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Adam Hood

Ever since The Black Crowes burst on the national scene in the early 1990s, they’ve been an easy reference point for earnest – if derivative – British-style rock with a American soul influence.

That’s only fair, since to many 30 and under (who had not previously cultivated an abiding interest in pioneering acts like The Small Faces or The Herd), The Crowes were the first real taste they received in the mainstream media of that sort of velvet-trousered dandyism.

The ersatz Stax-Volt vocal tics and knockoff Muscle Shoals chord progressions that the Robinson brothers rode to their initial brush with success continue to resonate with up-and-coming songwriters today. Many simply use the Crowes (and their ilk) as the jumping off point for their own exploits, while others dig deeper and seek out the inspirations those Atlanta hucksters learned (read: stole) from.

There’s no way to know if Adam Hood fell for The Crowes shtick, but one thing’s for sure – he’s got their game down pat. In fact, I’d venture to say that many folks would much rather examine his explorations of the same building blocks than those of his more famous brethren.

The 28-year old from Eastern Central Alabama has the voice and the vibe to make a serious go of this as a successful career, and he’s well on his way. He recently opened for some of the biggest acts at Birmingham’s giant City Stages festival – including Tony Joe White (chomp!), Shelby Lynn and Loretta Lynn.

He’s based in the college town of Auburn, and tours frequently throughout the Southeast. He lists such respected Americana tunesmiths as John Hiatt and Steve Earle as inspirations, and it shows.

With the release of his first full-length album (the live set 21 to Enter), he’s quit his day job as a land surveyor and plays as many as 25 shows a month – most of them as a solo act or accompanied only by a second guitar.

He’s been called “a master storyteller” by one critic, and if you appreciate relatively unadorned songs that come from the gut, you may want to make this show. Wed., JJ Cagney’s.

The Ex Lovers

Fans of boozy, offhanded alt.rock like The Replacements or the wilder moments conjured up by the fabled Memphis ne’er do wells Big Star (think “O My Soul”), will get a kick out of this Nashville (by way of Hilton Head, Charleston and California) group that’s definitely not to be confused with fellow bang-up Tennesseans The Ex-Husbands (who used to play down here on a regular basis).

This group crafts instantly likable pop songs that are filtered through some serious slash-and-burn guitar and then given a heaping teaspoonful of vitriol courtesy of some of the more insistently jaded vocals I’ve heard in some time.

With sworn allegiance to The Ramones, The Who, beat up Buicks and thrift-store couches, The Ex Lovers are that rarest of commodity in the year 2004: a kickass little diamond in the rough that seems to care very, very deeply about not really giving a shit. Fri., The Jinx.

The Christian Tamburr Quartet

Tamburr is a young vibraphone prodigy who’s barely old enough to drink, but has been performing since the age of 14, and has already played with such legends as Dave Brubeck, Milt Hinton, Bucky Pizarelli, Michael Feinstein, Clark Terry, James Moody, Milt Hilton, Dick Hyman, Eric Marienthal and Marcus Printup.

How’s that for impressive?

He’s also toured the country and played extended stints in Las Vegas. Named Top Collegiate Soloist by the prestigious Down Beat Magazine, he’s an accomplished pianist, keyboardist, organist, drummer and orchestral percussionist, in addition to the vibes.

In fact, almost 8 years ago, critic Rick Fay wrote of Tamburr, "During his set the seasoned listener could hear echoes of all the great vibesmen, Hampton, Norvo, Milt Jackson. It is a lead pipe cinch this player will take his place among them." Fri. - Sat., The Jazz Corner (The Village at Wexford, Hilton Head).


With a mellow and slyly engaging sound reminiscent of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Jars of Clay and the less irritating efforts of the Barenaked Ladies, this Asheville, North Carolina group flirts with the jam-band tag, but can usually be counted on to reel in those tendencies for the sake of succinct, occasionally hypnotic pop songs.

Named for a small Mississippi town on the outskirts of the Delta, their second indie CD showcases jangly melodies, solid drumming and a self-effacing vocal style. It was chosen as one of the top 12 DIY releases of last year by Performing Songwriter Magazine.

They currently tour from New York to Florida, and are slowly gaining a rep as one of the more refreshing bands on an often stagnant scene. Sat., O’Connell’s Irish Pub.