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Life is a Carnival at Lucas proves music scene still flourishing
Local musicians on The Band's influence
A still from Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz

Life is a Carnival: A Tribute to The Band

Wed, November 26, Lucas Theatre for the Arts, $20, 912.525.5050, or Savannah Box Office (216 E. Broughton St.)

THERE'S NOTHING quite like seeing our local musicians get together to perform in unique, unexpected ways. From open mics to Halloween at The Jinx, we're lucky to have a tight-knit community of performers who love nothing more than supporting one another and calling each other up to the stage.

In an exciting new turn, The Train Wrecks and The Accomplices are, ahem, banding together to pay tribute to beloved rock group The Band.

Life is a Carnival: A Tribute to The Band is an all-ages affair held in the luminous Lucas Theatre. In the style of The Last Waltz, The Band’s legendary farewell concert, The Train Wrecks and Accomplices will call guests to help out on beloved hits like “The Weight,” “Ophelia,” and more.

While the star-studded original cast featured Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and others, Savannah’s will highlight some of our most prolific and talented musicians: blues guitar master Eric Culberson, members of bluegrass band City Hotel, Craig Tanner of American Hologram, Ray Lundy of Bottles and Cans, Ricardo Ochoa, and more.

“This show is about bringing our musical community together to not only showcase The Band’s great music but to be able to perform it with all of our friends,” says organizer Eric Dunn of The Train Wrecks. “It’s more of a celebration to me, personally. It’s important for our community to see what’s happening music-wise around here.”

Adds City Hotel’s Aaron Zimmer: “I think that this show is about honoring one of the greatest rock and roll groups of all time, but also about honoring the comradery that exists in the Savannah music scene.” “We’ve all played shows together before, Zimmer explains. “We all swap members from time to time. Colleen Heine (Accomplices) and Jared Hall (Train Wrecks and Velvet Caravan) are both featured on our upcoming record.”

“I heard someone the other day refer to the Savannah scene as ‘a bit incestuous,’” he adds. “I thought that was pretty funny.”

We chatted with the stars of Life is a Carnival about what The Band means to them and what makes this event so special:

THE BAND was some of the first rock ‘n’ roll I ever listened to, as The Band and with Dylan. They always reminded me of the raw blues that I love, and one of the few groups I never get tired of hearing.

As far as the gig goes, I am more than honored to be invited. I get to perform some of my favorite music, in one of the coolest venues in my hometown, with Savannah’s finest. I remember when the Lucas was in a state of disrepair—I was an electrician back in the ‘80s, and the company I was working for actually ran the temporary lights for the renovation. Not long after that I believe Kevin Spacey came through and donated some money. Just to be playing music there after all these years as a profession-al musician is such an arrival for me, very exciting I’m very happy to be a part of it.

Eric Culberson

THE BAND, to me, is a group of uber-talented musicians who simply make and perform top notch music and musicianship as a whole. Their shows were always highly rehearsed, tight, and their songs were meaningful on every level.

Eric Dunn (The Train Wrecks, Velvet Caravan)

THE BAND is one of the main reasons that I play music in the first place. They created some of the best songs ever recorded. We have some incredibly talented local musicians that have gathered to play and I think we’ll convey the spirit of The Band’s music in an entertaining way for our audience.

This much high-end local talent on the same stage at the same time, you can bet that I feel grateful to have the chance to be a part.Shows like this one give folks a good reason to support Savannah’s live music scene.

Ray Lundy (Bottles & Cans)

I’M A CHILD of the 60’s and 70’s. In addition to listening to what was popular on the radio—Beatles, early rock and roll, Southern rock, etc., I got heavily influenced by my Dad’s side of the family, which was littered with a bunch of great bluegrass musicians. My Dad was also heavily into country and western music. So for me, hearing the early Band songs was something I naturally loved. As great as all of these guys were as musicians, the reason they are still as relevant today as ever is amazing songs. The Band’s music is a big inspiration and reminder for me to spend just as much time on my writing as I do on my playing and singing.

Craig Tanner (American Hologram)

MY DAD used to make me listen to The Band, John Prine, Allman Brothers, The Eagles, and Dire Straits cassette tapes over and over again when we used to take his ratty Oldsmobile to and from the store, school, fishing excursions, to pick my sister up from daycare, etc. The same five tapes over and over again. I used to hate The Band...and fishing. Overexposure I guess.

Then I watched The Last Waltz when I was about 15 and thought that Levon and Rick and Richard were just about the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. The Band was my gateway to appreciating really good music.

Aaron Zimmer (City Hotel)