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Tag Archives: Amy Paige Condon

An Isle of Hope abode takes a “master” class from a dynamic design duo.

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Time was, folks thought Georgia barbecue was only about the pig. But the joints, shacks, sheds and roadhouses peppering our near-pristine coast speak to a wider palate that melds equal portions Kansas City, Memphis and Austin with the sharp tang of the Carolinas and the salt of the sea to smoke up something all its own. For this, our annual food issue, we hit the road to discover and name a dozen hot spots for our inaugural barbecue trail. Follow along our finger-lickin’ route, as we travel south to north along the coast. Research and Styling by Jason B. James & Meta Adler  |  Photography Jason B. James

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Keep Calm and Fry a Chicken

An honest-to-goodness Southern food virtuoso gives a couple of kitchen novices a lesson in the joy of cooking. Amy Paige Condon takes notes  |  Photography by Teresa Earnest
Meet Our Guests
View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest Dora Charles For more than 22 years, native daughter Dora filled our bellies with heart-and-soul food—first at The Bag Lady then at The Lady and Sons. Her cookbook, A Real Southern Cook in her Savannah Kitchen (HMH), was released in 2015. Emily Jones You know Emily’s voice as the host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s local “Morning Edition.” She’s also a graduate of Brown University and the Columbia Journalism School, and once hosted the alt-rock Retro Lunch program at WBRU as her DJ alter-ego, Domino. Gabrielle Ware As the all-platform journalist for GPB Savannah and host for “All Things Considered,” Gabrielle has reported on everything from Savannah’s crime rate to Gullah-Geechee culture. A Midwesterner by birth, her family’s roots run deep in the South. She graduated from Auburn University.  
  Typically in this column, we drink. We use two of the most lasting hallmarks of Savannah’s identity—cocktails and colorful conversation—to illuminate a subculture, to teach us something new about ourselves. We’re serving up something different for our annual food issue, however. We wondered, what would happen if we threw a seasoned Southern cook in with two recent come-heres and invited them to make a meal together? We expected some hijinks, lots of questions and a few minor burns when we teamed GPB Savannah’s Emily Jones and Gabrielle Ware with cookbook author Dora Charles. We were going to fry some chicken, after all. But, what surprised us was the depth of communion that occurred from the moment we began chopping vegetables to when we finally sat down to eat. Dora sets us up first by putting on salted water to boil, then peeling a pound of Idaho potatoes for her Gone to Glory Potato Salad. As she cubes the tubers in small, near-uniform pieces, she soaks them in cold water so that they don’t turn brown. Dora doesn’t like to use a potato peeler. Emily chops the celery into a fine dice, which she’s doing like an expert after Dora shows her a technique of splitting the stalk into sections with the tip of a sharp knife, then cutting the slender segments crosswise into tiny crescents of fresh green. View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest Savannah Magazine: You use russets instead of red-skinned potatoes. Why is that? Dora Charles: They seem to suit my tastes better. I just don’t like the skin on potatoes in my salad. I use the same potatoes my grandmother used. They might not have been russet; she grew her own potatoes, of course. Emily Jones: So that’s the closest you’ve found to that flavor? Dora: Yes, they are. SM: Your grandmother taught you to cook at the age of 6, right? Dora: I watched my grandmother cook all the time. She loved coffee. She was a great baker. And I would just watch and watch. One day I asked her, “Can I cook?” And she said, “Make me a good cup of coffee, and I’ll teach you how to cook.” I knew I had that mastered, because I watched her and learned. And I always sang that Maxwell House song from back in the day, and I would sing that song when she made her coffee in that pot, and it would perc. That’s when you knew that coffee was ready. I knew exactly how she liked her cream and sugar—she used that Carnation cream in a can. When she tasted it, she enjoyed that first cup of coffee I made for her. SM: So you were already a pro. Dora: I was on my way. The first thing she gave me to make was brown gravy. Emily: That’s hard. Dora: That’s what everybody says. But, it wasn’t that hard for me when I did it. I made too much. I made so much gravy, and I was so nervous about