October 2020

7 Musicians, 7 Questions, 49 Answers

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

We asked seven popular Lowcountry musicians to come up with seven questions for their musically- inclined peers.

They opened up about everything from the importance of original songwriting and what songs make them cry to what local musicians they like to listen to and their least favorite part of the job.


John Cranford

Where can we find you performing in the month of October?
I’ll be playing with Martin Lesch and Matt Robbins at Fish, Sea Pines Art Market, and at Alex Brown’s campaign event. But you can usually find me at Coligny Theatre running production for our local and original talent.

Do you ever get tired of performing?
There was certainly a time when I realized I was tired of touring. After seven years on the road with Cranford Hollow, we had performed over 1,200 shows. And although I loved being on stage making music with my friends, the monotony of the road and a grueling tour schedule put me in a pretty sour mood. I remember getting in the van a few weeks after I got back from my honeymoon en route to a show in D.C. and realizing, man I really hate this.

What or who is your musical influence?
I’m all over the board when it comes to who in particular is inspiring me this month or even this week, but I will say Paul Simon’s “Graceland” was a big turning point for me even at a young age. As a little dude in Northern Wisconsin hearing those sounds and vocal arrangements and rhythm basically blew my mind, and as I grew older, that production style heavily influenced my approach to making records. There’s a ton of depth and layering happening, and it almost seems like I hear something new every time I listen to it.

What is your favorite style of music?
This is another “all over the board” answer, but when I’m in my kitchen, I love New Orleans brass band and second line stuff like Rebirth and Treme Brass Band.

What’s your favorite recent pop song (last five years)?
I guess that depends on what you would categorize as pop. I don’t listen to the radio that much, but my bud Jared Templeton wrote this killer pop tune for the boys over in Pretty Darn called “Brothers” that I love and enjoy every time I hear them play it live.

Which local musician do you most admire and why?
Bar none, Martin Lesch is the hardest working musician both at his craft and bettering his community. He’s embedded at so many levels of our little scene and has really been paving a positive way forward for the future of Hilton Head.

How important do you think original songwriting is for an artist?
That’s the key word right there: artist. There are tons of entertainers on this island, but the ratio to actual “artists” is about 10:1. This ties into what I said above, but if you’re calling yourself a “singer-songwriter” write some f-ing songs. I’m obviously pretty stern and sometimes crass regarding this idea, but it’s something I’ve been striving to push in this community for 10 years. I don’t think the general public differentiates between the Jimmy Buffet cover musicians and those who are building their own songs. There’s no conception of what it really takes to record something original, let alone a whole record. I was super fortunate to be in a band with a co-writer (Phil Sirmans) and an excellent melodic musician (Eric Reid) that really wanted to craft something we could call our own, and I understand that not everyone has that opportunity. But I think writing, performing, and putting out your own stuff is the most important thing to do if you label yourself an artist. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with cover songs. I play cover songs, and I understand that necessity when you’re filling a 3- 4-hour gig; you need material. But play your stuff. Get it out there. Tell all these tourists what you wrote or what you recorded and be proud of it. Original music is HHI’s best export, and all these minivans traveling back to Ohio or wherever can listen to your stuff. That’s cool, and that’s the power of technology right now.


Frederick Capers

Where can we find you performing in the month of October?
10/7 Okatie Ale House
10/8 Calhoun’s
10/9 Captain Woody’s, HHI
10/16 Fat Patties, Bluffton
10/17 Calhoun’s
10/21 Calhoun’s
10/22 Calhoun’s
10/23 Latitude at Margaritaville
10/24 Cheap Seats Tavern 2
10/28 Calhoun’s
10/30 Captain Woody’s, Bluffton
10/31 Calhoun’s

What or who is your musical influence?
Everything. All sounds. From wheels creaking to James Brown’s riffs to gospel hymns to my girlfriend’s snoring to Bach to Sergio Mendes to Aretha Franklin to Engelbert Humperdinck to…

What is your favorite style of music?
No favorite style. I draw from all genres. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Bossa Nova, Moonchild, and Anderson. Paak

What’s your favorite recent pop song (last five years)?
“Parking Lot,” by Anderson.Paak and “The Beginning,” by Quinb; they both make me smile and move. They’re on our morning playlist.

Which local musician do you most admire and why?
Sterlin Colvin Sr. His style of playing and performing feels familiar. He’s a great entertainer, and he reminds me of home.

How important do you think original songwriting is for an artist?
Originality is incredibly important to me. This year, we launched the #52weeksofheat campaign during which we are dropping an original song every week of 2020. That’s something no one else around here is doing. I’ve written hundreds of songs, so the traditional album release and production was stifling for me. There are songs that are personal to the artist yet seem to tell the inner workings of the universal soul as they touch the deepest parts of people. Those are the songs I want to write, and so I work at it every day! I write songs religiously, considering each as a lottery ticket that will give me the means to effect change in my community and the world. I want the name #LaBodegaMan to ring bells.

