the celebration of the best that country music had to offer, and through a similar vein, Grass in the Hall is doing the same thing with bluegrass music in Charleston.  Reimagine the quote from above about the change in music post-WWII, ‘Little by little, the Charleston media began to notice a shift in the balance of power in Charleston’s music business during the years following 2012.  Folly beach jams and Mount Pleasant pop ruled mainstream music, but the Charleston Music Hall beamed from 37 John Street making waves with a classic sound.  That show was Grass in the Hall, and the sound was bluegrass music.”  For Awendaw Green and the Charleston Music Hall, this dream is what we can only hope for.

DSC_0157Angel Snow, SC Broadcasters, and Mandolin Orange are three of the most talented groups that have played the Grass in the Hall series, and the Music Hall stage.  Angel Snow’s voice is vintage; not the pop voices heard on the radio, but a burning, smoldering rasp with range for days.  SC Broadcasters have some of the tightest harmonies, and undeniably one of the greatest flat pickers in music today, David Sheppard.  Mandolin Orange is clean, bright and hits the listener deep.  Art is deemed worthy when it does not follow trends but sets them while simultaneously knowing how to nod at the past it derives itself from.  These three acts define self-awareness in bluegrass, a genre wrought with excessive banjo solos and overdone gospel numbers.  Instead, Angel Snow, SC Broadcasters, and Mandolin Orange bring their own powers to the battle and are not afraid to take the hits along the way because they know ultimately what they are doing is genuine and will resonate longer.

– Bennett Jones, CMH

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M&C Moja Flyer 4x6 frontThe Charleston Music Hall is very excited to be a part of the MOJA Arts Festival this year.  RLO, The Jazz Diva, and Quentin Talley will be presenting Miles & Coltrane: Blue (.)  at the Charleston Music Hall Sunday, Sept. 29 at 7 PM.

This show captures the galvanizing energy of the 1950′s, an element of time when American society was rapidly changing. During this era, jazz was the soundtrack to a new social revolution. And at the forefront of jazz music was trumpet blaring Miles Davis and skillful saxophonist John Coltrane, who partnered to make a wondrous residual slide in soundscapes that would unleash their names to be forever known as jazz legends.  Award winning actors, musicians, and poets take you on a journey through the artists’ lives and the legacy they left behind. 

For this production, award winning poets and musicians, Concrete Generation and The Stephen Gordon Group, articulate the noteworthy shift in music history.
Miles & Coltrane: Blue(.) recently returned from The 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival with 5 star reviews and returns to Charleston after a successful run at The Piccolo Spoleto Festival in 2012!

“Jazz lovers will appreciate this loving homage to two great musicians; non jazz lovers will be entranced by the raw beauty of the music and may be (just as this reviewer) was converted. Exquiste.” – Eilidh Johnstone, Three Weeks Edinburgh

“Miles & Coltrane will get in your veins… A mesmerizing testament to the transcendence of Davis’ and Coltrane’s music. Miles and Coltrane: Blue is like going to church — almost.” – Duffy Lewis, Charleston City Paper

The show will run Sunday, September 27th at 7 p.m. at Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. Charleston SC. Tickets are $26.00 Adults; $21 Senior/Students.  Admission available for purchase at www.mojafestival.com.

To learn more about Miles & Coltrane: Blue (.), visit www.mcblueontour.com or follow on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/mcblueontour.

Tickets are on sale now and can be bought at: http://www.mojafestival.com/home/?p=3440.

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triple-releaseCharleston, SC   (August 30, 2013)  — Charleston Music Hall is proud to announce a triple album release show from three of Charleston’s hardest working bands / musicians, Guilt Ridden Troubadour, Gaslight Street, and Ryan Bonner.  Guilt Ridden Troubadour will be releasing “Gone,” Gaslight Street will be releasing “Heavy Wind,’ and Ryan Bonner will be releasing “Only When It’s Burning” on October 12, 2013.  Everyone who buys a ticket online will receive a free song from each of the albums.  Doors open at 7:00 pm and the concert will begin at 8:00.  Advanced tickets are on sale Tuesday, September 3rd at 10 am.  $10 for advanced tickets, $13 for tickets the day of the show.  Tickets can be found at CharlestonMusicHall.com, Monster Music and Movies, Cats Music, Etix toll free #, 1-800-5143849, or can be purchased at the Music Hall’s Box Office (37 John Street, 843.853.2252) 

