Ike Stubblefield, Map Room Closing, Sol Driven Train, Palmetto Acoustic Series, Piccolo Spoleto's Blues on the Dock 


Asheville-based "Southeastern roots, soul, and R&B band" Laura Reed & Deep Pocket will be accompanied by the Motown veteran and Hammond B3 master Ike Stubblefield at the Pour House on Wed. May 21. Stubblefield started his career in 1968, playing with such Motown greats as The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and others. Currently based in Atlanta, he's recently collaborated with Quincy Jones, the Derek Trucks Band, Jeff Sipe, Jimmy Herring, Col. Bruce Hampton, Francine Reed, and Susan Tedeschi. Visit www.charlestonpourhouse.com and www.laurareedanddeeppocket.com for more.


In what seemed like an abrupt move, West Ashley music venue and bar The Map Room halted operations and shut its doors on Tues. May 13. Since opening in the fall of 2005 in the Village Square Shopping Center at 1650 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., the club consistently booked a wild variety of live music four to five nights a week. They featured weekly trivia and karaoke nights, DJ dance nights, hip-hop concerts, open mic events, and occasional theatrical performances. Despite their diligent efforts and idealism, the financial reality became clear in recent months. "It was weird — over the last few months, people just stopped coming out," says manager, co-owner, and main booking guy Ryan Brown. "I couldn't book anything that would bring 'em out. We've had some pretty big acts — some of whom drew large crowds before — and the crowds were surprisingly small. I did the numbers and had to make the call." Brown attributes several main factors: the effects of the recent smoking ban, the state of the economy, and the rise in gasoline prices, which affected the amount of money they had to guarantee certain bands and "affected how often people came out to West Ashley." Brown scrambled to cancel the remaining May and June shows on the schedule. "I'd like to tell people that the Map Room is going underground for a while," Brown says. He and some of his staff are already considering ideas for a new venue.


"Another cow has appeared on the tracks for Sol Driven Train," reports Joel Timmons, one of the guitarists and vocalists in the local group. "Phill Eason is having another baby and is stepping down as touring drummer this fall." Eason, a founding member of the band, will take an abbreviated role while his bandmates put the call out for auditioning drummers to sign on this fall. They recently released a full-length album titled Lighthouse, signed with a new booking agent, and have big plans for a busy year in and outside of Charleston. "We're hoping to make a decision before we leave again for a three-week tour at the beginning of July," says Timmons. According to Timmons, Eason will continue to work as manager and accountant; he also looks forward to spending more time at home with his wife, his two-year-old son, and the new baby. Timmons says they need someone who is professional, creative, understands dynamics, and is not afraid to tour. "We dabble in lots of different styles, so the drummer needs to be flexible." Interested timekeepers should contact the band via e-mail at ramblingjoel@yahoo.com or at www.myspace.com/soldriventrain.


The lively Palmetto Acoustic Series continues this Thurs. May 22 at the John Rivers Communications Museum (58 George St., 843-953-5810) with original tunes by Chattanooga-based songstress Jennifer Daniels and local acoustic folk/pop duo The Barnard Sisters. The free showcase takes place on the CofC campus from 8-10 p.m. Daniels is on the road in support of a richly melodic collection of alt-country/folksy tunes titled Summer Filled Sky. The Barnard Sisters — multi-instrumentalists Kara Barnard and Pam Barnard Hays — recently released an album of Charleston-centric tunes called Flying Down King Street. Visit www.myspace.com/barnardsisters for more.


The first of the two-day Lowcountry Blues Sunset and Nights event — part of the Piccolo Spoleto's Blues on the Dock program — kicks off at 6 p.m. on Fri. May 23 at Bowens Island with live sets from two local blues favorites, Shrimp City Slim and Smoky Weiner & The Hot Links. Check out the full schedule of events at www.piccolospoleto.com. Spoleto's Wachovia Jazz Series kicks off on Fri. May 23 with a concert at the Cistern (66 George St.) by San Francisco-based jazz/cabaret vocalist Paula West and the George Mesterhazy Quartet. Italian saxophonist Stefano Cantini and his quartet perform at the venue on Sun. May 24. São Paulo pianist Heloísa Fernandes makes her U.S. debut this week as well. She performs a variety of compositions at the Recital Hall in the Simons Center for the Arts (54 St. Philip St.), two shows per evening, May 26-28. Check out the features in this week's special coverage, and visit www.spoletousa.org for more.


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