What was the first song to make you cry?
“My Help,” by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, still makes me cry sometimes. I have a sensitive heart.


Martin Lesch

Do you ever get tired of performing?
Nope!

What is your favorite style of music?
Jazz, then hip hop.

What’s your favorite recent pop song (last five years)?
“Back to You,” by Selena Gomez.
It’s an amazing piece of writing all
the way around.

Which local musician do you most admire and why?
Lavon Stevens and Bob Masteller for their commitment to musical excellence and service to their community.

How important do you think original songwriting is for an artist?
Important, but originality can be expressed in a multitude of ways.

What is your least favorite part of being a professional musician?
The hours.

Did you choose your main instrument, or did it choose you?
A piano showed up one day at my house when I was four years old, and I’ve still never gotten bored with it.


Maggie Evans

Where can we find you performing in the month of October?
Wednesdays at Redfish, Fridays and Saturdays at Rancho Alegre Cuban Restaurant in Savannah.

Do you ever get tired of performing?
No. Sometimes the prep and set up is exhausting, but once I am playing I always enjoy.

What is your favorite style of music?
Alternative Latin hip hop.

How important do you think original songwriting is for an artist?
It depends on the genre. In jazz, original songwriting isn’t as important as original interpretations or just having an original sound. I would say above all, originality
is always the most important! If you write an “original” song that is highly derivative, is it really original?

What is the first album you ever purchased?
I think it was Jane’s Addiction, Ritual de lo Habitual. It was a big deal that it was parental advisory. I think my hack was ordering it through Columbia House rather than buying it in person.

What was the name of your first band?
Mudslide (it was a super edgy, politically outspoken grunge/punk power trio. I was fourteen).

What is your least favorite part of being a professional musician?
I don’t want this to come off as rude, but honestly, the social aspect is really exhausting for me. Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to people on breaks. I just want to play and then hide at the bar with my bandmates. To be clear, I don’t feel like that every night, but overall I’m just not a natural extrovert, and it’s something I’ve had to work on.


Reggie Deas
Do you ever get tired of performing?
No, especially when patrons let you know that the music you provided made them extremely happy.

What or who is your musical influence?
Nat King Cole, Brooke Benton, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye,
and a few others. I simply love meaningful music.

What is your favorite style of music?
Oldies, Motown, and rhythm and blues.

What is your least favorite part of being a professional musician?
The demand of trying to please everybody and play what everyone wants to hear. This is a job, and it is hard work physically as well as mentally.

Did you choose your main instrument, or did it choose you?
It chose me. I’m a singer, and love to sing because it relaxes me.

What was the first song you learned all the lyrics to?
“Love and Happiness,” by Al Greene.

If you could have any power, what would it be?
To unite all cultures and make this world a peaceful place to live.


Whitley Deputy

Where can we find you playing in October?
Every Tuesday at Ruby Lee’s and also the 10th, 17th and 31st; every Wednesday at Sea Salts from 4-6 p.m.; Calhoun Street Tavern on the 4th and 23rd; The Tiki Hut on the 15th and 29th, and a bunch of private parties that you can’t come to—I’m so sorry, guys.

How important do you think original songwriting is for an artist?
It’s a prerequisite. A musician who doesn’t write music isn’t an artist. Just a musician. Art is creating something new—making it your own. To all my musician friends out there, write your own music! It might suck at first, but that’s okay. We all sucked at first. Keep doing it, and you’ll come up with something awesome.

As a professional musician, what do you do differently now as opposed to when you first started gigging?
Back then, I was more free when I played. I didn’t care what anyone thought; I just went for it. I’m finally getting back to that, and things are getting really awesome.

What is your least favorite part of being a professional musician?
I love being a musician. I get to make people happy for a living. It’s such a blessing. No way am I going to focus on the negative aspects of what comes along with being a musician. I am grateful and blessed.

Did you choose your main instrument, or did it choose you?
Instruments don’t have the brains to make decisions. Ours was a mutual decision.

What was the first song to make you cry?
Whitley Deputy doesn’t cry.

If you could have any power, what would it be?
I have all the power I need in Jesus.


Cameron Tate

Where can we find you performing in the month of October?
Steamer Seafood, Big Bamboo Café, Tiki Hut, Crazy Crab.

What or who is your musical influence?
My musical influence is simply the power and gift of music—the many ways it can transform us and/or help us relate to one another.

Do you ever get tired of performing?
Negative, nor do I think I could.

What was the first song you learned all the lyrics to?
“My Girl,” The Temptations

As a professional musician, what do you do differently now as opposed to when you first started gigging?
I bring an extra guitar. The humidity here is not the best on guitar strings.

Which local musician do you most admire and why?
Derrick Ludaway. He’s one of the most honest performers here.

Is Rock & Roll dead?
Most definitely not.

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