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Searson, Rathkeltair

Rock-tinged Irish bands (or Irish-tinged rock bands, take your pick) have always gone over better there than more traditional fare in this venue (formerly known as O’Connell’s Irish Pub), so it’s no surprise that this weekend they’ve got a double shot of rollicking, uptempo, feel-good music on draught.

First up is Searson, a Canadian group that defines themselves as “kick-ass Celtic”. With a lineup that includes two lead female fiddlers, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, mandolin, and bodhran, this close-knit family band has been a featured attraction at major clubs and Irish festivals throughout North America. Their fresh, contemporary good looks and exceptional musicianship and stepdancing make them one of the finest touring acts this pub has booked to date.

The next night, Rathkeltair returns for their first Savannah date since the 2005 Irish Festival. This acclaimed combo features members of brand-name Irish rock acts like Seven Nations and Celtic Soul, and leans in a much harder direction than Searson. Fri. (Searson) & Sat., (Rathkeltair), Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub. - Music Ed. note: The listing above mistakenly ran in last week’s issue. All apologies for any confusion this may have caused...

Claudia Nygaard

Local luthier and bluegrass promoter Randy Wood branches out yet again by bringing in a celebrated acoustic singer/songwriter who’s not particularly in the traditional vein.

This seasoned Nashville acoustic singer/songwriter finds inspiration in the splintery storytelling of tunesmiths like John Prine, Willie Nelson and Guy Clark. With a strong and sensual voice and a sophisticated lyrical sense (which often pokes fun at the gender gap), the Kerrville Folk Fest Finalist’s been called “a female Will Rogers without the rope.”

Her last record was chosen as one of the Top 12 Albums of The Year by Country Music Magazine.

Claudia has strong ties to this area, yet only performs here once or twice a year. Anyone who appreciates mature, accomplished, heartfelt songs delivered with a palpable sense of passion and immediacy should consider making this show. Advance tickets are only $10 and can be purchased by calling 748-1930. Sat., 7:30 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (Bloomingdale).

Bolt, i am not a little bus

Both of these intense and heavy instrumental post-rock bands are opening for the fantastic NYC trio Darediablo (see Music Interview), but are deserving of mention on their own merits.

Columbia, South Carolina’s Bolt has released two CDs of challenging, metal-tinged soundscapes that employ eerie atmospherics, twitchy rhythms, and subtle dynamic shifts. I their more proggy moments you can practically hear them bucking under the weight of their calculus textbooks, but there’s also a noticeable sense of self-aware humor that shines through to lighten the load. This is brainy music for those who don’t mind waiting a while for the hammer to fall.

Local cult trio i am not a little bus ramp everything up another notch. Known for their over-the-top and draining live shows (they have yet to release a proper LP), they too can sometimes get too caught up in the trees to adequately suss the forest, but – in their finest moments – the hodgepodge of frenetic percussion, stomach-churning bass and squirrelly guitar caterwauls lock up into a breathtaking cacophony. Fri., The Jinx.

Keith Kozel & The Foxedos w/Doug Boykin

Since its inception a few months back, this interesting monthly showcase series has really begun to pick up steam, and, while it’s still too early to tell if it will maintain the level of interest and goodwill it has engendered to date, all systems appear to be on go.

The brainchild of GAM frontman (and aspiring anti-folk artist) Keith Kozel, the series finds he and The Foxedos (multi-instrumentalists Sebastian Edwards and Ricardo Ochoa) seeking out local songwriting talent, and convincing them to sit in with the band.

The hook is that the songwriter must either be a relative unknown to the public stage, or – if already a presence in the local music community – they must agree to rearrange and present their material in a radically different format from that which they (and their fans) are used to.

Each show is a premiere of sorts, and usually a one-off performance, not to be repeated.

This month’s installment features the “Redneck Cabaret” of budding guitarist and tunesmith Doug Boykin, who will spice up his tongue-in-cheek country-folk ditties with real-life tales of hillbilly madness and Nascar lunacy. Thurs., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.