SWELL FOLK | Oh Valentino
w/ Slayton Johnson
Fri. Jan. 17

The husband-and-wife duo of Aaron and Christina O’Brien — a.k.a. Oh Valentino — are truly one of the unsung heroes of the Holy City music scene. They craft harmony-driven, folk-pop in the vein of Swell Season and the Civil Wars, and they do it every bit as good as those two acts. Frankly, it’s a shock that the pair aren’t already Charleston darlings. The question, of course, is why? “It’s a running joke that we are the worst self-promoters. I guess we’re just humble and very poor salespersons,” Aaron says. Although the duo has brought on a few musicians to help them expand their sound, there’s no denying the power of this pair. “It’s amazing what two people can do. It brings an instant intimacy to the music and adds a dynamic that brings everything to life,” Aaron notes. “We felt the new material we were writing needed something else. We teamed up with a local bass player, Phil Kelly, and percussionist Kris Manning to see if our two-piece could work as a four-piece. It really brought a lot of life to our sound, and we were able to write and perform in a new way. It all came together really well, and we’re excited about the sound we have.” One of the band’s standout tunes, “Au Contraire,” came out of those sessions; it’s a tune that’s sure to delight fans of the Once soundtrack. While Aaron and Christina are busy raising a family, they hope to have an LP of original material out in the fall. —Chris Haire FRIDAY


STONER ROCK | Beast in the Field
w/ Compel, Cepheus
Mon. Jan. 20

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Church of Satan’s request to build a monument to the Dark One at the state capital in Oklahoma. It’s a funny story, if tweaking the noses of fundies is your sort of thing. You can count the guys in Michigan-based instrumental stoner rock outfit Beast in the Field among those who approve of the demonic statue. “We are about freedom. Do what thou wilt — I guess that is satanic to some people,” says Beast drummer Jamie Jahr, adding that the band has no problem co-opting Lucifer’s image for their merchandise. “We have plenty of shirts that give you the feeling of the Satan monument.” And considering how good these guys are — Jahr is joined by guitarist Jordan Pries and that’s it — it’s amazing they’re able to pull off such an earth-shaking, soul-shattering sound. Perhaps they sold their souls to the devil. “I think he already has our souls, and we didn’t even get any cash for it,” Jahr says. “If he approached us, I messed it up somehow and didn’t notice he was trying to buy it.” Jahr and Pries have a new disc titled The Sacred Above, The Sacred Below, which should be coming out in February. —Chris Haire MONDAY


AMERICANA | Shovels & Rope
w/ Shakey Graves
Jan. 17-18
8 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall

Over the past year, Charleston’s Shovels & Rope — Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent — have shared the stage with the Avett Brothers, Dave Matthews, Dawes, and Swell Season’s Glen Hansard. They delivered a star-making performance on The Late Show with David Letterman, and they played several top-tier music festivals — Austin City Limits, Sasquatch!, the Voodoo Music Experience. The husband-and-wife duo also won a couple of awards at last year’s Americana Music Awards, including a song of the year trophy for their catchy little ditty “Birmingham.” If 2013 was any indication, the rest of the nation is quickly learning what we here in the Holy City already know — Shovels & Rope is the best thing to come out of Charleston since shrimp and grits. Unfortunately, the band’s two-night stand at the Charleston Music Hall is sold out, although we’re holding out hope that a few more tickets might become available. At the very least, we’re praying a couple turn up on Craigslist. However, if you don’t have tickets for this show, there’s no need to cry. Cary Ann and Michael will be back in town to play a little international arts festival called Spoleto. Impressive. —Jordan Lawrence FRIDAY AND SATURDAY


COUNTRY | Don Williams
Thurs. Jan. 16
7:30 p.m.
Charleston Music Hall

At 74, country music legend Don Williams has accomplished all that he needed to, but that hasn’t stopped him from writing and playing. The “Gentle Giant” — recognized for the comfortably rambling lilt and robust croon he brought to classics like “I Wouldn’t Want to Live if You Didn’t Love Me” and “I Believe in You” — has already been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2006, his “Farewell Tour of the World” made it seem like he might take a final bow, but he returned from retirement in 2010 and hit the road. And then in 2012, he released So It Goes, his first studio album in eight years. Despite his advanced years, this towering legend of country music keeps on going. And why not. So It Goes is a satisfying record. If anything, it showcases Williams’ voice, which has only gotten better with age. These days it rumbles a little deeper, adding an appealing roughness that never takes away from the reliably pillowy comforts of his pipes. —Jordan Lawrence THURSDAY