it. I didn’t want her to think I didn’t know what I was doing. So my sister and my brother, they dug a hole for me in the back yard, and we buried the gravy as I was making it. (We all break down laughing.) It kept getting real thick, but she was watching TV in the living room. So as I got enough out, it turned out just right. Was seasoned just right. And when she tasted it at dinner, she said, “Perfect.” She never knew—Oh Lord, forgive me—she never knew. SM: You became the chief gravy maker. Dora: I still am to this day. She explains that the secret to good gravy is to work it slowly. “Add only scant oil to the flour,” she says, describing how she seasons the flour and oil only after they’ve mixed well and the taste of the flour is gone. View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest By this time, Emily has finished chopping the celery. Dora approves of Emily’s technique, then grabs a white onion for Emily to get started on while Gabrielle gathers video evidence of the lesson. Emily: Gabby, how sensitive are you to onions? Gabrielle Ware: I haven’t chopped an onion in, probably, years. Emily reveals an extreme sensitivity to raw onions—to the point she has to move across the kitchen before her eyes spill over. Dora takes over the onion chopping like a boss, demonstrating how she peels away the first tough layers and rinses the onion under cold running water. The cold water helps prevent crying, she says. Photographer Teresa Earnest offers that she holds a slice of white bread in her mouth and that it really works. “But the bread tastes like a raw onion after,” she grimaces. “I hold two matchsticks between my two front teeth,” I offer. Dora laughs and shakes her head. Her nails are expertly manicured in varying shades of pastels, just like Easter eggs. “You can soak the onions in ice water, too,” she advises as she slices the onion so thin it looks like a gossamer veil, then comes back through and cuts crosswise. Dora: If you make it small enough that they can’t see it, then they can’t say they don’t eat onions—like my grandson. It’s one of the best seasonings. Emily: It’s kind of mind-blowing how tiny you’re cutting those pieces. Dora says she never uses a food processor. Our conversation drifts to the virtues of gas over electric stoves. SM: You worked with Paula Deen for 22 years, right? Did you start when it was The Bag Lady? Dora: I did. SM: You mention in your cookbook trying to teach Paula Deen to dance. Dora: It was so funny. Oh my goodness, I never seen nobody with no rhythm at all. When we would be having a busy day and we slowed up, we would just start dancing … and I don’t know how she’d do it, but … (Dora counts out a rhythm and sways her hips while Gabrielle catches it on camera) and my best friend would be on the other side, and we’re tearing it up, and Paula’s knocking into us. (Laughter.) You can sense Dora has fond memories of her years working alongside Paula and that she takes great pride in having helped build a business. SM: How many people do you think you’ve taught to cook? Your cookbook says 60. Dora: It’s got to be more than that. My whole family, my best friends. One of my friends, her man kept saying, “I want Dora’s food.” It was almost embarrassing. So, one day, she came to me and asked me to teach her how to cook, because, she says, “I’m tired of my man wanting Dora’s stuff.” She got so good, she ended up working for us at Paula’s. SM: Emily and Gabby, what foods are particular to your families? Emily: I’m from New Jersey—near Philadelphia, nothing to do with The Sopranos. (Laughter.) Most of my family is pretty solidly English, but my mom’s side of the family is German and there’s a fair amount of spaetzle to go with pot roast from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I’m often the chopper for the family. Gabrielle: I’m from the Midwest, but my family is from the Deep South—so it was soul food in the house. My mom makes the best collard greens. Maybe I’m biased, but… Emily: Not at all. Certainly not. Gabrielle: She makes ridiculously good candied yams. SM: What does she do to them? Gabrielle: Umm … here’s the thing. (Laughter.) I never really learned my mother’s techniques for things. Now I want to know, but as a girl I never wanted to learn any of that. She’s such a good cook, and I feel like I missed out. Teresa Earnest: Have her write down the recipes in her own handwriting so you’ll have a keepsake. We talk about other cherished family recipes: Emily’s grandmother’s pumpkin chiffon pie, sand tarts and cheese dream. Gabrielle’s mother makes peanut butter candy—not brittle—but with cornflakes and peanut butter. Teresa: We had that in elementary school! Emily: If you could make that and bring it