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Gail Thurmond

While many bemoan the loss of Emma Kelly, Savannah’s “Lady of 6,000 Songs,” there is another female pianist and singer who has been tickling the ivories in the downtown historic district for years to less fanfare, but no less goodwill and loyalty on the part of her admirers.

As the house act at this cozy bar in the basement of the celebrated Olde Pink House Restaurant, Gail has worked 6 nights a week for well over a decade. Her deft touch on the keys, as well as a catalog of showtunes, jazz standards, regional favorites and light pop fare has made her something of a fixture of Savannah nightlife.

While the Tavern serves as bar for the entire eatery, it also functions as a standalone hang with its own entrance, and folks arrive early each evening to secure a spot near Gail’s piano (conveniently by the fireplace).

She’s recorded and released a couple of indie albums that are several steps above mementos hawked to tourists. Libations plus dessert plus Gail Thurmond equals one of those quintessential Savannah evenings that are all too rare in 2006. If you’ve never experienced this, what are you waiting for?Tues. - Sun., The Planter’s Tavern (beneath The Olde Pink House Restaurant).


Doug Carn

Fondly remembered by many locals for his tenure as co-owner and regular attraction at the now-defunct Adagio Jazz Club, this keyboardist is known far and wide as the top-selling artist on the pioneering 1970s indie record label Black Jazz. Currently residing in Florida, Doug gigs regionally as a bandleader and occasionally travels to New York City, West Africa and other exotic locales to perform as a celebrated sideman.

Primarily an organist, the often taciturn Carn is also a nuanced jazz vocalist as well. Thursday’s gig at this swanky lounge overlooking the city’s largest square will focus on his interpretive singing, while the following night finds him in an even lesser-known bag: world music.

This is a test run for more world music themed shows. So, if you dig evocative jazz painted with an unusually diverse sonic palette, turn out for this free show, and support widening the scope of the local music scene. Thurs., 7 pm, + Fri., 9 pm, The Mansion on Forsyth Park.

The Draft

This melodic punk quartet from Gainesville, Fl. features all 3 former members of the well-regarded Hot Water Music, and does a great job of balancing the more cliché elements of this almost-played-out genre with a fresh viewpoint that deftly avoids the more egregious moments of artistic cannibalism that have sadly become the norm in these post-emo times. Their chiming twin guitar lines, propulsive drumming and concise pop arrangements mesh wonderfully with earnest vocals that strain at times, but rarely resort to ineffective and ill-conceived screaming. Atlanta’s The Paper Champions and Savannah’s Two Days of Freedom open. Fri., 10 pm, The Jinx.

Liquid Ginger

Several years on, this locally-based group still boasts one of the largest and most devoted followings in the area. While they have released two above average indie CDs that have each gained regional airplay (and hold their own quality-wise with many major-label efforts), most of their live shows are still geared toward playing all night and pleasing the crowd. That means LG combines their catchy, radio-friendly originals with a heavy dose of tried-and-true covers designed to keep folks on their feet, and sugar the pill.

Ginger Fawcett works hard to pull off the moves, stage presence and vocal mannerisms that are required in this rather demanding milieu, and it shows. The rest of the group holds their own as well, balancing the “rock star” showmanship such an image-conscious genre demands, while laying down a very solid foundation for their frontwoman to build on. If you’re looking for an example of radio-friendly adult-oriented pop-rock, you’ll not likely find a better example in our area. Fri. - Sat., 9:30 pm, Scandals (Tybee).

Jess Pillmore

This beguiling “folktronica” artist (her term, not mine) literally oozes a self-assured vision and attitude on her latest indie CD. The product of a musical family (her dad was a member of Southern rock could-have-beens Cowboy), her crypto-poetic delivery plays like the NYC-cool inner dialogues of Suzanne Vega and Jim Carroll crossed with the power-pop leanings of Jennifer Trynin and the unpredictable shifts of middle-period PJ Harvey.

She gets copious percussion help from Tori Amos alum Matt Chamberlain, and the dense, layered bubble and skronk production of Reveal is –unlike most similarly approached projects– more sonically appropriate than not. Absorb the names I’ve dropped and then forget them, as even at this early stage in her career, Pillmore is easily more than the sum of those parts. Local singer/songwriter Lauren Lapointe opens. Sat., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.