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What's Next: The Avett Brothers
How 'bout them Oaks? Look for the boys to hit town next month

Here on the edge of the Savannah Music Festival, with so much cool stuff coming our way over the next three weeks, the announcement that the Avett Brothers are coming to town in June might easily go unnoticed.

Of course, this is a big deal, so let's shout it from the rooftops: The Avett Brothers will perform in the Johnny Mercer Theatre June 11. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 19.

North Carolina's Seth and Scott Avett form the core of this group, with standup bassist Bob Crawford. On the acoustic side, the band explores the past, present and future of country, folk and rock 'n' roll, and treads lightly into the places between the lines.

I and Love and You, the Avett Brothers' major-label debut album (it made Billboard's Top Five), was produced by the estimable Rick Rubin, of Johnny Cash and Tom Petty fame.

Watch these pages for more.

And now, the Oaks

On that note, it would be easy to yawn over the announcement that the Oak Ridge Boys have been booked into the Mercer Theatre April 30.

The Oaks, as they're known, represent a bygone era in commercial country music - the post-Urban Cowboy ‘80s, when pop, and rock ‘n' roll, began seeping in and rendering the music generic, without character. You know, the way it is now.

I'm here to tell you that I saw the Oak Ridge Boys perform live about 18 months ago, and it was a great show.
One needs to remember that these four guys, taken without the sometimes-saccharine tunes, the bright gold logo and the unsettling memories of the crass and commercial ‘80s, are terrific vocalists.

What the Oaks do is pretty much traditional four-part harmony - it has roots in barbershop, you can hear that - and for all the years they've been singing together, they still put the focus on that wonderful blend.

And hey, they all look so different, especially tenor William Lee Golden, he of the long, white hair and beard. He's very tall, and he looks for all intents and purposes like a member of ZZ Top who stepped onto the wrong tour bus.

Duane Allen, who still wears a natty suit onstage, is a dead ringer for famously grumpy talk-show host Ralph Emery. Joe Bonsall, who back in the day sported an unruly white-guy Afro, has close-cropped, white hair now. He remains the group's limber, onstage cheerleader.

And Richard Sterban, with the oom-pah baritone voice, has ditched the three-piece suits of the salad days for jeans and blazer. He has long, ratty hair and the chin beard of a motorcycle-riding hipster.

Their show is a whole lot of fun to see and hear.

Sure, an Oak Ridge Boys has a built-in nostalgia factor, that's unavoidable. But they started out, way, way back, as musicians. And they can still deliver the goods.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, March 19 at

Mo' Broadway

Sure, it's a ways off, but we thought you might like to know that the 2010-11 Broadway in Savannah season (the ninth such) has been announced. Subscriptions are already on sale through the Savannah Civic Center; the shows are all presented in the Johnny Mercer Theatre. Here we go:

The Color Purple, Jan. 6; Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Feb. 3; Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles, March 1; Mamma Mia!, April 6.

Go to for ticket prices, et cetera.