to the office, I’d be okay with that. View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest Dora shows us how she cuts up peppers for both the potato and bright pepper salads. The peppers join the onions and celery in a holy trinity, awaiting their dispersal into various dishes. When the potatoes are fork tender, we drain them in a colander in the sink, then let them cool. Someone sets up Dora’s phone to play gospel music, so we work with the sounds of a choir in the background. It’s one of the most joyful moments I’ve ever experienced in a kitchen full of people moving in all different directions. Teresa: I love how relaxed you are in the kitchen. I’m a very frenzied cook. Dora: I am. When I get in there, I’m just ready to cook and to have fun with it. SM: It’s totally second nature to you? Dora: It is. I stay calm so I can get it done. If you panic, it’s over with. We tell her she needs her own cooking show. She says she wants to open her own restaurant and is just biding her time until she finds the right place. With all of the vegetable prep done, we get started on panfried chicken. Dora fills her grandmother’s cast iron skillet about halfway up the side with vegetable oil then heats it over medium-high heat on the stove. She takes chicken pieces, which have been seasoned and have been bathing in buttermilk in the fridge, and places them one by one in a bag filled with self-rising flour. Every few moments, she holds her hand over the pan to test its warmth. Finally she tosses in a few drifts of flour to see and hear how they sizzle. Dora: It’s ready. View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest She shows Emily and Gabrielle how to gently lay the drumsticks, thighs and wings away from them in the skillet. They are a little wary of the hot oil, but take their turns. We discuss the finer points of cooking oil, Crisco and lard. Dora prefers lard. “I think you get more out of lard, it holds better, and it can be used again. It might give off a little more crisp,” she says, adding that she often throws in saved bacon grease for deeper layers. “If you have canned goods and are short on time, you could add a little bacon grease to give it the flavor of fresh beans.” The sparkle and crackle of the chicken frying heightens our appetites. While Dora finishes up the potato salad by hand mixing all of the ingredients together, I make the pepper salad, following her recipe to the letter. Soon, the chicken is done, and we lay out the feast. After making our plates, we sit at the dining table with glasses of iced tea. Just before we dig in, we pause and say grace. Then, we savor every bite. It’s the quietest moment we’ve shared all day. Special thanks to Jane Townsend and David Levy for use of their kitchen. View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest  
Bright Peppers Salad
View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/foodphotographyteresaearnest Serves 6 I love the happy colors of bright bell peppers, so I decided to create a whole salad with all different colors, sparked up with some red onions and fresh green herbs. It’s gorgeous to look at, great for any season and seems to go with anything else you’re serving. It can travel perfectly and sit on a buffet table for hours. You can use just red, yellow and orange peppers, or add a green and even a purple one if they’re in the market. They all have slightly different tastes, so more colors are not only more beautiful, they also make the flavors of the salad a little more interesting.
  • 5 bell peppers of many colors, cut into thin slices
  • ½ medium red onion, cut into thin half moons
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar, rice vinegar or other mild white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • A large handful of chopped, mixed fresh herbs of your choice: parsley, dill, chives and/or min
Combine the pepper strips and onion in a large bowl and toss with the vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes or up to a half hour. Add the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and taste for seasoning. Scatter the herbs over the peppers and onions and toss together. Taste again for seasoning and serve. Tips: The easiest way to cut up bell peppers is to stand each one up and cut down the four side walls next to the stem so you get four large pieces. Remove any seeds and inner membranes. If you have leftovers, they’re great chopped into chicken salad the next day.
Excerpted from A Real Southern Cook, © 2015 by Dora Charles. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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The Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour stops in Savannah this weekend.

