Friday, March 29, 2013

The Lustre Kings 3.28.13

Well, its been a great week for music to say the very least and I hate to have it end. On Thursday I saw The Lustre Kings, from Albany, New York. It was surprisingly my first time seeing them. I've had one of their albums on vinyl for a while and I had to see them in person. Though the line up of the Lustre Kings changes every so often, leader of the group Mark Gamsjager has been rocking since the group started.

Yet again there was another opening act. From Kansas City (I think), Victor & Penny, and they did what they call 'Antique Pop.' It was fun toe-tapping music I guess you could call it, and I really did enjoy them, but at the end of the day, it just isn't my thing. Anyways, the Lustre Kings started and from the first note, it was pure Rock N Roll the whole time. Doing some classics like California Sun or Lets Dance as well as a ton of their own.

The band was really tight. Each of them sang a solo song at one point, except the bass player, Chops, though he did sing background a lot. Both Mark and Chops at times came into the crowd and continued playing and really got the crowd goin. The whole show really just felt like a big party. Very active crowd and a lot of great music. They had a lot of merchandise to choose from which I was happy to see. I picked up a really cool t shirt, (though they were out of the color I wanted), a really cool 45 'Live From The Rongovian Embassy' with tracks, Evil Woman and No Club, on really nice blue vinyl. And I also had to pick up a CD from 2007, Way Out There, with Rochester native, Jason Smay on drums. All in all, I had a great time and hopefully I can catch them every time they come back around. I'm glad theres a really good band like this in my state. Though Albany's not by any means right next door, its easier for them to get here unlike the West Coast guys. So anyways, see The Lustre Kings! You won't regret it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wayne Hancock 3.26.13

When I first heard Wayne Hancock was coming to my area, I can't even explain the excitement. This guy is the real deal, and he is by far one of the greatest Country artists of today (as if he has any competition) and one of the greatest song writers as well. The show opened with a singer songwriter, Patrick Sweany. He did this soulful blues rock type stuff. He was good but nothing I usually listen to. I could listen to him again without much complaint but like I said, just wasn't my thing.

Wayne started the show with some big songs from the 'Thats What Daddy Wants' album, 'Johnson City' and 'Louisiana Blues.' His voice was as great as ever. There were a few songs I was surprised he didn't do but with the catalog of songs he has, I imagine he likes to switch it up every show. He didn't seem to have a set list, after every song he just said another one and they did it. Like I said with the catalog of songs he has, he has a lot to choose from. Still I was a little surprised he didn't do songs like Johnny Law, Highway 54, Little Lisa and 87 Southbound. But he did do a lot of great ones. From the new album, the song, Ride, Deal Gone Down and some other favorites like Oklahoma Hills (originally done by Ernest Tubb), Thats What Daddy Wants. Thunderstorms & Neon Signs, and Juke Joint Jumpin are just a few.

Now let me talk about the band, on guitar was Zach Sweeney who I believe plays on 'Ride' and 'Viper Of Melody', though I'm not sure about VOM. He played some tasty licks and couldn't believe how great he was in person. On doghouse bass, I didn't get his name and I wish I had talked to him but I didn't get around to it. He looked really young but I gotta be honest, he was one of the best I've heard. I think hes new to the line up. The bar was pretty full and I'd say it was a sold out crowd as well as an active one. I had him sign his new 45 that I bought online a while ago and bought a t shirt which was a little disappointing. It was just the Ride album cover, nothing crazy but I figured I'd get one. Experiencing the ol train in person was an experience I wont forget anytime soon, and I know this is just the first of many.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Album Review #2 | Jonny B & the Avenues - Give Me A Try

From San Diego, California, one of my favorite bands has finally released their debut album! Jonny B & the Avenues blend the two greatest types of music of the 50's, Rockabilly and Doo Wop, which definitely separates them from the rest seeing as Doo Wop, hate to say it, isn't as big as Rockabilly.