Guilt Ridden Troubadour will be releasing their new album “Gone.”  GRT bandleader Reid Stone landed in Charleston five years ago after fronting the hard-touring Oxford, Mississippi-based Southern rock group Daybreakdown from 2003-2007. About two years later, he was on the road again, with a five piece band staring at his backside. GRT’s sound is more alt-country and Americana than Stone’s previous band, and the music is more lyrically-driven than Daybreakdown, but they still brings the Southern rock edge. Think Gram Parsons, John Prine and Jay Farrar style songwriting, but with a Flying Burrito Brothers, Hot Tuna or Little Feat presentation. “Gone,” Stone’s first new release since ’07, is an easy listen with it’s clever catchiness and guest appearances by Shovels & Rope’s Cary Ann Hearst.

Gaslight Street’s soul music will never go out of style, and their new album, “Heavy Wind,” is most certainly wrapped in soul.  Just like Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers spawned from the same bluesy roots, Gaslight Street melds pure Southern rock with charismatic vocals, traipsing the boundaries of blues and funk.  Born in the growing musical bastion of Charleston, SC, Gaslight Street’s regional presence has grown behind the release of their sophomore album, Idle Speed. Featuring the unmistakably soulful lyrics and vocals of Campbell Brown, the disc strongly stakes the band’s place as worthy inheritors of the Southern soul tradition. “The music these guys make is as real and organic as it gets.” – Devin Grant( (Post and Courier)  “Their music is as rich and detailed as any Dylan, Neil or Booker T single.”- Ballard Lessemann (Charleston City Paper) “Their live show is characterized by poignant vocals, great instrumentation, and a strong sese of songcraft.” – (Relix)

Ryan Bonner will be releasing his second full length record “Only When It’s Burning.”  Recorded during most of 2012 this record finds Bonner working with Producer Joe Taylor for the first time; opting to self-produce previously releases, 2010’s “Monsters In The Hallway” EP  and 2012’s “Think of England. LP.”   Joe Taylor’s expertise can be shadowed by the type of talent he has worked with in the past including Steve Holley, Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris among many others.  [Ryan Bonner] is like listening to early Steve Earle or John Hiatt.  Bonner has a genuinely distinctive voice, unfettered by popular affectation, and his songs spring from a well of keen observation and sharp wit. This is classic American music.”  Joining Bonner and Taylor on the album are studio and touring veterans Steve Holley, drummer from Paul McCartney and Wings, and bassist Sean O’Bryan Smith, whose credits include Larry Carlton, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum as well as his touring band Jack Friel, Malin Wagnon, and Whitt Algar.  A staple in South Carolina Music Scene, Bonner has had a strong presence on the radio both in Charleston, SC at WCOO, The Bridge at 1055 and WWNU, The Palm in Columbia, SC.  Say’s WWNU Operations Manager, Mike Allen “Ryan Bonner has lyrical and songwriting skills that wring the emotion out of the everyday in our lives.  Then his performance brings the words to life.”

Read more at Metronome Charleston.

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DSC_0154“For anyone who thinks bluegrass is nothing more than a bunch of hillbillies making a terrible racket on washtubs and whiskey jugs, Steep Canyon Rangers are here to knock some cotton-pickin’ sense into ya. The five-man band—six, when actor Steve Martin sits in on banjo—has been reinventing bluegrass for the last decade. In the past year alone, SCR’s success has reached towering heights with two impressive honors: The International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Entertainers of the Year” award and an enthusiastic wag of First Dog Bo’s tail at the White House Fourth of July gala.”       –Nico Isaac, Paste Magazine

I booked Steep Canyon Rangers and Shannon Whitworth back in late April.  It was a risky move for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, they played at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in May with Steven Martin and Edie Brickel, and I was worried that their return in August to Charleston would be too soon.  Secondly, neither Steve Martin nor Edie would be returning with them to the Music Hall.  However, after meeting the Rangers at a Garden & Gun back porch session and listening through their albums multiple times, I realized that this band was more than just Steve Martin’s “backing band.”  Woody Platt (Guitar, Lead Vocals), Graham Sharp (Banjo), Mike Guggino (Mandolin), Charles R. Humphrey III (Bass), and Nicky Sanders (Fiddle) are killer musicians who do not need Steve Martin to hold them in the spotlight, and they proved just that Thursday night, as 650 people came out to the Music Hall to hear them play.