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Somewhere  in between the Stopover hangover and the Revival Fest cure, a Savannah magazine editor woke up in the middle of the night with a vision: the city’s musicians, gathered together under one roof, singing their hearts out in one giant jam session.  How better to do a sound check on the Seaport’s burgeoning band scene?  Amy Paige Condon is with the band. Photography by Geoff Johnson   Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_53 When you invite a group of people who may or may not know each other, you always hope for that moment when things click—that ephemeral heartbeat when the alchemy of connection occurs, when the mix turns to magic and the party is less gathering and more reunion. That moment arrives on a humid Wednesday night, on the corner stage at Service Brewing Co. Singer-songwriter Nikko Raptoulis strums his guitar and belts out a heart-squeezing song of unrequited love.  The words and music are spare, but hardly melancholy, as they meld with the notes of his collaborators. Harpist Kristin King plucks mightily at her strings and Dope Sandwich hip-hop artist Basik Lee improvises a beat, using only his rich baritone voice as the instrument. None of the three have ever played together before this night.  But, in this shining moment, the open-invite jam session we’ve thrown together morphs into something peerless and captivating, like fireflies or bioluminescent tides. “I’m hearing it—I’m not used to it—and I’m getting goose bumps,” Nikko later tells me, still floating even as artists pack up their strings and amps to head into the darkness.  “It’s so amazing to hear something, as a musician, that you’ve never heard.” The night is filled with many gifts: Jared Hall’s rollicking keyboard and Ira Miller’s thrashing percussion on Waits and Co.’s “Walkin’ Faithfully;” Payne Bridge’s ethereal voice blended with Rachael Shaner’s hop-scotching upright bass; Lee’s urgent rendition of the Box Tops’ “The Letter,” backed by Nicole Edge’s surfer drum riffs; the Hypnotics’ joyful garage band wail; Lyn Avenue’s paean to traditional country music. “Just listen to her voice,” Tom Cooler, the soundman behind the Savannah Songwriters Series, tells me.  He’s speaking of Lyn Avenue’s lead singer, Cc Witt.  “It cuts—just cuts!” And it does, sharp as Tammy Wynette’s paring knife.
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Play That Swampy Music
When each of these parts—36 local musicians representing at least 14 different bands of varying genres—is taken as a whole, the totality of a Savannah sound begins to emerge. Just as West Memphis married funk and blues, Muscle Shoals sifted soul with Southern rock, and Athens pushed the boundaries of alternative forms, a narrative thread runs through Savannah’s tapestry of punk and metal, hip hop, bluegrass and rockabilly, folk and Americana, jazz and indie rock. But it’s hard to pick out that single thread without pulling the thing apart. That sound is a brackish undercurrent—“swampy,” as guitarist Jon Waits muses—that mirrors the convergence of black rivers with salty tidal marshes and the wide, open ocean. It takes something from everything it touches. Rich in tannins, it’s where so much life and goodness spawn, where so many ancient relics lie buried, where secrets get carried away.  Savannah’s music is as much a liquid crossroads as is her geography. Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_20
Papa Was a Stepping Stone
For decades, Savannah’s music scene seemed defined by the Great American Songbook, as constructed by native son Johnny Mercer—“Moon River,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Fools Rush In.”  It reflected the city’s surface conservatism, even as artists like Elvis Presley passed through town and shook, rattled and rolled their way to superstardom. Then, DJs Barr Nobles and Skip Jennings began spinning the Beatles, the Byrds and outlaw country on local airwaves. Homegrown bands like the Rogues, the Trebles, Kind Dog and Topaz started playing rock covers and original tunes in school gyms and neighborhood bars. Some even toured with bigger names—a history only recently chronicled through Savannah Rocks, which continues today as a Facebook page managed by music veteran Roy Swindelle. But Savannah’s star didn’t rise on the Southern rock horizon just yet.  Not the way Jacksonville or Macon’s did, with their respective breakouts, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band. In the 1980s, two things occurred that put a pushpin on our little dot on the musical map.  Late bassist Ben Tucker taught a jazz appreciation course at Savannah State University that inspired the creation of the Coastal Jazz Society and the Savannah Jazz Festival.  A few years later, the Savannah Music Festival—now one of Songline magazine’s Top 25 international festivals—was born. Both of these initiatives brought national and international touring artists to a town they once bypassed by on their way to Atlanta or Miami.  They also gave working musicians who made their home here the rare opportunity to open for and play with bigger acts. Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_09
Welcome to the Garden
