From downtown to the beach and outlying neighborhoods, the hustle and bustle of Charleston’s music community gets busier every year. As the band and club scenes evolve, it’s hard to keep up with who’s who and what’s where, but it’s a job we love to do.

In celebration of the city’s rich musical sphere, this year’s Music Issue aims the spotlight at some of the talented characters who make the shows and recordings happen. It touches on some of the basic fundamentals any aspiring musical act should consider, and shares some major dos and don’ts from veteran players who’ve lived through adventures and mishaps.

Local musician and City Paper contributor Doug Walters shares some of his heart and from-the-gut thoughts in a special feature, and some of the hardest-working audio engineers from clubs and independently owned studios around town weigh in on their craft and offer some helpful advice to musicians and bands.

Additionally, the City Paper unveils an updated Local Music Directory in print and online. It’s a hefty, descriptive, who’s who guide to local music. This updated 2009 directory will hopefully serve as a useful tool for readers, writers, agents, club owners, radio stations, and others. This directory illustrates a unique diversity and richness better than anything we could publish on a weekly basis.

Currently, there are hundreds of musical artists doing their own thing in the Charleston area. Musical events happen all over the Lowcountry, so jump in, dig into it, and try to appreciate the work and creativity behind it. —T. Ballard Lesemann (music editor)