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Jack Williams, Cusses/Niche benefit
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Jack Williams


At 8 p.m. Friday, July 20

Randy Wood Guitars, 1304 US 80, Bloomingdale. $20

The Pickin' Parlor at Randy's place welcomes back a frequent visitor. Williams, whom the late Mickey Newbury once called "a national treasure," is a more-than-accomplished acoustic picker with a distinctive style, a vocalist with deep-woods gravitas, and - best of all - a raconteur and onstage storyteller who can leave you weeping, or doubled up with laughter. He was a regular at Savannah's Nite Flite Café in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Williams, who came close to making an album in the ‘70s with his pal Harry Nilsson as producer, is an accomplished musician who studied at the University of Georgia. "I don't care much for guitar music," he told Connect a few years ago. "If I'm going to hear melodies, I'd rather hear cello, viola, violin, oboe, bassoon. A guitar is a wonderful thing for songwriting and the simple folk approach of presenting a song in its naked aura.

"Guitarists ask me "Where did you get that great voicing of that chord?" And I say it's from my jazz arrangements, or the way the bass moved in a classical piece. So I didn't learn from listening to guitar players - I did learn some rock licks - but as far as the way I play acoustic, finger-style, it was more akin to classical and jazz. I started finger-picking when I heard Stephen Stills play ‘Helplessly Hoping' - I thought, I can do this. And I had it down in about 10 minutes."


Cusses, Niche

At 11 p.m. Saturday, July 21

The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

The three Cusses are still high on life following the national release of the Cusses album; this will be the Savannah band's only hometown show all summer. They are however, shooting a new video in town this week, at Meddin Studios, which could ultimately mean additional exposure and well-deserved attention for our city's hottest rock ‘n' roll trio.

Guitarist Justin Dick and bassist Michael Redmond, the founders of Niche, are longtime musical locals who've been playing together for a dozen years, in a variety of bands. Niche, which also includes drummer Scott Johansen and keyboard player Corey Barhorst, delivers straightforward, Southern-leaning rock. It's old-school, blues-based boogie and infused with punk-like ferocity, all of which you can sample and hold in the grooves of the wonderful debut Niche album, So Be It.

This show is a benefit for Cody Rexrode, an employee at Vinnie Van Go Go’s who was involved in a hit–and–run (a car hit Cody’s bicycle, and ran). He has no health insurance, of course, and so his bud Angel Bond of Cusses organized this benefit, which will include an auction of works by local artists including Panhandle Slim, Kenny Ward, Laura Dinillo, Stacie Albano, Juliana Peloso and others

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