DSC_0111The evening was made even more special with the addition of The Shannon Whitworth Band to the bill.  Shannon’s last play in Charleston was at the Dock Street Theatre, and I was very excited to have her at the Hall.  Shannon also happens to be Woody’s wife (lead guitar and vocals for SCR), and as it turns out my old camp counsellor!  I cannot believe I did not recognize her, as I was hanging her posters all over town last week or watching her videos, but when she stepped out of the bus, we looked at each other and it immediately hit both of us: Camp High Rocks. Shannon was the arts and crafts counsellor (man oh man did I make some awesome lanyards), and one of my favorite counsellors.  The world certainly is a small place, and it was great to reconnect after ten years.

The show itself went off without a hitch.  With the addition of Shannon, the show was turned into a co-bill, and she shined just as bright as the Rangers.  The Music Hall was made for bands such as these.  The sound was amazing, the sets were intimate, dancing ensued by the end of the night, and we could not have asked for a better evening.

What do I love most about music?  The way it brings people together, and the way it inspires and encourages community.  One of my main goals when I took over the music hall was to turn it into a living, breathing, communal space, and I feel like we are well on our way to creating a wonderful family.  The show Thursday night was particularly special.

 

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July 26, 2013

To start this blog post off with a snag line about the history of comedy, or tie it into the City Paper article about headliner Evan Berke, then flow into the success of the show, and the great support the Charleston comedy scene got Saturday night would be fine, but it would only tell a part of the story.  This show almost did not happen. That is the truth, and if you are reading this post, it is important to know the struggles leading up to this show in order to understand how amazing the night was. Everyone involved was worried about how the community of Charleston would support their brightest stars.  Is the scene saturated? Are our friends as funny as we think they are? Do people really locally support the arts? It is like a slow and constant anxiety attack.  But to ease the pain I will let loose the ending, we did it.  The positivity and gusto of everyone involved made the show a roaring success.  Over four hundred showed up in support of their local comedians, the City Paper ran a great cover story on locals that leave to big cities to pursue their dreams, and above all else, the comedians brought their A-game to the stage.

It seems that running a venue is all about tipping points.  The writer, sociologist, bestselling author, and all around guy-that-makes-statistics-cool, Malcolm Gladwell, wrote a whole book about tipping points, apply titled The Tipping Point.  Gladwell explains the phenomena of social tipping points being due to, “ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease.  They are social epidemics.”  Basically, success is often times counterintuitive, unusual, things just happen without immediate explanation.  This can be used to explain The Lowcountry Comedy Tour’s final night.  The buzz grew in an exponential pattern.  Unlike linear graphs that move in constants upward by addition; 2+2=4, 4+2=6, 6+2=8, etc., exponential functions move by multiplications; 2×2=4, 4×2=16, 16×4=64, 64×16=1024, so things escalate quickly.  Word-of-mouth, according to Gladwell, works in much the same way; groups of people spread popular events and sociological phenomena exponentially.

We at the Charleston Music Hall love comedy and have housed famous comedians such as Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation, Bill Burr from The Chappelle’s Show, and Wyatt Cenac from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  The Charleston comedy scene has been on our radar for a while, so when we decided to do a local showcase we already had a few comedians in mind.  Vince Fabra, hailed as “The greatest comedian of all time” by his mother, told jokes in a sketch group translation similar to his work in “Peanut Butter Buddy Time”, and his co-writer credits on “The Importance of Being Awkward”.  Dusty Slay, winner of the 2011 and 2012 Charleston Comedy Festivals Stand-Up Comedy competition, and “2013 Best Local Comic” by the readers of the Charleston City Paper, told a set of relatively clean material accented by his unbelievable whit and ability to lead the listener through a hilarious journey with punch lines built up to perfection.  Evan Berke, the night’s headliner, performed a bitter sweet show, as he said goodbye to Charleston.  Berke says in his interview with the Charleston City Paper that “Charleston has been a very productive place for me to build and practice my routine, and I wouldn’t have wanted to get started anywhere else.”  One of our goals at the Charleston Music Hall is to nurture local talent and be a place that supports the local arts. We hope that with the success of this show ,the Charleston comedy scene grows exponentially and that when looking back, this show is a tipping point for many comedians.