But lets get onto the album, 'Give Me A Try' has 12 original tracks that all sound like they were recorded in the 50's with a great mix of ballads and uptempo movers. Not to mention the excellent line up of the current Avenues. Natt Wise on lead guitar, to me, already has a distinctive style thats easily recognizable. Slappin on the bass is Devin Minnich, who does an excellent job. David Maloy on the sax, let me just say, if your band has a saxophone player, thats just really damn cool. Keepin' the beat is Matt Dibble on drums and of course led by Jonny Benavidez or 'Jonny B' on some sweet vocals. I hope this line up stays the same for a long, long time cause they sure know what they're doin.

Onto the songs, let me start off by saying when I first listened to it, I replayed the whole album again and listened to it two times in a row. The title song, 'Give Me A Try' is definitely the biggest stand out. Great ballad and great way to close the album. 'Fine Fine Women' is a great steady rocker, and through Jonny's voice you can really hear how fine this woman is! 'Mean Mean Mama' and 'Lucky One' also are really wild rockers and then we have another helping of slower ones like 'Tonight.' For the most part this album really rocks and is really upbeat. This is by far one of the strongest debut albums I've heard and I can't wait for more to come out in the future. I know a 45 may be in the works as well! You can purchase an album through facebook and if you don't have one, make one, message them, and buy this album! I'll leave the link below as well as a preview of the album. I think you should 'Give It A Try.'

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rachel Brooke 3.23.13

On Saturday I went to the Rachel Brooke show at the local bar. Rachel is an artist I've been a fan of ever since I first heard her, though that was only a few months ago. You gotta discover someone at some point in time, right? Anyways, shortly after I had found out she was coming to my area to do a show and I decided I had to catch it.

I got there a little early and there really weren't too many people there which I was surprised at, especially for a Saturday. But once the show started it really filled up, I'd say the whole bar was pretty full. I figured before the show would be the best time to pick up some music and apparel and bought a t shirt (as I do with most bands I see) And a vinyl record (which I also always buy unless I already have it). If you know me you know I'm a vinyl junkie and I couldn't be happier to pick up her newest lp, A Killer's Dream. The cover alone was worth the price of it, not to mention the killer music on the album. I also had her sign it.

She played her first set for about an hour, and took about a twenty minute break to sell some stuff, and take my advice, get there early cause there were a whole lotta people in line. She started off her second set with around five solo songs with just her and her guitar and the band rejoined. I was happy she did a lot of my favorite songs, A Killer's Dream, Serpentine Blues, Ashes To Ashes (she said this a few times but I think she said she doesn't perform this one often live). And one of my favorites she did was Old Home Place, originally done by The Dillards. Seeing as all I watch is Bonanza and especially Andy Griffith, you could imagine I was excited to hear a Dillards song being done.

But to wrap it up, I gotta say I was really impressed with the whole show (though I cut out a little early) and I'll definitely be seeing her again next time she comes around, and I highly recommend catching a show!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Rockabilly #25 | Brownbird Rudy Relic

From New York City, Brownbird Rudy Relic is a modern day Blues troubadour, mixing in music like Boogie Woogie, Ragtime, R&B, Rockabilly and Doo Wop. He has been seen performing in subway stations as well as bars and other spots around the country, and has performed in South America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Hes released tons of albums and is an energetic and entertaining performer. If you're walking down the street and you see a guy strumming on his guitar looking like hes gonna fall out of his chair, stop and listen. You'll be lucky if you catch this guy busking in the subway or on the street. This guy is fantastic, catch his shows and listen to his music!



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Rockabilly #24 | Blind Boy Paxton

No, this isn't Rockabilly, but its common knowledge Rockabilly wouldn't exist without the Blues and if this guy ain't Blues, I don't know what is. Based out of New York City, at age 23, Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton is one of the greatest artists of today, hands down. This guy is authentic and the real deal and until I discovered him, I was pretty sure guys like this had just died out. Going blind at the age of 16, Jerron didn't let that stop him from making music. As I always say, you don't just decide to become a Blues artist, it comes from hard times and bad luck, and I'd say Jerron has had his fair share.

