Summer sears as the hot season for concert series, not only locally, but across the Carolinas, and especially for outdoor entertainment.
The city of North Myrtle Beach has stepped up its outdoor concert circuit with free performances on Thursdays through Sept. 19, and a bonus party to boot, on July 5.
Most acts in this “Music on Main” series will play in the city’s Horseshoe, 11 S. Ocean Blvd., and a few dates will move up the street to 202 Main.
Callie Jean Wise, the city’s superintendent of programs/events, said its increase in concert dates resulted from a partnership in promotion from a Horseshoe neighbor, the Ocean Drive Pavilion Amusement Park, open at 4 p.m. daily at 90 S. Ocean Blvd. (663-3132 or www.odpavilion.com).
Wise also credited a new city events coordinator, Tina Gerrald, and summer intern, Samantha Hansis, for “a really good job” with helping line up the acts for every week on the calendar, as well as the “Sounds of Summer” series, on the third Fridays through September in the city’s McLean Park.
Keeping every concert family friendly factors into the planning, Wise said, “and we like to offer things for locals and visitors,” the latter of which swell the population every summer. Arranging concerts in any of the three aforementioned spots, she said, helps “enhance the beauty of our landscape and lets people what our beautiful city has to offer.”
Reviving Southern rock
Two groups – the Sam Morrison Band and Preacher Stone – will help kick off the Southern Revival Concert Series at 7 p.m. Friday at SBB in Murrells Inlet.
Marty Hill, who plays lead and slide guitars for Preacher Stone, a band based in Charlotte, N.C., said the Myrtle Beach radio station promoting the series – “The Outlaw,” simulcast on WJXY-FM 93.9 across the northern Grand Strand and WXJY-FM 93.7 on the south Strand – has played several of its songs this spring.
Speaking last week by phone before a concert in Baltimore, Hill remembered playing a few years ago by Hard Rock Cafe at Broadway at the Beach with brother Mark Hill in the group SuperGlide, which he said “was popular down there.”
Calling Preacher Stone a rock band that came out sounding like Southern rockers, Hill said country music in general “is getting increasingly heavier.”
He said more bands play “harder country, and Southern rock goes hand in hand with it.”
Hill, who recalled his playing heavy metal in the mid-1980s, also said most Southern rock acts “started off in rock bands” and that Preacher Stone’s music reflects the music with which the members grew up, such as Lynyrd Skynryd, with whom the sextet will join Oct. 20-24 for another Simple Man cruise from Florida.
Thankful for “lots of blessings from the Lord,” Hill said Preacher Stone also has made inroads in contributing soundtrack music to movies, documentaries and TV series, including the FX series “Sons of Anarchy.”
Work continues on a third album, Hill said, with hopes for release in later summer.
“We’re almost done,” he said. “We have just a few more tracks to throw down.”
He voiced his amazement, at, for instance, how Preacher Stone’s music has reached places such as Sweden and Norway, but he’s not surprised that in this 21st century, unlike in the 1970s – when, he said, bands such as Led Zeppelin needed radio airplay to assist in advancing their popularity – the ability for a new group to “get the word out” in promotions comes so much more easily through social networking and recording music, then “they throw it on YouTube.”
“I didn’t make the wave,” Hill said, “but the wave came, and we’re riding it now. ... You hang on for your life. It took all our lives to get there.”