Spa City representers and Brian Martin and the Circulators.
Third Round Winner Brian Martin and the Circulators
What we said about their semi-final win:
Hats off to Brian Martin and the Circulators, from Hot Springs. They won the judges' scorecards handily in the second performance slot. Their swinging folk-blues has clearly built 'em a loyal fan base in the Spa City — a good deal of them were in the house on Thursday, singing and dancing all the way through. Martin sang and carried himself with the ease of someone who spends a lot of time on the stage. His songs touched on keystone barroom themes — dancing, drinking, getting high, Southern women — with several ditties about rambling to keep it folk. The singer/songwriter strummed his guitar adeptly, too, but his band likely put him over the edge, particularly the efforts of Greg Batterton on harmonica and trumpet.
Why they'll win
: Roots always wins. There's a long history of roots-tinged groups taking home the prize at the Showcase. The band's effervescent blues-folk swings powerfully, too. Greg Batterton, on harmonica and trumpet, is a secret weapon.
I grew less demanding of the judges in the latter rounds, so I don't have commentary.