“You can’t really get into Florida without passing Savannah, and you can’t get out of Florida without going by here, too, so we’re a good place to take a day during the week,” says Gil Cruz, who books talent for the Jinx, Susanne Warnekros’ Congress Street temple to Savannah’s musical acolytes. Seated on the patio at Foxy Loxy Café sporting a Black Tusk T-shirt and tatted arms, Gil recounts how, growing up in San Francisco’s Bay Area, he got swept up in ’80s skateboard culture and hardcore punk from the likes of D.C.’s Minor Threat.  When he moved here in the early 2000s, it was natural for him to drift toward the Jinx, then the center of the local punk and rock universe, but he credits the underground scene as much as the club scene for nurturing the local heavy metal community. Back then, he recalls, “There were always these kids in Savannah, throwing shows.  Pat Mathis [who now runs Hyperrealist Records] had a lot of house shows.  Big Gas Cycles.  O’Connell’s [before it moved down Congress] … bands that are huge now started there.” And the momentum continues. “Right now is really awesome,” he says, “because you have three huge metal bands based out of Savannah—well, Baroness is now out of Philly, but they started here.  Kylesa, huge.  Black Tusk, they’re still doing it.  They’re bringing in bands that they’ve worked with.  They’ve turned the spotlight on Savannah.  It just makes sense that it’s growing.  For a small city, it’s big.” Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_42
Straight Outta Chatham
Indeed, being small may play largely in Savannah’s favor over the long haul.  Over a round of drinks, Steven Baumgardner, Jared Hall, Kayne Lanahan, Jon Waits and I consider whether Savannah is about to hit the tipping point. Kayne, the director of MusicFile Productions and the founder of both the Savannah Stopover Music Festival and Revival Fest, believes that some of the landmark music events elsewhere have grown beyond their purpose.  “They’re ginormous—hundreds of thousands of people, and ticket prices are really high.” “We were just talking about that very thing with [New Orleans’] Jazz Fest,” chimes in Jared, keyboardist for the vivacious gypsy-swing band Velvet Caravan and music director for the historic Trinity United Methodist Church. “If you go to these bigger festivals,” Kayne says, “you could close your eyes and be anywhere.  I think when that happens, when the trend gets pushed so far, there’s a natural bounce where people are searching for things that are smaller and more authentic, and more person-to-person.  If you go to something in Savannah, you know you’re in Savannah.” Jon, a Georgia-born singer-songwriter and photographer, laments growth for growth’s sake. “It becomes more about the fact that you were there than experiencing the music.” Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_33
You Can Flow Your Own Way
Steven, who performs as Basik Lee, laughs about the time he and his Dope Sandwich crew went to a festival in Atlanta, where they attended forums to see what kind of advice could help them evolve. “They kept telling us to attach ourselves to what bigger cities were doing.”  He shakes his head.  “Instead of latching on to something, try to find your own sound.” “The whole original idea behind Stopover was to get a ton of bands in town all at once, bands that had never played here, to give them a different perspective of the city and give locals an opportunity to play with touring bands,” Kayne says.  “All of the agents thought of Savannah as a C or D market; we were not on their radar.  So, we felt like getting the bands to fall in love with the city—we knew they would—and letting them become the marketers for the city.  You never have a band come through that has a bad time.” That’s because of the local music community, says Steven, who also hosts a hip-hop night every Tuesday at the Jinx. “Literally, everybody just helps each other out.” Club owners, fellow troubadours and fans welcome artists into their homes, letting them crash on couches, loaning sound or light equipment when something’s busted or left behind, or throwing backyard barbecues so that they can take a break from the road. “I’ve had friends and artists who have left here,” Steven says.  “‘I’m going to Nashville; I’m going to Atlanta; I’m going to New York’—not realizing that everybody and their mother is going there.  A lot of the acts I’ve had come here say, ‘It’s not like this where we come from.’” The rub: Savannah’s musicians know one another well—across forms, across venues—but they’re so busy gigging, they rarely get to see one another’s shows. Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_46
Savannahian Rhapsody
Just after Isaac Smith delivers a soulful solo, Crazy Man Crazy’s four-man dance-hall rockabilly set steams up the Service Brewing stage.  Lead singer Sean “The Con Man” Conradson growls “Blue Suede Shoes” as guitarist Jeff “Lone Wolf” Neugebauer, the sound engineer for the Wormhole nightclub and bar in the Starland District, shreds his axe with the enthusiasm of Marty McFly in Back to the Future.  “Mr. Palmer on Bass” is hardly in the doghouse.  It’s a rousing segue into the final act of the night. Kurtis Schumm takes the stage—just a man and his guitar.  It’s a rare treat to see Kurtis play.  He traded Nashville in for Savannah and chords for culinary cred 11 years ago.  Locals know him best as the co-owner of Tybee Island Social Club, Fish Camp and Bó Biên Hut. “I do cook-y things now,” he says, before sliding into an original composition, “How Much.” “It’s more of a statement than a question,” he grins, just before launching into a pure-voiced and clear-noted song that surprises and uplifts the crowd. Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_02
