Each year SXSW gets all the press, and rightfully so, but a fest just before it keeps gaining more and more momentum year after year. Yep, the Savannah Stopover Music Festival is coming on like Vickie from Small Wonder on extra-strength batteries, and methinks it’ll be more than just a “stopover” before long. This year’s event bolstered over 100 performances including rising stars Future Islands, Speedy Ortiz, and Small Black performing all over the historic Savannah downtown from March 6-8. Thankfully, A-Sides was in Savannah to capture oodles (yeah, I’m using that word) of exclusive performances – many of which were filmed in a rest room. Yep, it’s live…in the can. Before we get to it, let me say this – if you haven’t gone to Savannah you should. It’s one of the best cities. I dare you not to fall in love with the sights, scenes, and the eats. Yum. Mrs Wilkes’ Dining Room. Olde Pink House.

Anyway, as I said, a few weeks back A-Sides sessions were filmed, and now that the dust has settled from SXSW and St. Paddy’s, here’s the first of a two-part series of great bands performing great tracks in that aforementioned great city. Just the music. A-Sides Live filmed by Jon Paul Graham. Before we get to the vids, check out JPG’s photo slideshow of the fest here. Anyone ask for awesome sauce?

Christopher Paul Stelling 
They say the second floor of Savannah’s Moon River Brewing Company is haunted. Who knows for sure, but this tune performed there sure is hauntingly powerful. Everything Christopher Paul Stelling sings is powerful stuff. His “Death of Influence” is another example, and this version recorded exclusively for A-Sides at the Stopover Festival is a treat. Oh and I do see shadows in this video do you? Ghosts? Boo? Anyway… watch and love this. And grab his debut Songs of Praise and Scorn and last year’s False Cities by CPS. Intense, felt stuff.

The Teen Age
Brooklyn’s doo wop garage quartet The Teen Age literally stopped over at the Stopover Artists’ Lounge to perform “Sleep Alone.” The band has had quite a solid year since forming in a BK basement – gaining buzz on, um, MTV’S Buzzworthy blog (for single “Ventura”) and opening for UK’s Palma Violets.

The Black Cadillacs
While it was raining outside, these blues-based indie rockers from Knoxville, TN brought the musical thunder indoors the Stopover Press Lounge for an impromptu, killer performance of “Won’t Let Go.” Oh gosh, I do love weather-related wordplay. Sigh. Pauses. Says sorry. Anyway, have a listen to this band and grab their debut LP Run now.

Fare the Gap
This Savannah-based band, which is fronted by Ryan Gillam and Rebekah Price, had no problem performing in a bathroom within the Stopover Lounge, and we’re the better for it. Bathroom acoustics matched with Price’s vocals = priceless. People should professionally play restrooms, but I guess the event promoters wouldn’t be able to make much being that the capacity would be small. Anyway, Fare the Gap crushed their song “Abel Cried Out” for A-Sides. Snag their debut album Giant Whispers: in Color when you can.

About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I’m hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Pharrell Williams, American Authors, Imagine Dragons Jake Miller, Gary Clark Jr., Sleigh Bells, Danger Mouse, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, San Fermin, and more!