Playing anything from Country Blues to Ragtime to Dixieland Jazz, if you're a fan of Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Jelly Roll Morton, Charley Patton and anyone in between, Blind Boy Paxton is gonna be right up your alley. Paxton has said 'good music is like meat and potatoes, and meat and potatoes don't suck.' Couldn't have said it any better myself. This is no gimmick and no act, this is the real deal. Pure Americana and real music. Blind Boy Paxton is gonna take off any day now I can guarantee that, with a 45 out, keep your eyes and ears open for an album!



Friday, March 8, 2013

Flashback Friday #3 | Jimmy Cavallo

Time to talk about another guy from my neck of the woods! From Syracuse, New York, Jimmy Cavallo I can honestly say is a pioneer and an architect for Rock N Roll, making that type of music before there was even a name for it! To be honest, Jimmy wasn't someone I was familiar with growing up or even til very recently. I was record hunting one day, as I usually am, and came across this pretty scratched up, dirty 45. The label looked pretty simple, nothing fancy, just BSD Records and under it I noticed it was recorded in Auburn, New York, not too far from where I live. Well needless to say I was gonna pick this 45 up no matter what music was on it. I have seen some 45's from Rochester, Buffalo, etc but none from a smaller town. And for 50 cents, what did I have to lose? I was a little more at ease when I saw the flip has the word 'blues' in it (song being Ha Ha Ha Blues, and the A side being I Got Eyes For You). Anyways, I got home put it on and was completely blown away like never before.

Though I figured I'd be wasting my time, I decided to do some research. Now Jimmy Cavallo is a Jump Blues/R&B artist, and from the recording I heard, I was sure he was black. Come to find out, this first thing I learn about him, hes white. During the 40's, Cavallo was a huge fan of artists like Wynonie Harris, and especially Louis Jordan. Trying hard to emulate the sound, Jimmy put together a band and set out to get some gigs. Looking to play at the white clubs or Italians weddings, etc, Jimmy had a hard time with the bookings. With only one other option really, Jimmy tried some bookings at the black clubs and was a huge success.

Now this was all happening in the 40's/early 50's, before Rock N Roll was a type of music. Though I don't think one artist, or one song, created Rock N Roll, I can honestly say, Jimmy Cavallo was doing this so called Rock N Roll, before Billy Haley, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, etc. Jimmy is still with us today and resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is still performing into his mid 80's! He still comes back to Syracuse once a year and performs. Be sure to catch him, this guy is a living legend!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Rockabilly #23 | Slim Sandy

From Victoria, BC, Canada, Slim Sandy first came to the scene in 2003. Wait just a second...Slim Sandy? Is that sorta like Big Sandy? Anyways, Slim was the original drummer for the late Rockabilly/Country legend, Ray Condo. Since 2003 hes been performing as a solo and sometimes as a one man band, doing pretty much anything in the Juke Joint Swing category, Rockabilly, Hillbilly, Country Blues, R&B and sometime a mix of all of those put together!

Slim Sandy has recorded a ton of music and is always in the process of recording another. Many of which are on vinyl. Having recorded for Hog Maw, Sleazy, Crow-Matic, Vampirette and many more. As well as all of Ray Condo's early recordings. Be sure to catch Slim Sandy and buy his music!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Rockabilly #22 | Bill Cardinal & the Canyon Band

Waylon Jennings once said, "If you want to be remembered, don't try going to Nashville to fit in, just set yourself down someplace and start doing what you do best." Hear that Blake Shelton? Obviously not you sellout! Luckily San Diego, California based artist Bill Cardinal did take that advice. After visiting Nashville in his early 20's, Cardinal was disappointed in the current state Country music is now in, and decided to play some real Country for a change like Buck Owens, George Jones and Waylon Jennings. Though he sings classic Country, he writes his own material and performs it fantastic. Excellent voice and really feels like a voice that would be heard back in the day.

