Michael Davis of Ye Olde Music Shop launched the Lowcountry Music Hall of Fame two years ago as a means of giving proper recognition to the long list of folks who have played a large role in shaping the local music scene. From venue owners to publishers and music instructors, those who Davis recognizes aren’t just musicians. This year’s event is the third-annual Lowcountry Music Hall of Fame awards show. Returning to the Hanahan Amphitheater, which Davis is also responsible for, the event will feature a performance from one of this year’s inductees, the Killer Whales.
Killer Whales: Davis says that back in the ’70s and ’80s, the Killer Whales ruled the local music scene. “They were the first local band to gain national recognition,” he says. “Their influence remains four decades later. The members of the band were David Bethany, Murphy Pitts, Jim Blakeslee, and Tom Lentz.”
Roger Bellow: If you want to learn about early country music traditions, look no further than the one and only Roger Bellow and his Drifting Troubadours. He attended the Old Town School of Folk Music in 1959. “He is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, singer, and country music scholar,” Davis says. “Roger currently hosts Vintage Country on WYLA Charleston Public library station and continues to perform regularly.”
Bunky Odom: Meet the former manager of the Allman Brothers Band, Bunky Odom. “He is personally responsible for many of the Lowcountry’s greatest concerts and has been a great counselor for many of Charleston’s top bands,” Davis says.
Marvin Lanier: According to Davis and many more, Marvin Lanier is one of the Lowcountry’s greatest guitarists. “Marvin was a guitarist for one of the Grand Old Opry’s greatest stars, Don Gibson,” he says. “He has taught countless people over the years in Charleston how to play guitar.”
Johnny Spell: Did you know that a master of the Hawaiian steel guitar is Charleston’s own Johnny Spell? “He has been performing regularly on many Charleston radio stations since 1943,” Davis says. “He also performed on Channel 5 dating back to 1954.”
George Kinney: George Kinney is the former band director of CA Brown High School, which was located in downtown Charleston. “George is an extremely important figure in the local jazz scene,” Davis says. “He is a master on the tenor sax and flute. He has taught and inspired many local players.”
Fred Sheetz: Fred Sheetz is known for his love of big band and Dixieland jazz. “He has been part of the local music scene for decades,” Davis says. “Fred has been a trumpet player in many ensembles over the years and has worked for Pecknel Music as a horn repairman for many years.”
Bobbie Storm: Her mother, Sugar Holt, was called the Queen of Entertainers, and Bobbie Storm would follow in her footsteps, gracing many a Charleston stage. “Her rich vocals has earned her the name as the Queen of Local Jazz,” Davis says. “Bobbie can sing all styles of music, but when it comes to the great jazz standards, she is the best.
John Quincy: Davis says that although John Quincy was born in Kentucky, he has claimed Charleston as his second home. “In 1981 he began his broadcasting career as a DJ at WSSX. He has also worked at WXTC, WBUB, WXLY, WSUY and WTMA,” Davis says. “John has been a successful local radio personality for 35 years.”
Richard Weatherford: Richard Weatherford opened the Sand Dollar on Folly Beach in September 1975. “It has been a popular night spot ever since,” Davis explains. “It has provided Folly Beach and all of the Charleston area with local, regional and national acts.”
Osei Terry Chandler: He’s been the heart and soul of reggae music in Charleston for 40 years, Davis says. “He moved to Charleston in 1977. In 1978 as part of the Group for Integrated Studies he helped produce 14 events in 10 days for the first Piccolo Spoleto Festival,” he remembers. “That same year he began with S.C. Public Radio. In 1979 he started the Roots Musik Karamu, the longest-running Caribbean music program on the east coast. He is also a retired educator with Trident Technical College.”
Gary Erwin: Shrimp City Slim has been making things happen in the South Carolina blues community for many years — performing around Charleston regularly and organizing blues-based events both here and beyond. “Better known as Shrimp City Slim, moved to Charleston in the early ’80s,” Davis says. “He formed the Lowcountry Blues Society in 1985. He ran Erwin Music from 1987 to 1996. Gary also started the Lowcountry Blues Bash that ran from 1991-2012. He is still organizing blues events in Charleston.”