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Brian McKnight, Lion Versus
Brian McKnight


At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20

Johnny Mercer Theatre, Savannah Civic Center

301 W. Oglethorpe. Tickets $45-$75

McKnight has sold more than 20 million albums, including the multi-platinum Back At One (1999). Biggest hits: "Back At One," "You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time)," "Hold Me," "The Way Love Goes."

Not only is he an exemplary R&B singer with a range from sweet to soulful to stirring (from his early days, no doubt, in his church choir), he's a record producer, musical arranger and a guy who plays nine instruments extremely well. R&B is his forte; jazz, he says, is what makes his blood flow.

He has also hosted a syndicated TV talk program (The Brian McKnight Show), a morning radio show, has performed red carpet duties for BET and E!, and was a contestant on the second season of Celebrity Apprentice. On Broadway, he played Billy Flynn in the Kander-Ebb musical Chicago.

This tour, for his Just Me album, will include McKnight's sons Niko and BJ, plus McKnight's astonishingly talented older brother Claude McKnight Jr., a founder of Take 6.

Savannah native Anthony David will open the concert, along with young people enrolled in AWOL's Act Up theater and performing arts troupe with an original dance piece. See


At 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20

Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park St. $5

For two years, starting in 2006, Lion Versus was Savannah's top neo-folk band. With songwriter Hilary White on vocals, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica and other things, Lion Versus was more like a collective, with musicians coming and going, with White's quirky southern gothic narratives to the fore, heavy on dark harmonies and arrangements that explored bold new places.

She was a SCAD student at the time. "I started playing house shows when I lived there, and it grew from there," White explains. "A friend of mine played viola, then there was a violin/cello player and a drummer. We were there for about two years playing out."

Just after graduation, White got married and relocated to Philadelphia. It didn't take long for Lion Versus - she decided to keep the name - re-emerged, fluid as always. "The whole idea, for me, was to continually be in a collaborative effort with other musicians, and for it never to be just about one person," she says. "That's why I think it's grown to eight members here in Philadelphia. It's crazy, but when all of us get together we can make some really great music."

The Philly players won't be at this Sentient Bean show, but will feature White performing with several of her original Savannah pals: Viola player Jason Kofke, drummer and sound engineer Will Manning, and multi-instrumentalist Mike Fleming. "He's an amazing musician who can play almost anything," White enthuses. "You can put an instrument in his hands, and he plays it." See