– Bennett Jones, CMH

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The Music Hall's Tech Director, Dany Kapp, dressed as the rug (Holding Donny)

The Music Hall’s Tech Director, Dany Kapp, dressed as the rug (Holding Donny)

July 25, 2013

“Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not ‘Mr. Lebowski’. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

We understand, Dude, and that exact passive understanding of who you are is why we have loved you for 15 years.  Can you believe that? The Big Lebowski came out in 1998, a year after the Coen Brother’s won an Oscar for the original screenplay of Fargo, with mixed reviews, but those of us that have watched it countless times over the last decade and a half know that the laid-back (to say the least) content of The Dude, the oblivious whimsy of Donnie, and the unchecked aggression, it’s about drawing a line in the sand after all, of Walter, hit us in a special way unlike many other movies.

When brainstorming about how to blast off the Charleston City Paper and Charleston Music Hall film partnership it was not long before the annual Lebowski Fest in Milwaukee was brought up.  Costumes, trivia, White Russians, a cult-classic movie, and what-have-you is a recipe for too much fun. Once the initial seed was planted, the members of the City Paper and the Charleston Music Hall decided to contact The Alley, a bar with 8 lanes of retro bowling, a 40 foot signature bar made from a reclaimed bowling lane, and enough vintage arcade games to make the cast of King of Kong: Fist Full of Quarters have a full on conniption fit at first glance.  The Alley sealed down the ever-present White Russians and the all-important post-screening party.

The Charleston Music Hall filled up with patrons dressed in costumes from the classic bath robe and goatee to the hallucinogenic inspired Maude bowling ball/Viking outfit that could have come from an occasional acid flashback. Popcorn popped, cold brews flowed, and laughter filled the Music Hall.  It was exciting to finally view the movie I have seen countless times in a small setting on the big screen.  Of the hundreds that attended, most would not have been old enough in 1998 to have seen the film in a movie theatre.  There is something special about the connection you feel when you sit in a room full of people that love what you love and can anticipate some of the greatest scenes in the movie, such as when the classical guitar plucks of “Hotel California” roll in and “Jesus,” clad in his purple bowling onsie, steps up to bowl.  It is one thing to watch the film alone, wonderfully enjoyable, but this viewing of The Big Lebowski seemed bigger than that, because everyone was so excited to be together collectively enjoying something that has been permanently stamped on pop culture forever.

When the movie ended bike taxis took the movie-goers to The Alley, where they received a free Caucasian with their movie ticket thanks to Finlandia Vodka.   At The Alley there was trivia, a costume contest, and of course, bowling.  Enjoying the movie was only half the fun it turned out.  The people of Charleston really out did themselves, with creative costumes and an intimate knowledge of the film.  It was hard to escape quotes and puns based on the movie, and everyone was perfectly fine with that, because after all, The Dude abides.

– Bennett Jones, CMH

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July 13, 2013

Our Youth Will Never End: Why is nostalgia so powerful?

            I think it is due time Charleston admits openly, once and for all, that it has a major man-crush on Bill Murray. Who can blame us? From the kooky groundskeeper in Caddyshack to the sardonic scientist in Ghostbusters, the guy has a direct tap to our funny-bones. Brendan James, Steven Fiore, and the staff of the Charleston Music Hall are a group of fan boys just like the rest of the Holy City, overcome by the charm of Mr. Murray’s certain brand of comedy, so when we were brainstorming set design for the upcoming CD release show of Simplify by Brendan James and Youth and Magic by Steven Fiore, Wes Anderson’s most recent film Moonrise Kingdom, starring Bill Murray, was first on the list.

