THURSDAY NIGHT TWANG AT ART'S
Cary Ann Hearst & Friends have arranged a Thursday night series of swingin' shows east of the Cooper at Art's Bar & Grill (413 Coleman Blvd., 843-849-3040). Singer/guitarist Hearst, upright bassist Jonathan Gray, drummer Jack Burg, and electric guitarist Michael Trent (or other guest guitarists) play a wide variety of hillbilly classics, country blues, honky-tonk, Motown, and '60s pop — from Hank Sr. and George Jones to Wanda Jackson and The Shangri La's and back — across two or three sets. The weekly shows start at 10 p.m. There's no cover. See www.myspace.com/caryannhearst for more.
ROAD TRIP: HILTON HEAD
The Shoreline Ballroom on Hilton Head Island has some fine concerts on their calendar. Boogie man Leon Russell headlines on Fri. Aug. 29. Alt-rockers Sister Hazel and Nelo perform on Sat. Aug. 30. Funky electro act BoomBox plays two full sets on Fri. Sept. 5. And veteran folk-rock act The Indigo Girls share the bill with Missy Higgins on Fri. Sept. 12. Tickets are available at www.etix.com. The venue's box office can be reached by phone at (843) 842-0358. See www.shorelineballroom.com for more.
BLIGE COMING TO TOWN
This week, the North Charleston Coliseum announced that soul/hip-soul sensation Mary J. Blige is solid for a concert on Sat. Sept. 13. The event is presented by S.C. State University. The vocalist was recently featured on the covers of Allure, Vegas, and Essence magazines. Her latest release Growing Pains features the iTunes-sanctioned track, "Work That." Tickets for reserved seats are on sale this week and are available for $44, $53.50, and $61 (plus applicable fees) at the Coliseum ticket office, all Ticketmaster outlets (including select Publix grocery stores), by phone at (843) 554-6060, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Check out www.mjblige.com and www.coliseumpac.com for more.
SADLER AND TROPIC THUNDER
Touring across the U.S. with New York based band The Mooney Suzuki last summer, Charleston singer/guitarist Sadler Vaden — of local rock trio Leslie — ended up playing guitar with those guys on a number of shows. Vaden's fill-in work led to a bit of star treatment in Hawaii as part of the production of the big-budget action-comedy Tropic Thunder. "Since I had helped the Mooney Suzuki on the tour, they invited me to go with them to Hawaii and shoot a party scene as a house band," says Sadler. "I got to meet Ben Stiller and the whole gang. It was pretty cool. We shot for three days." The film hit local screens last week. Unfortunately, the scenes Vaden and the Mooneys did were cut. "Two weeks ago, I went to the cast and crew screening in L.A. hosted by Ben Stiller," Vaden says. "I found out that our scene was cut out of the theatrical version, but the whole party scene will be on the director's cut on DVD." Leslie performs at the Pour House on Thurs. Sept. 18. No word on if they'll be clad in fatigues. See www.lesliemusic.com for more.
BLUEGRASS AND BBQ
The Southern National BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival is set to take place at Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant on Sun. Aug. 31. On hand will be carnival games, a mechanical bull, a celebrity dunking booth, and loads of Carolina-style barbecue. The big music news is that Dr. Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys are on board for two late-evening sets. The award-winning Nashville Bluegrass Band and the reunited Homeboy Reunion perform on the main stage early in the day. Tickets are $22 ($20 in advance) for adults, and $10 ($8 in advance) for children aged six-12. Children under the age of six are admitted free. Check out www.boonehallplantation.com and www.drralphstanley.com for more.
ISAAC HAYES R.I.P.
Soul man Isaac Hayes was a bad mutha... (shut yo' mouth!). It was sad to hear of his passing last week. Hayes died in Memphis on Sun. Aug. 10. He was 65. He may be best known by younger pop culturists as the voice of Chef from Comedy Central's South Park series, but in the music world, he was revered as a skilled multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, actor, and studio engineer. He was a Memphis star who rose to great heights early on with the Bar Kays and the Stax label. His husky, deep-toned voice was instantly recognizable. Official recommended listening from the City Paper: Hayes' early albums Hot Buttered Soul, Black Moses, and the soundtrack to the original Shaft. All three featured Hayes and his bald noggin and big shades. All three were a major influence for the soul music makers of the '70s. All three featured Hayes and his ensemble of vocalists and players as they laid down lengthy jams and busy arrangements, replete with brass, winds, and strings. Hayes' early career and rise to fame and prominence was documented in the recent film Respect Yourself: The Stax Story, written by filmmaker and author Robert Gordon. Visit www.soulsvilleusa.com and www.isaachayes.com for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann