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Gregory Douglass, Ben Bowne

With comparisons to such well-known and highly-revered artists as the late Jeff Buckley, Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel, and Bjork, this contemporary folk/pop artist has a lot to live up to.

However, many in the industry are calling him one of the most promising such talents in an awfully long while. Besides winning the 2003 GrammyFest in New York City, he’s been receiving accolades like this:

"He’s simply the most remarkable new talent I've heard in a decade. A brilliant, intelligent songwriter with an expressive and versatile voice... this is among the finest recordings I can remember..." says Will Ackerman, the famed founder of Windham Hill Records.

Just don’t confuse him with the other songwriting Greg Douglass. That cat used to gig with Terry & the Pirates and the late, great John Cipollina.

Opener Bowne has lived in NYC and Austin, and is said to bring a roots-rock energy to his neo-soul and reggae-influenced acoustic tunes. Sat., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.

Cuarteto Latinoamericano

In honor of National Hispanic Month (as designated by the Smithsonian Institution), the Lucas Theatre presents this internationally-famed string quartet. They’ve had over fifty works written specifically for them, and have premiered over a hundred original pieces throughout the Americas and Europe.

While they’re in town, they’ll perform at local schools (and also give a free show with a South Carolina-based dance troupe at the Bull Street Public Library on Thursday from 5 to 8 pm), their Lucas show will feature old classics, like Villa-Lobos’ String Quartet #1, and Astor Piazzolla’s "Four for Tango" alongside new works by two contemporary women composers, Gabriela Ortiz Torres and Gabriela Lena Frank. If successful, they hope to return every year at this time. Tickets start at $15, and are on sale now at the theatre box office. Thurs., 8 pm, Lucas Theatre.

Meat Loaf’s Hurricane Benefit

Here’s a show that’s bound to be one to remember. When classic-rock warhorse Meat Loaf’s Biloxi, Miss. gig literally disintegrated (along with much of that popular vacation spot) due to Hurricane Katrina’s deadly wind and rain, he was determined to re-route the show and use it as a fundraiser to help the victims.

The concert found a home at our own Oglethorpe Speedway Park, and now closes out the already-scheduled HazzardFest (a tie-in with that crappy Dukes silver screen redux). There’s free admission to that daytime gala, but if you want to stay and see Mr. Loaf (and the rumored “surprise guests” he has personally invited to appear as well), it’s $25. However, they’re advertising that every bit of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross and will be earmarked specifically to help with the restoration of Biloxi.

There will also be a tractor-trailer on hand to be filled with donated non-perishable items like food, diapers and personal hygiene products (no glass allowed). OSP expects this show to sell out, and if it does, they’ll raise close to a quarter of a million dollars for that town alone. For more info, call 964-8200, or go to or To charge tickets by phone, call 964-8200. Sat., 3 pm (show at 7:30 pm), Oglethorpe Speedway Park (Pooler).

Savannah Jazz Fest 2005

While the meat of this year’s Jazz Festival (and it’s world-famous headliners) will come next week, the event starts with a handful of low-key, patio shows at Suzabelle’s Restaurant. These informal concerts are a great way to ease into what is always one of the most eagerly anticipated events in our area.

Sunday at 5 pm, there will be a Jam Session featuring many of Savannah’s best-known jazz players. Monday at 8 pm, The Howard Paul Trio bring their straight-ahead and bop-inspired guitar jazz to this outdoor stage. Tuesday at 8 pm, entertainment is provided by The Barry Greene Trio – and Wednesday at 8 pm, the acclaimed Ragtime pianist David Thomas Roberts is the featured act. No information at press time as to whether there would be a cover charge for any of these great shows... Suzabelle’s (102 East Broad St.).

Isla St. Clair & John Spoore

One of downtown’s newest (and most authentic) pubs welcomes some serious talent. St. Clair is one of Scotland’s foremost vocalists, and was named their Best Female Folk Singer while still in her teens. She blends both traditional and modern tunes with fascinating anecdotes about her heritage (many of which can be seen and heard in the PBS special When The Pipers Play). For this concert, she’ll be joined by the former bagpiper to HM The Queen Mother, Major John Spoore. Cover is only $5. The kitchen will close early at 8:30 pm. Thurs., 9 pm, Molly MacPherson’s Bar & Grill (311 W.Congress St.).