More Than a Feeling
The year 2016 may prove a big one for local music. The state’s Department of Economic Development has made music tourism the cornerstone of its annual marketing plan, based upon the healthy direct and indirect contributions of the music industry to the state’s economy.  Music accounted for nearly $4 billion in revenues in 2011, the most recent report year. Savannah Morning News columnist and blogger Bill Dawers will pen a piece about the city’s aforementioned swamp metal scene in the upcoming “Georgia Music” issue of Oxford American magazine. Yet, even with all the progress that has been made, it still may be too early to call Savannah a “music city.” All Along the Watchtower Back in 2012, MusicFile Productions’ Kayne Lanahan contributed a post to The Creative Coast’s blog that outlined the 10 characteristics of a vibrant music scene:
  1. Supportive community of musicians
  2. Highly regarded independent radio station
  3. Respected independent record labels
  4. A DIY underground scene
  5. A broad and affordable infrastructure for teaching, practicing and recording
  6. At least one great music blog
  7. At least one prominent music festival
  8. A mid-sized venue for 400 to 500 seats to draw notable touring acts and fans
  9. A supportive municipal government
  10. Access to capital to fund musical endeavors
So, three years later, how are we doing?  Of the first seven items on that list, most have been achieved.  Especially with the addition of Graveface Records, Dollhouse Productions, The Garage Savannah, and Dawers’ Hissing Lawns blog, we have more outlets to support and promote our local musicians than ever before.  
Lawyers, Fans and Money
Of the final three items, the most critical and immediate to address is city government.  “Rational public policy” regarding alcohol and sound would “help a lot,” says Dawers, who has followed the city’s progress on both issues closely. “Little things like that would tell the creative community, especially musicians, that we are not prejudiced against them.” Competing cities, like Charleston, Athens and Jacksonville—all with strong music scenes—allow at least 18-year-olds entry into venues that serve alcohol.  Some even allow all-ages shows. “Bands are coming through and looking at how many people they can put in a club,” Dawers explains.  “You don’t create this artificial division between people over and under 21.” As more hotels are built and condo conversions occur within the downtown and near-downtown districts, more bars and nightclubs will also have to contend with noise volume complaints, which has quashed musical offerings at places like Moon River Brewing Co., Hang Fire and the Wormhole. “[City spokesperson] Brett Bell pledged at the Emergent Savannah meeting that [the city] was going to initiate a process for revising the city’s sound ordinance,” says Dawers.  “But the city has been working on a revision to the ‘chicken and beekeeping’ ordinance for four years and still hasn’t passed it.  They’ve been working on a revision to the alcohol ordinance since January 2013 and still haven’t passed it.  I would be shocked if we saw a draft of a sound ordinance before 2017.” Dawers’ observation is a common complaint in all sectors of Savannah’s musical community.  And the belief is that until those two items can be addressed, access to capital and a mid-size venue will remain out of reach. Sav_Mag_Service_Jam_geoffsphotos_51
Fight for Your Right
To Kayne’s list, we would add No. 11: a community that values its local musicians by filling seats, paying cover charges, and following them on social media. “The best way to support live music is to show up,” says Tom Cooler of the Savannah Songwriters Series, a monthly showcase of local and regional talent. “The tourism market is great,” says musician Jon Waits, “but it’s not a long-term picture for local musicians” because it has led to a unique dynamic where few establishments charge cover charges as patrons walk from place to place with go cups. “What you’re basically saying,” Kayne observes, “is, ‘The music doesn’t matter; it’s a giveaway.’” Musician and restaurateur Kurtis Schumm agrees. “Cover charges would up the ante for Savannah,” he predicts.  “There’s are a lot of great musicians here … and they’re relegated to background music.  If the city were to move to a cover charge, I think the music scene could grow that much more.  It’s a shared responsibility.” [gallery columns="4" ids="15852,15853,15854,15855,15856,15857,15858,15859,15860,15861,15862,15863,15864,15865,15850,15849,15848,15847,15846,15845,15844,15843,15842,15841"]
In the Air Tonight
For now, at our Service Brewing Co. jam session, local talents of all types gather around the stage, bobbing their heads in time with a newly discovered harmony.  A few are snapping selfies together and trading business cards—fresh collaborations in the offing. It’s hard to pinpoint whether Savannah is at the beginning—or in the middle of its beginning—as an emerging music city. But, in this moment, it feels as if we’ve gotten the sound just right.
