Savannah Stopover quick take: Sanders Bohlke

In an earlier era, Sanders Bohlke might have been a prophet or a martyr. But it’s the 21st century, so he’s a singer-songwriter.

I had never heard Bohlke live before hearing him three times at the just-completed first Savannah Stopover, so I wondered if in person his voice could possibly have the same soulful resonance that it has in recordings. It does.

Bohlke’s first gig of the extended weekend was in the outdoor, covered performance space at SCAD’s Pei Ling Chang gallery, a space that ought to be used a lot more than it is. The sparse stage, straightforward lighting, and a few dancing shadows from the street were perfect for Bohlke and his guitar. The next morning I showed up with my VIP pass (which cost a bit extra) at Meddins Studios for Bohlke’s hour-long Stopover Session. I’m sure the added folks in the small studio — a former refrigerated locker when the building was a meat packing plant — were a little distracting, but Bohlke sounded even better than the night before as he recorded tracks like “An Unkindness of Ravens” and “The Weight of Us.”

The session was interrupted a couple of times by stray noises, but Bohlke laid down five seemingly flawless tracks in an hour. I can’t wait to see how the video and audio turn out — I’ll post them here when they’re online.

Bohlke’s final gig of the Stopover was at The Sentient Bean, a venue with a nice feel but not really great sound. The vaulted wood ceiling can have a nice effect but there are just too many hard surfaces. Still, Bohlke sounded great again in a short set and got strong applause from the mostly full room. He played the electric a bit, and laid down a couple of loops over which he sang and played.

It’s just a remarkable effect, and I’m going to be watching closely to see where his career goes. You can purchase his songs on iTunes.

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