Hill Country Live Presents:

Music Calendar

The Southern Gothic (featuring Connor Christian)

Also Featuring: Time Sawyer Saturday 04/27
Doors: 9:00PM Show: 9:30PM
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This show will be a general admission, non-seated show. Dinner reservations are not available for show time and can only be made in our main dining room upstairs.

This show is seated and standing room. All sales are final. No Refunds.

If you would like to dine with Hill Country before or after the show, please call our reservation desk at 202.556.2050

The Southern Gothic (featuring Connor Christian)

The Southern Gothic (featuring Connor Christian)

The Southern Gothic

“Every night I have a new hometown,” sings S.M.Connor (also know as Connor Christian) in the title track of the latest release from The Southern Gothic, New Hometown. Those words could be the mantra of many touring bands, whose lives become a blur of highways, hotel rooms, stages and crowds. But in the case of The Southern Gothic – those words are more than just a metaphorical description of the troubadour lifestyle of a band on the road. They are a nod to the beginnings of a band – not just its members, who come from places as far and wide as Los Angeles to Russia – but also its music, an amalgamation of roots-rock, country and Americana.

“We don’t like to box ourselves in,” says Connor. “But we hear from fans all the time that our blend of sounds and influences is one of the things they love. When we get on a stage, it just clicks. It’s seamless. And based on the way people are reacting, it must be working.” It’s working indeed. From the fiddle-driven and harmony-rich opener “Sheets Down”, to the country-ballad swoon of “Only Need You”, “(She’s) My Salvation” or “Back in Dixie”, to the unapologetic, raunchy swagger of “When I’m Gone”, or the instrumental twin-fiddle blast of the aptly-named “Fiddler”, New Hometown is an 18 song joyride. Produced by Connor and John Briglevich (Goo Goo Dolls, Edwin McCain), this is roots music crafted by a restlessness of spirit, born from the travels of a true troubadour.

Connor was born in Los Angeles, but before he was a teenager, had lived in South Korea, Indonesia and Belgium. At the age of 14, he left home with a guitar and a backpack, and continued his travel and musical growth in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, South America and even Africa. By the time he settled in Atlanta, GA in 1996, his life and his music were steeped in culture and influence from his well-traveled youth, and a tradition of diversity. And it was in that tradition that he began crafting what would become The Southern Gothic, or as fans call them "SoGo".

Connor met drummer Shawn Thacker in 2004. Thacker, a Rome, GA native, was raised as many rural Southerners were – surrounded by guitars, fiddles, mandolins and banjos. And, of course, KISS. “Hearing ‘Detroit Rock City’ by the flashing lights of my uncle’s 8-track player was a life-changer,” says Thacker. Suburban Washington, DC native and bass player Joe Abramson, who cut his teeth on ‘60s British blues and “pretty much anything with loud guitars,” rounded out what initially began as a trio, the first incarnation of what would later become SoGo
Continuing in the spirit of New Hometown, next came classically trained violinist (turned fiddler) Elena Martin, born and raised deep in Soviet Siberia. Aside from her fiddle work, Martin is beloved among fans for her huge smile and infectious on-stage energy. Multi-instrumentalist and Syracuse, NY native Jeff Spirko completed the lineup, joining in 2010. Spirko moves with ease between guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and piano, but he’s not alone in his multi-instrumental talent. Christian, in addition to his vocal duties, plays guitar, piano and mandolin, and Martin plays piano and mandolin when not blistering the neck of her fiddle. The band’s ability to move between so many instruments adds not only a great dynamic to the music, but a level of excitement to their live show as well.

“Live, there are definitely some moments that might look like a fire drill. We have a song or two where some of us change instruments mid-song, so to the uninitiated, it looks chaotic. But it adds to the excitement. And it gives us so much flexibility on stage to do different things, and change the texture of the show from song to song.”

The SoGo has spent the better part of the past three years on the road. When not headlining, they’ve shared stages with such artists as Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Corey Smith, Big & Rich, Uncle Kracker, Gloriana, STYX, ZZ Top, Heart, Foreigner, and more. The diverse nature of the artists with whom they’ve toured again reflects the diversity of the band’s sound. “It works,” says Christian in regard to the varying nature of the audiences. “We’ve played to country crowds, rock crowds, young crowds, old crowds. We’ve played to jam band audiences and we’ve played bluegrass festivals. The response with all of them has been fantastic.”

Fantastic enough for Billboard Magazine to notice. SoGo was named “Artist on the Verge” in Billboard’s Best Bets of 2012 issue. “It’s pretty crazy,” says Connor of the accolade. “I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come.”

And if the momentum gained in the past year is any indication, The Southern Gothic indeed has big things to come. The release of New Hometown in February '13 was be preceeded by the release of the video for “Sheets Down”, directed by Mil Cannon (Usher, Pink, John Mayer, Collective Soul), and supported by the band’s continued “never-stop” approach to touring.

“We’ve traveled the world,” says Connor. “We find the people, the stories - there’s always something familiar, no matter where we go. So when we get to play songs that are shaped by those people and those places, somehow it always feels like we are home, no matter where we are.”

Addition: in late 2013 The Southern Gothic welcome Atlanta's Rashad Abu-Azzam on bass (known to some SoGo fans as Shad Adams). At the end of 2014 Elena Martin retired from touring and the multi-talented Fiddlin' Faye Petree of Winston-Salem NC took over fiddle duties

Also Featuring:

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Time Sawyer

Time Sawyer is interested in “real people and real songs” and that’s just what the listener finds in their music – a sense of realness. Time Sawyer blends a grassroots feel with heart-felt lyrics to put on an entertaining show. From introspective ballads to high-energy crowd-pleasers, Time Sawyer’s songs land in that rootsy sweet spot where folk, alt-country, and rock gather for a good time.

The folk rock band’s name reflects the pull between the past and the future. The character Tom Sawyer evokes the rural background and love of home that lead vocalist/guitarist Sam Tayloe and vocalist/banjo player Houston Norris, share. Time is a muse for songwriting; it’s the thread that runs through life, bringing new experiences and giving us a sense of urgency, while still connecting us with our past.

Time Sawyer has performed on the stages of some of the Southeast’s most iconic festivals, including Merlefest, Floydfest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Rhythm n’ Blooms, Carolina in the Fall and IBMA’s Bluegrass First Class. They’ve shared bills with Langhorne Slim, Phil Cook, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Wood Brothers, Joe Pug, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and many more.

The band’s original members, including guitarist Kurt Layell and drummer Clay Stirewalt, along with Tayloe and Norris, started performing and recording together while they were all students at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. They went on to record five albums together, each demonstrating growth, with more skillful instrumentation and more sophisticated arrangement, all while retaining the honesty and directness that has been a hallmark of their music from the start. Time Sawyer now operates as a 5-piece comprised of some of North Carolina's best musicians, while also giving Tayloe & Norris the flexibility to strip it back for acoustic duo & trio performances when desired.

The memorable lyrics and strong melodies result in songs that will stay in your head long after the music stops. Time Sawyer continues to develop a loyal and growing fan base. Whether they’re playing in an intimate listening room or a large outdoor festival, their goal is to forge a face-to-face connection with the audience so that they become friends who happen to be fans.