In 2009 Cardinal was nominated for Best Country Act at the San Diego Music Awards. I'd sure like to know who won that year cause I'm having trouble imagining a better Country act in San Diego or even in the country for that matter. Yeah, hes that good. Songs like 'Country Man Blues' just give you that old time Country feel and really brings you back to a time when Country was Country. Do not miss out on this guy. Bill Cardinal is a real refreshing strictly Country singer. Yes its nice to have a great Western Swing band or Hillbilly Bop, but real Country music like this just can't be beat.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Rockabilly #21 | Lil Mo & the Dynaflos

I can't lie, I'm not the biggest Doo Wop fan, I do like it, but its not a main music I listen to. But theres no denying the original sound was so raw and real, coming from street corners and subway stations, most Doo Wop groups were lower middle class, blue collar, etc and when you listen closely, they each had a sound of their own. With any new Doo Wop group, theres a huge risk of it just coming across cheesy, corny and usually ends up turning into this nostalgic golden oldies sock hop'd mess. Though I can't say theres too many around still making it, as I said before, I'm not a huge fan but I'd hate to see it die. Well luckily, Los Angeles, California based Doo Wop quartet are keeping it alive. With members Lil Mo and Cliff talking one night about how much they love the old street corner Doo Wop sound, they figured they'd give it a whirl and see what happens. Well I can tell you, with two other members joining in it really brings it all together and they have a fantastic blend that sounds very authentic and do songs that are just so catchy and addicting. They've got a killer 4 piece band backing them that they selected from the outstanding Rockabilly scene in L.A. and sorta made them a part of the group as well. At their shows they do a bunch of originals as well as mixing in some stuff people know and love. These guys have some albums out and I really recommend you check them out. These guys definitely deliver that street corner sound and have a great blend of voices. Check 'em out!

Links to the group:


Monday, March 4, 2013

New Rockabilly #20 | Petunia & the Vipers

From Vancouver, BC, Canada, Petunia & the Vipers fit in well in the Rockabilly scene but the type of music they do could be better described as Cowboy Blues, Western Swing, or even Americana. Petunia's voice in some ways sorta reminds me of Pokey Lafarge. Forming in 2007, Petunia put together the band known as The Vipers after formally being a part of Petunia & the Loons.

As you should know, I'm a fan of vinyl and their newest album just titled 'Petunia & the Vipers,' is released on vinyl! And its a damn good album, taking almost 2 years to complete. And has some of the coolest cover art I've ever seen. They've even got a 45 single out, Mercy/Rock On Down The Line (a tribute to the late Ray Condo). Performing in Canada and the United States (mainly on the west coast), these guys are a must see!

Links to the group:


Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Rockabilly #19 | Johnny Deadly Trio

Seems like San Diego is becoming the Rockabilly capitol with a great bunch of cool new bands like Roy Rapid & the Rhythm Rock Trio, Jonny B & the Avenues, and Johnny Deadly is certainly adding to it, doing some real raw, greasy Rockabilly. Mr Deadly's voice is a great blend of the teenage sound of the 50's and the rough grittiness from the dive bars.

The band has recently assembled and is playing all over the San Diego area, but no album out yet. Though Mr Deadly has some killer original songs recorded such as Gotta Lil' Baby and Horizontal Hula. Even adding to the catalog of songs about burying yourself with Six Feet Deep (sorta like Bob Fryfogle - Six Feet Under or Gene Ski - Six Foot Down). And with a name like Johnny Deadly, I can't say a song about death is outta line. I can imagine when an album drops its gonna be pretty damn good.

Definitely catch some shows if you're in the San Diego area. Johnny Deadly is gonna tear the house down! And his rockin' music and tough image has earned him the title of Mr Rock N Roll if you ask me. This guy might be the next big thing so I'm happy to give you a heads up on him! Be sure to check out the Johnny Deadly Trio!

Links to the group:


Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Rockabilly #18 | Blue Collar Combo

So when a band looks like this, and has a name like Blue Collar Combo, I have a feeling I'm gonna like this band. From Los Angeles, California, these guys are a working band for the working man! Led by singer and lead guitarist Travis Mullins, on bass Brandon Dixon and on rhythm guitar Zack Simpson.

