The Savannah Stopover Music Festival, running March 8-10 this year, got off to an auspicious start with a special showcase taking place in the garden pavilion at the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in downtown Savannah, Ga. The showcase was special in a couple of ways; the three acts that performed were all Georgia-based with Atlanta’s Larkin Poe and Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics playing sets along with Savannah’s very own Payne Bridges. And in a nod to the fact that March 8 was also International Women’s Day, the showcasing acts were all acts featuring women. That fact was not lost on Soulphonics frontwoman Ruby Velle, who gave the special day a shout-out from the stage.
Velle is a petite woman with a giant stage presence, and she and the seven-piece Soulphonics put on a dynamic show featuring past favorites and cuts from their forthcoming release State of All Things, due in April. “Love Less Blind,” “Call out My Name,” “Shackles,” “Lost Lady USA” and the title cut from the forthcoming album were all played, and the band occasionally added psychedelic flourishes to their buoyant brand of R&B and soul.
Before their show Velle gave AXS some insight into the makeup of State of All Things, saying, “Our newest work is based on deep storytelling blended with eclectic musical arrangements. Stories of love against all the odds. Stories of forgiveness at any cost. It’s a snapshot of a very modern world saga, told with timeless emotion and filled with a burning hope for humanity. And with that, a belief that at the heart of this current state is good.”
Velle also told AXS that she was honored to be playing Savannah Stopover’s special opening night showcase. “There is truly something special about being selected to open this year’s Savannah Stopover,” the singer said. “We wrote and created State of All Things in the southeast, in Atlanta, and we’ve been inspired by so many Georgia neighbors and southern musicians like James Brown, Sharon Jones, the Allman Brothers and Larkin Poe.”
The Savannah Stopover Music Festival takes place at various venues around downtown Savannah and the other shows on opening day purposely began after the Georgia music showcase ended. Some of the acts performing later in the evening included KOLARS, Escondido, French Vanilla, Shopping, the Cave Singers and Zuli, a very nice warm-up for the two days of music to follow.