OUR MUSIC TEACHERS
  [caption id="attachment_15830" align="aligncenter" width="384"]View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/music-industry-nov Photo by Teresa Earnest[/caption]
Steven Baumgardner
Steven, who performs as Basik Lee, just celebrated the tenth anniversary of Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes, the hometown label he founded with fellow hip-hop artists he met at SCAD.  His latest LP is Crazy Shit.   [caption id="attachment_15827" align="aligncenter" width="384"]View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/music-industry-nov Photo by Teresa Earnest[/caption]  
Jared Hall
Veteran session musician, Jared is the keyboardist for the vivacious gypsy swing band Velvet Caravan and music director for the historic Trinity United Methodist Church, whose Thursday Night Opry is making sound waves city wide.   [caption id="attachment_15828" align="aligncenter" width="384"]View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/music-industry-nov Photo by Teresa Earnest[/caption]  
Kayne Lanahan
Kayne is the director of MusicFile Productions and the founder of both the Savannah Stopover Music Festival and Revival Fest, which have put our city on the music map.  She relocated to Savannah five years ago after more than 25 years in media, advertising and marketing for the music and entertainment industries.   [caption id="attachment_15829" align="aligncenter" width="585"]View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/music-industry-nov Photo by Teresa Earnest[/caption]
 Jon Waits
Jon is an award-winning singer-songwriter and professional photographer from Atlanta, who found his literal and musical home in Savannah four years ago.  A professional musician for more than 25 years, he now fronts the alt-country trio Waits and Co. with Markus Kuhlmann and John Pizzichemi.  

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Encore!
Nearly every day of the week, established, up-and-coming and visiting artists perform live shows in Savannah and Tybee Island’s restaurants, bars and clubs.  Check out the events calendars at dosavannah.com and connectsavannah.com for weekly listings.  Consult hissinglawns.com for in-depth coverage of local bands.  Preview some of Savannah’s best music makers at artlabsavannah.com.  And don’t forget to support local and live music by attending shows.  Here are just a few happenings where you are welcome to listen in:
Serial Chillers
Savannah Songwriters Series 6-7:30 p.m., first Sunday of the month Johnny Harris Restaurant, 1651 E. Victory Drive   The Tongue: Open Mouth and Music Show 7-10 p.m., first and third Tuesday of the month Savannah Coffee Roasters, 215 W. Liberty St. On Facebook   Singer/Songwriter in Concert Series 6-8 p.m., first Saturday of the month (beginning in January) Wicked Cakes, 38 Whitaker St. On Facebook   Trinity Concert Sanctuary Series Historic Trinity United Methodist Church, 225 W. President St.  
The Festival Circuit
Savannah Stopover Music Festival March 10-12, 2016 Savannah Music Festival March 24-April 9, 2016 Revival Fest September 17, 2016 Savannah Jazz Fest Late September/Early October  

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A Standing Ovation
Many thanks to Service Brewing Co. for the space to create a magical evening and Screamin’ Mimi’s Pizza for feeding our bodies and souls. Applause to all of the artists who shared the stage and came out to support one another: Alexis Ambrose, Black Water Choir Steven Baumgardner aka Basik Lee, Dope Sandwich Records Payne Bridges Sean Conradson, Crazy Man Crazy Tom Cooler, Savannah Songwriters Series Eric Dunn, Velvet Caravan Nicole Edge, Wave Slaves Patrick Ellington, Lyn Avenue Jared Hall, Velvet Caravan Jeremy Hammons, Train Wrecks Austin Harris, Crazy Man Crazy Andrew Hartzell, Sweet Thunder Strolling Band Larry Jones, Lyn Avenue Kristin King, New Arts Ensembles and Uncommon Collective Marcus Kuhlman, Waits and Co., Clouds and Satellites Ray Lundy, Bottle ‘n’ Cans Ira David Miller Ford Natirboff, Hypnotics Jeff Neugebauer, Crazy Man Crazy Thomas Oliver, Savannah Songwriter Series Stephen Palmer, Crazy Man Crazy John Pizzichemi, Waits and Co. Nikko Raptoulis Greg Rettig, Wave Slaves Jason Salzer Kurtis Schumm Rachael Shaner Isaac Smith Jeremiah Stuard, Co-Eds Ryan Sylvester, Hypnotics Ty Thompson, Hypnotics Jon Waits, Waits and Co. Willy Ware Tim Warren, Clouds and Satellites Cc Witt, Lyn Avenue Lu Zang                  

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Outsider artists have put down roots in a cozy haven in the heart of downtown Savannah.  

