Award-winning musician and hair chameleon Rachel Kate Gillon headlined a packed-house show at The Royal American on Friday night accompanied by touring musician Matt Woods and special guests Red Mouth and Holy City favorites She Returns from War. Charleston is one of many stops on the Loud Mouth Lookers Tour, spanning shows throughout South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Hunter Park (front), vocalist/songwriter for She Returns From War; Shelly Simon (rear) on drums
From left: Hunter Park, Shelly Simon, Rachel Kate Gillon, and local musician Grace Joyner
She Returns from War songwriter and vocalist Hunter Park opened the show, with pal Shelly Simon filling in on the drums. The set list included the latest single "Ain't Your Town" from the band's self-titled release last November following the success of their debut EP Coyote Soda. According to their Facebook page, the folk trio recently wrapped up recording at The Jam Room in Columbia and anticipate releasing their first full-length LP on label 10 Foot Woody Records sometime this year.
Eric Gebhardt of Red Mouth
Red Mouth, the moniker of Muscle Shoals resident Eric Gebhardt, followed suit with songs from his fourth album Toska that debuted in October. Toska refers to an untranslatable Russian word coined by Vladmir Nabokov generally affiliated with melancholia and spiritual anguish, which Gebhardt captured in his performance with his dark-gospel-meets-experimental-folk style. On the album, he had the opportunity to work with personal hero Donnie Fritts, who co-wrote the track "She's Got a Crush on Me," as well as Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and famed saxophonist Harvey Thompson, Sr.
Matt Woods, partnering musician on the Loud Mouth Lookers Tour
Knoxville singer-songwriter Matt Woods was next in line with a stripped-down acoustic set. He makes up the other half of the Loud Mouth Lookers Tour and offers a blend of greased-up rock 'n roll with old-school Americana and blues. His performance encompassed tunes from his latest, With Love From Brushy Mountain, which features the forlorn "Deadman's Blues" and the more devil-may-care "Days of Walking,'" which simultaneously elicits the nostalgia and homesickness experienced while on the road. You really have to respect a guy who sings, "If there's no beer in heaven, hell, I don't wanna go."
Rachel Kate Gillon (left) with guest vocalist Jordan Igoe
Feisty songstress Rachel Kate rounded out the night at Royal with full band in tow, including Charleston's own country-rock badass Jordan Igoe on guest vocals. Despite her cheery stage presence, Rachel Kate's powerhouse performance examines the raw nature and vulnerability of the human experience: residual hatred from a tumultuous relationship ("Hell is Your Home"), impotence spawned from face-value judgments ("Lost"), bittersweet revelations of growing up ("Dancin' Shoes"). Her album Rachel Kate with Love and Hate earned her a nod from local critics, and she was named the Americana/Rockabilly Artist of the Year by Charleston City Paper Music Awards in 2013.
For all you peeps who missed the show or those of us still suffering from Rachel Kate withdrawals, don’t fret! She’ll be the musical guest at Bacon and Bourbon on Saturday, Feb. 7 at Memminger Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased on the website.