With an accent on folk, blues, and country styles swirling around the room throughout the evening of July 2, Charleston-based indie label/collective Shrimp Records could easily have renamed their Independence Day-themed Salute to America showcase "Salute to Americana." Organized by Pour House execs, singer/songwriter Cary Ann Hearst, and the musicians of the Shrimp family, the event drew a huge crowd of fellow players, fans, townies, and hippies. Most of the attendees seemed very ready for a good time.
A surprisingly solid new local acoustic group called the Brillers opened the show with a slew of melodic original tunes. Singer/guitarist Olivia Conner and singer/mandolinist Lauren Bevins fronted the band with backing from upright bassist Gina Perez and drummer Will McKay. Beautiful harmonies and breezy ballads were at the heart of their act. A little extra trombone from guest player Ward Buckheister (of Sol Driven Train and Hit or Miss) added some sauciness to the mix.
After guitarist Lee Barbour's bizarre reworking of Jimi Hendrix's rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" (replete with Barbour's stars 'n' stripes trousers), the crowd swelled as Hearst (wearing red-white-and-blue rodeo britches) and her cohorts — singer Lindsay Holler, drummer Jack Burg, pianist Gerald Gregory, and guitarists Michael Trent, Bill Carson, and Sadler Vaden — hit the stage with a joyful cover of the Violent Femmes song "American Music." It was one of many tasteful covers in the thematic set, which meandered from Mellencamp to Dylan and the Grateful Dead.