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2nd Annual Tybee Island Music & Seafood Festival

Anticipation seems to be high this year for the second in what promises to be an ongoing series of outdoor festivals.

Held in the giant parking lot just behind the North Beach Grill restaurant near the historic lighthouse, this event is surely the largest of its kind this community will see all season.

Geared toward kids as well as adults, it brings together some of the biggest regional names in country, shag, soul and party music – along with a handful of local food and beer vendors.

The two-day party begins on Friday, evening with Savannah’s own Liquid Ginger, a popular modern rock and pop band that has topped our local Readers’ Poll two years running. They’ll be followed by headliners The Swingin’ Medallions (“Hey, Baby”), a top national draw among beach music enthusiasts for decades.

Things kick into high gear Saturday afternoon with Jimmy Buffet tribute band A1A, followed by the legendary blind soul singer Clarence Carter (known for the Muscle Shoals gems “Slip Away” and “Patches,” as well as the raunchy 1980s novelty hit “Strokin’”), The Tams (featuring original member Charles Pope), and a special set by The Swingin’ Medallions which includes a guest appearance by some of their founding members.

Saturday night, the mood shifts to country music with “Boots on the Beach,” featuring Georgia’s own Kinchafoonee Cowboys, followed by Nashville’s Blue County (who enjoyed a Top 25 chart hit this year). Finally, the whole shindig wraps up with yet another set by the Medallions.

Last year the festival drew a crowd of over 10,000, and this year, promoter Bob Hearn of Sounds of The South says he expects to sell at least as many tickets. According to Hearn, many folks only come for one of the two days, and some only come after the withering sun goes down. He estimates there will be between 5,000 and 7,000 people within the gated festival area throughout the weekend.

Additionally, this year the promoters are adding a unique feature, co-sponsored by Comcast. The local cable system will shoot the concert, and send it via closed circuit onto a giant video wall beside the stage, so that folks in the back can get a great view of the performers. They’ll also pipe it into the covered food court area, so you can take a lunch or dinner break without missing a note.

Comcast will also be taping the concerts for future broadcast on their local access channel, so beach music fans shouldn’t fret if they can’t make the show.

Tickets will be sold at the gate or in advance at the Savannah Civic Center box office. Call 1-800-351-7469 for more info. Fri. - Sat., Tybee Beach by the North Beach Grill.

Ken Will Morton

This Atlanta-based songwriter and lapsed power-punk has symbolically changed his middle name from Bill to Will, and claims his will is the only thing that’s keeping him “forging ahead in his life.”

He’s been a musician for 15 years, and a songwriter for 10, and says he’s “in love with the intangibility and intimacy that comes from music from the soul.”

After a short stint in the much-better-than-average Atlanta group The Indicators, he started out on his own, determined to lead the prototypical vagabond life of an Americana tunesmith. By the looks of his activities so far, he may just be on the right path.

His solo debut is much more impressive than the last Indicators album, and reveals a man whose voice sounds weathered and beaten, tired and torn. Easily-found similarities to the affected drawls of early Springsteen and middle-period Mellencamp are already being cribbed and passed on by deadline-bound writers of my ilk, but that doesn’t make the observations any less valid.

Weather the grizzled, sun-bleached persona the newly-christened Morton showcases on this record is a put-on remains to be seen. Besides, even if it is a put-on, it feels right, like an old pair of boots. Sat., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.

Foggy Bottom

This quartet of roots-oriented musicians from Murfreesboro, Tennessee formed in 1997, but a while back relocated a few miles to the original music capital of the South, Nashville. Since then have been earning strong press and a growing audience for their organic mixture of delta blues, acoustic folk and traditional, melodic Southern rock.

Named after a train stop near George Washington University, the group is known for rich harmony vocals, and a knack for crafting memorable songs.

They’ve been likened to the catchier side of The Grateful Dead, but the group’s main inspiration seems to be the approach of Jerry Joseph – another song-oriented artist who has crossed over to success in the jam band scene.

Foggy Bottom have shared bills with Col. Bruce Hampton, The Derek Trucks Band, Merle Saunders, The North Mississippi All-stars, The Marshall Tucker Band, and their heroes Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons.

Never ones to be pinned down, one of their guitarists recently noted, “We’re currently trying to take ourselves in all directions.” Thurs., JJ Cagney’s.