Doctoral candidate Ali Arant’s time at the University of South Carolina was brief, but the Deep South seems to have made quite an impression. Among the English courses she currently teaches at Wagner College in New York is “Growing Up in Dixie,” something that comes into play on her debut album, June July.
Recorded during her time in Columbia, the album was produced by local musician Darren Woodlief (of Pocket Buddha), who also played guitar and co-wrote several songs. It’s a pleasant listen that touches on folk, country and blues without succumbing to their well-worn cliches.
Arant’s vocals are intimate and effortless, lending the songs a gentle and hypnotic pulse that resembles how Nicole Atkins might have turned out if she had hung out more with her early tourmates, The Avett Brothers, instead of moving on to grander pop stylings.
“Don’t Be Sour” is especially Avetts-like, with banjo bustling brightly through the arrangement, but uncertainty still rears its head — “What we don’t let out will seep out,” Arant sings, “And I don’t fully understand / Why I don’t understand.”
Musically, there is no such lack of confidence as Woodlief and Arant pick their way nimbly through waltz-time meditations (“LiPo”), dirty, Jack White-style electric skronking (“How You Do It”), and the stately blues of the set’s only cover tune, “Trouble In Mind,” a tasteful retread of Richard M. Jones oft revived standard.
More inspired than studied, June July is a fit musical thesis for this professional academic — making it all the more disappointing that we can no longer count her among our local music faculty.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Trustus Theatre Presents Evil Dead, The Musical
This musical version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic films promises to serve up more humor than horror. You can read more and purchase your tickets here.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Make your own beer and wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop, 736 St. Andrews Road. Click to find out how!
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info