These guys came to the scene recently and put out an album in 2012, simply titled, 'Introducing The Blue Collar Combo.' In 2010, they took home first place in the West Coast Rockabilly Showdown, or 'Battle of the Bands' for the Metalheads.

With original songs that include perfect blends of Rockabilly, Hillbilly and Country. Songs with an obvious nod to the 50's like, 'High School Queen.' Or more Country style songs like 'Come Back Baby,' or 'Bringing Home The Bacon.' Whichever way you look at it, this band is 100% Rockabilly and have a passion for not only the music but the whole Rockabilly lifestyle as well. And its also cool to see the lead singer playing lead guitar as well! These guys are cool as cool can be and their album is killer. Check 'em out!

Links to the group:

Where you can buy their album:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flashback Friday #2 | Bobby Swanson

Bobby Swanson I can easily say is one of my top 3 favorite artists of all time. Not releasing one song I didn't like, Bobby was and still is a true Rock N Roller. When I first heard Bobby, I heard his song 'China Doll,' and swore it was Ricky Nelson. Soon after that I had discovered he had a quite a few 45's out. More than the average one song wonder Rockabilly artist, but still not as much as a mainstream guy. The next song I heard by him was his one true Rockabilly song, 'Rockin Little Eskimo.' His other ones were more on the Teener side. Though his other songs are definitely Rockabilly, his teenage sound always came through and therefore I usually put him in the Teener category. But anyways, I had discovered another great rockin song, 'Bobby's Baby Doll,' which I believe was his first song. His earlier songs are on Igloo Records and a few are on Donna Records.

I had noticed that Bobby did his own songwriting for every song he recorded and released. It was then I noticed a darker side of Bobby that wasn't really heard from other teen artists of the time. Chilling songs like 'Janie's Face.' Or death ballads like 'Willow' or 'Ballad Of An Angel.' I guess it was those songs that drew me in further. Still, I'd have to say 'China Doll,' is my favorite by him and probably all time favorite song. I had asked Bobby about that song in particular. He had said, 'It was the flip for my song, Tom & Suzie. I didn't know I was recording the flip side the same day so I had to come up with something fast. China Doll was written in about 15 minutes. I had just graduated high school and the band on the recording were buddies of mine from high school. The gentlemen singing background on China Doll and Tom & Suzie, is Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys, he was the A&R man at Donna records and was the one who got me signed to the label.'

Bobby performs locally every once in a while but more than anything, is just enjoying some time off, having played in bands most of his life. He doesn't usually play his old songs or even talk about them much unless you ask. He's actually amazed that people still listen to them! As a record collector, I've acquired most of his 45's. I've gotten the hard ones out of the way, but still hunting for a copy of 'Janie's Face' on Donna. I can honestly say everything Bobby put out is fantastic, and I love listening to his 45's, especially 'Willow.' It was only released for radio stations and theres a short plug before the song starts where we get to hear Bobby speak and thank all his fans. Be sure to check out everything Bobby put out, he is one hell of an artist!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Rockabilly #17 | Bobby Volkman

Just look at this picture and tell me this doesn't scream cool. At only 15 years old, Bobby Volkman is giving some of the big guys a run for their money. Based out of Long Island, New York, Bobby has already played at places like the Rodeo Bar and BB King's in which he opened for legend, Robert Gordon. At around the age of 9, Bobby showed an interest in Jazz guitar. And throughout the years he practiced and practiced and became not only great at Jazz guitar, but Rockabilly as well.

You can guess just by his looks, Eddie Cochran has been a huge influence and does great covers of songs like Skinny Jim and Twenty Flight Rock. No words can describe how good Bobby's guitar playing is. He is seriously one of the best I've seen/heard, and age has nothing to do with it. Well sure it is amazing cause most 15 year olds can barely put the strap on, but when Bobby plays, nothing else matters except the pure Rock N Roll hes creating. Though no album out yet, I'm sure we can expect one very soon. I'm seeing some big things ahead for this 'kid,' and I know hes gonna have a great career in music. If you're in the Long Island or New York City area, be sure to catch some of his shows!