ELIZABETH ARYNN /THE RIVER MONKS
At 10 p.m. Thursday, May 26
Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St.
Arin Eaton of Des Moines, Iowa uses the stage name Elizabeth Arynn; she writes whimsical folk/pop songs, which she sings in that dry, ironic sort of Ingrid Michaelson/Regina Spektor voice that everyone seems to love. She was, by the way, born in Lexington, S.C. Arynn and her band (including co-vocalist Scott Yoshimura) are touring as part of "Pals Forever," an all-Iowan package that includes the band River Monks.
That'd be Ryan Stier, Joel Gettys, Drew Rausch and Nick Frampton; their band is right out of the Fleet Foxy, Iron & Winey school (acoustic guitars, lush harmony vocals, inspirational melodies) and the added bonus of twin ukuleles. The River Monks have a brand-new album out, Jovials.
To check our their music, go to soniccloud.com and type in therivermonks, elizabetharynn
THE ROYAL NOISE
At 10 p.m. Thursday, May 27
Second Line, 306 Upper Factors Walk
Also: At 10 p.m. Saturday, May 28
Molly MacPherson’s Scottish Pub, 311 W. Congress St.
Also: At 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 31
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St.
Guitarist Johan Harvey grew up in Malaysia - he's half Chinese, half Australian and all musician. He and his wife lived in Philadelphia for a while, where Harvey - a self-taught player - fell hard for jazz and funk. "Jazz being the only true American art form that's music centered on improvisation, whereas funk is dancing and having sex standing up, basically," he says. "And where the two meet beautifully, that's where I get my mail."
The Harveys tried Florida for a while, and finding it "too Florida," they relocated again to Savannah, which they both loved.
Harvey spent a year and change in the Savannah R&B/jazz band A Nickel Bag of Funk before striking out on his own. "That really is like being at university," he says, "trying to keep up with Leslie and the circle of musicians that she's involved with. She's a fantastic performer."
He called his offshoot group the Royal Noise Trio. "For the music that I love to play - very New Orleans-infused, funky jazz, the swanky side of jazz - I picked from that crop of musicians and just put it together," Harvey explains.
The word trio is gone from the name now. Along with Harvey on guitar, Royal Noise includes drummer Vuc Pavlovic, bassist Darius Shepherd and saxophonist Mike Labombard (who's also in Domino Effect). They sometimes augment with piano and/or organ. "It's predominantly instrumental," says Harvey. "We do sing from time to time. But not well."
But seriously, folks: "Trying to market a band without vocals in this town has been a real challenge. We're pretty high energy and interactive with the crowd, we're a lot of fun. Definitely pushing that envelope."