Sound Bites: Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, 2017 Swamp Rabbit Music Festival, and SIRSY


Tim McGraw & Faith Hill: The Soul2Soul World Tour
Bon Secours Wellness Arena, 650 N. Academy St., Greenville
Friday, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m.

The Miranda Lambert-Blake Shelton marriage might have fallen by the wayside, but Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are still going strong as the First Couple of Country, having sold around 80 million records combined and scored nearly 40 No. 1 hits, including “It’s Your Love” (one of several duets they’ve recorded), “Don’t Take The Girl,” “This Kiss,” and “Live Like You Were Dying.” And those hits were on full display during their series of joint tours, the second of which, called Soul2Soul II, still stands as the highest-grossing country tour of all time, breaking the previous record set by Garth Brooks and hauling in $141 million. There was a time when there was some mild controversy over the two artists’ crossing over into pop territory, whether it was with Hill’s “Breathe” or McGraw’s collaboration with Nelly, “Over & Over,” but given the watered-down state of country radio these days, those concerns seem almost quaint. And if they ever split up, we’re giving up on love entirely.

2017 Swamp Rabbit Music Festival, featuring Doug Jones & Simple Syrup, Lesley Diane, Hillary Keane, The LOZ Band, Jillian Sprague, Mark Dye, Rush Morgan, and Lindsay Holler
Swamp Rabbit Inn, 426 S. Main St., Travelers Rest
Saturday, Sept. 9, 4 p.m.

In addition to being part of the Upstate rock-reggae-funk group The LOZ Band, guitarist John Durham has spent the last few years organizing a series of multiband events, like the Local Green Family Band shows and his multivolume Build-A-Band series. And he’s learned something from each of them. For example, in the wake of last year’s inaugural Swamp Rabbit Music Festival, he learned that the 12-act lineup was a little much. “The first one was too long,” he says. “I tried to make it an all-afternoon thing, but it was a hot summer day, and it was unrealistic to expect people to stay for the whole thing.” There are slightly fewer artists on the bill this year, and the sets are going to be considerably shorter, but Durham has also added some fresh faces, including powerhouse vocalists Hillary Keane and Lindsay Holler and rising local singer/songwriter Jillian Sprague. “One of the tricky things about this is balancing artists who have played it before and new artists,” he says. “I thought I would open up a few new slots. I hope that by combining all these forces we can put these people in front of an audience they deserve.”

Photo By Celia Kelly

SIRSY with Rochambeaux
Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Drive, Greenville
Saturday, Sept. 9, 9 p.m.

Rather than putting themselves across with pure volume like other guitar-and-drums duos, the New York two-piece known as SIRSY has spent the last decade finding ways around that formula, crafting a more intricate, poppy kind of music centered as much around singer/drummer Melanie Krahmer’s vocal harmonies as Rich Libutti’s guitar riffs. Of course, it’s easier to branch out from the basic formula when both members have a setup that allows them to play bass and keyboards onstage, sometimes with one of Krahmer’s drumsticks. “We’re less raw on purpose,” she says. “Our style allows us a bit of a ‘wow’ factor that a traditional setup doesn’t have, because the two of us are making so much noise that it makes the audience wonder how we’re doing that with just two people.” There was a brief time when the duo thought about expanding their lineup, but ultimately, Krahmer says that they couldn’t find anyone who could keep up. “We play 250 shows a year and travel 60,000 miles,” she says. “So it’s hard to find two other people who want to keep that schedule.”



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