Summer music scene lining up to be dynamic, always varied


The beach, the ocean, the waves, the live music, a place called "home." For the Beach Boys, it was California. For us, it's Hilton Head Island and Bluffton.

Here in the Lowcountry, we have the "music all summer long," much like the Beach Boys sang in 1964 about surfing, cars, girls and fun in California.

"It's a very robust music scene this summer," said Jordan Ross, who books, schedules, produces and sells tickets for all shows at the Roasting Room above the Corner Perk in Bluffton. "At least 40 guys that I know of are playing six nights a week, myself included. You can't throw a rock and not hit someone who's playing somewhere."

Let's start with two iconic performers on the island who have been front and center on stage for decades: Gregg Russell and Shannon Tanner.

Now in his 42nd year of fun with music and kids, Russell performs at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 23. beneath the majestic Liberty Oak tree at Harbour Town. It's a fun-filled event for families, for kids and for adults of all ages, and he engages the audience by bringing kids up on stage to sing along. He gets back on stage Aug. 29-Sept. 1.

Shelter Cove Marina is the setting for venerable performer Tanner every night for his one-hour show at 6:30 and 8 p.m. His free family show is now in its 31st year. Tanner also is the front-man for Parrot Palooza each Thursday evening at 7 p.m. during the summer.

Joining the decades-long tradition of regular performers is the Tiki Hut bar and music stage at Coligny Beach, which slung its first margarita behind the bar in 1997 and hosts live music nearly every afternoon and night throughout the summer.

"Toes in sand and drinks in hand" is the Tiki Hut's motto and for good reason. It offers a "Miami Vice" with light rum, a "Local's Jam" with bourbon, an "Orange Crush" with vodka, as well as beer and bar food. The music calendar is jammed nightly with the likes of local favorites Zack Stiltner and Cranford Hollow.

The idyllic setting of Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton continues to offer its Summer Concert Series at the Crossroads in Moreland Village. For $25 per car, music lovers can enjoy Pretty Darn on July 9, Deas Guyz on July 23 and Deep Drawl on Aug. 6. Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Bring your chair and cooler.

The Roasting Room on May River Road in Bluffton has a full roster of local, regional and national performers most of the year, although it winds down a bit in July and August. The bourbon bar with seating options presents an intimate setting for stellar performers - indie, soul and funk, rock, country, bluegrass, folk, blues - since opening in late 2015.

Ross singled out Stephen Kellogg with Tyrone Wells and Sarah Shook & The Disarmers in August as notable up-and-coming artists.

Because of the Roasting Room's reputation as a premiere performing-listening venue, Ross is in the enviable position of having agents and managers contact him and send electronic press kits of their musicians.

"We don't reach out to people any more; they reach out to us," said Ross, who formed Roasting Room Productions in 2016. We have so many people reaching out to us to play that I don't have enough space in my schedule to ask for other people to put. I can pick and choose."

Captain Woody's on Hilton Head and in Bluffton has solo or duo acoustic performers almost every night this summer with varying start times, usually on the upstairs deck.

Old Town Dispensary in Old Town Bluffton always stacks its musical calendar throughout the summer. Performance times vary, and the casual outdoor setting with firepits and tables is a must-visit.

Ruby Lee's, on the island's south end, complements its soul food menu of oxtail stew, fried okra and collard greens with a full roster of music six nights weekly.

Live and local talent takes center stage nightly at 6:30 p.m. at Coligny Plaza during its Summer Music 2019 series. Performances include classics, original bluegrass, contemporary hits, dance music and sing-alongs.

Live music and craft beer share the spotlight in July at the Sunset Party in Bluffton at the Oyster Factory Park on Wharf Street. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. July 11, The Pinkney Island Boys kick off a double-bill followed by Groove Town Assault. The following night at 4:30 p.m., Bobby Magyarosi and The Horan Brothers Band split the spotlight.

Lowcountry resident Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer.

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