For those who have not seen the film, the film’s TRAILER is good enough for this blog to make sense. Anderson’s aesthetic is the ultimate in post-modern-super-stylish-hipster-dreamy-nostalgia.  The Charleston Music Hall, stepped in history since 1849, is no stranger to nostalgia with a major draw of our venue being the fact that the stage used to be a train turnaround table.  The combination of the childhood wonder of Moonrise Kingdom,  the message of Brendan James’ album, specifically lyrics such as, “You are my ally/ If you can so can I / SIMPLIFY,” and Steven Fiore’s love of laser guns, childhood bedtime stories, and his cat made so much sense to us.  Simplicity. Childhood. A time with less worry but potent confusion. Growing up.  The stage was set, pun intended, for a night of wonderment.

DSC_0049Steven Fiore’s vocals came off as a tour de force, reverberating off the bodies, walls, and columns of the hall with meaning. Music is his medium, and he sings to explain his past, present, and future.  Sultry lap slide guitar (Josh Kaler) mixed with the soft, yet powerful, horn section (Hooray for the Whites!) bounced up and down to the driving kick drum (Michael McCrea), complimenting the falsetto qualities of a capoed acoustic guitar at center stage.  Fans of Fiore’s music expected quality, but this was a performance of another level, something special, ethereal, that everyone watching grasped to understand, and then when each chorus drove the point home, we all sighed in mutual admiration for the performers on stage. The crowed was hungry for more.

Brendan James started his set with a teaser to his new music video, the single track off his newest release Simplify.  The curtain raised as the band began to play along to the video, and then they charged ahead through the piano-driven set.  The precipice came when James, accompanied by an extremely talented guitar player and drummer, danced through “Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan.  “If you’re traveling in the North Country fair/where the winds hit heavy on the borderline/remember me to one who lives there/for she was once a true love of mine.”  The song was set-up with a great anecdote by James about his journey to climb a mountain, sheer, slick, and terrifying.  Covers of famous songs are always dangerous; What if you don’t do them justice? What if the crowd likes the original better? How do I make someone else’s art my own? No worries Brendan James, you absolutely killed it.

This show was one of the most rewarding shows that the Charleston Music Hall has ever done.  Planning the show was unlike anything done before.  We want to do more than just put on shows.  We want to create unique experiences for both the artist and the audience, and this show was a test of how a venue can customize for artists.  The artists were some of our personal favorites.  Set designing took skills that we had never flexed before.  All of the hard work paid off with a night that will live on in our memories, and one day we will look back and there will be nostalgia for history’s perfection.

– Bennet Jones, CMH

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DSC_0048July 12, 2013

Charleston is often times considered the cultural hub of South Carolina. With industry in the area growing, most recently with the addition of Boeing, the area seems only poised to continue urbanization.  In comparison to the Upstate, which is foothills and mountains, the coast, with access to import and export, has been historically a place for the spreading of ideas, art, and philosophy.  Mercantilism starts with business and ends up in the exchange of ideas. Bluegrass music is tied to the mountains, and rightly so.  The evolution of bluegrass and country music is deeply rooted in rural towns and villages, characterized by simple chord progressions, acoustic instrumentation, and beautiful multi-part harmonies.  Simplicity is lost in urban areas, hustle-and-bustle, traffic, sirens at all hours.

Awendaw Green and the Charleston Music Hall have teamed up to bring some of the rural simplicity of the mountains to the growth of downtown Charleston.  We all need escape.  Spreadsheets, memos, e-mails, and the daily grind of office work can drive anyone crazy, “Yeeeaaahhh, I’m gonna need those T.P.S. reports by Friday, thaaannnkkksssss”, buzzes the famous evil boss, Bill Lumbergh, from Office Space.  The hope with the Grass in the Hall series is to bring the best bluegrass/country/americana/folk music from around the country to Charleston, and in turn give us all a little relief from our nine-to-five. On the docket for the fourth installment were Underhill Rose, Barefoot Movement, and Flatt City.

DSC_0093Underhill Rose, from Asheville, North Carolina mix rock, jam, jazz, and R&B to create a unique roots sound with absolutely breathtaking three-part harmonies.  “My very first CD was Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nathion, since Michael Jackson pretty much ruled MTV, they both influenced my tastes in my formative years,” Eleanor Underhill told the Charleston City Paper.  “Throw in TLC, En Vogue, and Mary J. Blige, and you can see how R&B made its way into my musical psyche.”  These three girls were so talented, weaving their harmonies, guitar, and banjo together in perfect unison.