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Step away from the big box catalogs and online retailers, and take a walk with our associate editor through the Downtown Design District.  You’ll find all the inspiration you need for home and hearth.   Photography by TERESA EARNEST
 
When I’m in a design rut and in need of a creative excursion, I put on my walking shoes and head to the intersection of Whitaker and Jones streets to browse … and buy.  Here, within the confines a few blocks, I’m uplifted by endless variety. For example, One Fish Two Fish is stocked with gilded clam shells, cow hides and textiles that invite me to touch. My mood is brightened by the fanciful lamps, sconces and chandeliers at Circa Lighting—and by the great deals at the annex across the street. Bottega Bellini makes me feel as if I’ve wondered into the waiting arms of a big Italian family, and Number Four Eleven never fails to yield the ideal wedding gift. Amy Paige Condon, Associate Editor
  [gallery columns="1" size="full" ids="15719,15718,15716,15715,15713,15714,15712,15711,15710,15709"]

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A celebrated Savannah host returns to his roots in a new cookbook.

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dining living   A lifelong quest to find a place on the water leads a Georgia native to a place called Hope.  Amy Paige Condon follows the trail.  Photography by Richard Leo Johnson

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[caption id="attachment_15188" align="aligncenter" width="585"] DIRTTbags Reggie Smith and Debra Ellison  [/caption] Our article on the corporate citizenship awards in the May/June issue didn’t do justice to DIRTT’s civic contributions.  So, inspired by the sustainable construction company’s clever acronym, we’re Doing It Right This Time. By Amy Paige Condon Used to be that being called a “DIRTTbag” was a bad thing.  But Georgia’s Manufacturer of the Year for 2013, DIRTT Environmental Solutions, has elevated the sobriquet to a term of endearment for all who follow the company’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and collaborative philanthropy. Laura Lee Bocade, DIRTT’s relationship and business development manager in Savannah, explains that the Calgary-based company’s ethos is built upon the edict “reduce, reuse and recycle.” “There’s a better way to build,” she says.  “People watch what you do; they don’t listen to just what you say.” DIRTT minimizes contributions to landfills (saving 65 million pounds of waste in five years) by reusing as many materials as possible in designing, building and shipping their proprietary flexible interiors.  They also source as many materials locally to reduce their carbon footprint—and that includes the proteins and produce the on-site chefs at DIRTT Café prepare for the employees. DIRTT’s unused wood and tempered glass finds its way into community projects, like the East 34th Street greenhouse and a shade house at the West Broad Street YMCA, both completed with Emergent Structures—a nonprofit collective of building professionals that repurposes salvaged materials.  Most recently, DIRTT collaborated with Rives Worrell, IKEA, SCAD and Emergent Structures on a rails table competition for the Creative Coast. During lulls in the manufacturing process throughout the year, DIRTT’s employees contribute time and effort to community organizations that matter to them—Savannah Tree Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and Emmaus House, among others. “We can be part of something with our hands, our feet, our hearts and our dollars,” says Bocade. Know this, though: DIRTT’s profits are as impressive as its commitment to community.  DIRTT has enjoyed 40 percent year-over-year growth since the day it opened its doors in 2004. “The company is living proof that you can do the right thing by people, by the environment, build the best product possible—and still make money for the company, for the team, the investors and all the stakeholders.” Nothing wrong with spreading a little DIRTT around.   To meet the other winners of Savannah Magazine's Corporate Citizenship Awards, pick up a copy of the May/June issue—on newsstands now.  Or better yet, subscribe TODAY, and enjoy Savannah all year long.

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