Sugarcane Jane - Organic Music at its Finest!
Just one listen is all it takes to understand why Sugarcane Jane is one of the Gulf Coast's most popular bands - one with an extremely devoted and loyal following.
This high-energy folk rock duo, made up of husband and wife Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee, bills its unique sound as "Organic Music at its Finest." The music is home grown and natural, and draws from a deep well of roots influences. Listeners can expect mostly acoustic sounds, and some of the freshest-sounding vocal harmonies they will ever hear.
Anthony, a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and a prolific songwriter with more than 400 songs to his credit, has had a long career as a sideman to the stars, with long associations with Neil Young, Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam and many others. He and Savana first met in Nashville several years ago when she was searching for success as a solo performer. Their first musical meeting was magical, resulting in a collaborative CD called "Redbird," and they soon teamed up musically, and romantically, and returned to their native Alabama and its warm and welcoming family roots.
Despite having traveled the world with rock stars such as Young and Winwood and having recorded on dozens of albums with industry heavyweights like Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash and many others over the years, Anthony says Sugarcane Jane is his life's calling. "It's the pinnacle of my musical career," he told the Mobile Press-Register last year. And, finally, he's singing, playing, arranging and recording his own songs instead of others'.
Anthony and Savana live in Loxley, Ala., an easy drive to and from clubs and festivals in Mobile as well as Coast destinations such as Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Biloxi and Pensacola. Demand for the band has kept them busy along the Gulf Coast as they begin to explore the Southeast for touring possibilities. Despite having frequent opportunities to catch Sugarcane Jane live, fans regularly drive 30 or 40 miles (and sometimes a few hundred) to enjoy another unique Sugarcane Jane experience.
The song arrangements are always changing, and the musicians can literally turn on a dime at any moment, veering into psychedelia and giving 'jam bands' a run for their money.
Another innovation, one that Anthony calls a "game-changer" for the group's sound, has been the addition of drums. Anthony plays the bass drum or stomp box (yes, while also playing guitar) and Savana plays snare drum or tambourine in addition to rhythm guitar. "As soon as I brought that kick drum to a show," he said. "I knew that was the missing piece of the puzzle, that low-end thump. It's amazing to see how people react to it."
While Sugarcane Jane's first two CDs were stripped-down and sparse, reflecting their live sound as a duo, their latest CD is a bit more lush and polished. Entitled "Listen with Headphones," it contains 14 songs that were lovingly and professionally crafted in Anthony's home studio; it offers listeners plenty of "ear candy" that rewards them if they follow the album title's advice. Their muse for the project is the couple's young daughter, Loretta Raine; no fewer than six of the album's songs were written about her or inspired by her. And, like in Sugarcane Jane's performances, there are a few cover tunes, too.
And as far as "Jane" goes, there's not one. Sugarcane Jane is a band name that the two came up with to distinguish themselves from the dozens of self-named duos that were also playing in the area. It comes from a remembrance of Savana's grandfather cutting sugarcane for Halloween treats for neighborhood children.
"People ask me all the time if I'm Jane," said Savana with a smile. "I tell 'em, "No, I'm Savana, and we are Sugarcane Jane."
Sugarcane Jane fans can expect a new album to be released in 2014. The couple recently recorded 11 songs at Creative Workshop in Nashville with long time co-writer and publisher, Buzz Cason. These performances were recorded live to 2 inch tape in one day with a few overdubs done the following day. They are some of the duos most popular songs along with a few new tunes, The Ballad of Sugarcane Jane, which tells the story of the couple's journey together along with another crowd favorite, San Andreas, a song written years ago while Anthony was spending time at Neil Young's ranch in Redwood City, California.
Their most recent collaboration, Willie Sugarcapps, is a band that includes the duo, Sugarcane Jane, along with Will Kimbrough, Grayson Capps, and Corky Hughes. After several magical rounds at Cathe Steele's Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm, people began asking them to perform at festivals and house concerts, as a group. Johnny Fisher, Orange Beach restaurateur coined their name, Willie Sugarcapps. They have recorded their debut self-titled album, Willie Sugarcapps, which was nationally released on Aug 20 of 2013 by The Royal Potato Family, out of New York. The group has been touring the Southeast supporting their album which has had glowing reviews with 'Gypsy Train' in consideration for a 2014 Grammy Award for Best American Roots song. Visit www.sugarcanejane.com and www.williesugarcapps.com for more.
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