Barefoot Movement returned to the Charleston Music Hall stage after helping us kick off The Grass in the Hall Series back in March.  It is hard to put into words just how talented these four young people are.  They were finishing up a six month tour that brought them all around the country.  The tour sharpened their craft with a stage presence exuding a newly found confidence.  We were amazed at how much t

his young band had progressed in four short months.

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Flatt City, from Charleston, South Carolina, is a five piece bluegrass band that has a specific blend of bluegrass.  They are driven by strong instrumentation layered wit

h strong vocal harmonies; the heart and soul of bluegrass. The mix is a concoction of traditional mountain music melded with modern sources.  Banjos, fiddles, and mandolins all took turn with solos to the crowds delight.

With the introduction of Underhill Rose, the return of Barefoot Movement, and the local flavor of Flatt City, the fourth iteration of Grass in the Hall was one that thrilled everyone in the audience.  An escape from the day-to-day to a world with handmade crafts, axe throwing, bow and arrows, forests, lakes, fly fishing, and a cold beer.

– Bennett Jones, CMH

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June 15, 2o13

Yes, it is true.  The Music Hall hosts weddings, metal bands, and free shows, and this triumvirate of good collided last Saturday night with the celebration of Andrew and Jane’s day of betrothal.  Andrew Higdon is the Music Hall’s in-house sound technician and is most certainly one of the best in the land.  His versatile mixing skills combined with his dedication and knowledge of the craft of sound makes him irreplaceable.  Andrew mixes everything from twenty piece big band jazz groups, to solo blues guitarists, to metal bands, and he knows how to make the sound of the room match the style of music being performed on stage.  As I often say, the Music Hall boasts the best sound in the South and a large part of our amazing sound is due to Andrew.

I was super excited about this event for a number of reasons.  Firstly, we had never hosted a wedding reception at the Music Hall, and I was interested to see how the dynamics would work.  We have recently been brainstorming about how to make the Music Hall a unique wedding venue discussing everything from extending the stage for a dance floor, taking out seats for dining tables, and how to utilize the building and companies around the Music Hall.  My favorite idea is for the bride and groom to hold the actual ceremony in the Music Hall and then DSC_0178walk down our beautiful alleyway to Marion Square where they have a giant tent set up right outside of the Embassy Suites.  They then combine the tent and the atrium of the hotel to have one killer reception (hint, hint, we can make this happen if anyone is interested).  Secondly, I love weddings.  Thirdly, I love working with Andrew Higdon and consider him a great friend and was excited to celebrate this day with him.  Finally, we were hosting some amazing music that evening with Charlton Singleton’s Jazz Quartet and a free concert performed by the classic Charleston ’90s metal band, Children’s Choir, which was definitely the topping on the proverbial wedding cake.  It was an amazing creative process putting on this event.  Let me break it down for you.

 

 

 

 

9 a.m.  – Open Doors, Drink Copious Amounts of Coffee

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Children’s Choir Sound Check

12 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Set Up Upstairs Foyer for Reception

3 p.m. – Wedding Cake and Cupcakes Arrive

3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Run Around Frantically, Set Up the Bar, Set Up Highlight Lights

6 p.m. – Guests Arrive

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Upstairs Reception with Food and Drink and Cheer

7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Charlton Singleton (Trumpeter, Singer, and Maestro of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra) plays a private show for Wedding Guest with a four piece Jazz Band

8:30 p.m. – People beging gathering outside the Music Hall for the free show open to the public

9:00 p.m. – Doors open for Concert

10:00 p.m. – Midnight – Children’s Choir rocks everyone’s faces.  Joy, merriment, and marital bliss ensues

It turns out, the Charleston Music Hall can be an incredible and unique space to host a wedding or reception.  I want to thank everyone involved that evening especially, Charlton Singleton, Bennett Jones, and of course, Children’s Choir.  It was a wedding reception many will not soon forget.

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– Charles Carmody, Director, CMH

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