The Outlaws were on stage, a Waylon tribute band. The were trying to uphold his reputation. Outlaw living; ride em' hard and put em' away wet.
Jeremy, the lead vocals turned to his squeeze and said, get him a whiskey. She hopped up and headed for the bar even as others turned to the barkeep and ordered the caramel brown sauce that this band was fueled on this evening. Three fingers of whiskey was disappearing with rapidity. A quick wipe of the mouth and back to work.
These were The Outlaws, what else did I expect. Maybe more whiskey for my men and water for my horses! I knew that whatever happened during the performance they were going to be soaked in spirits.
I had been sitting across from them most of the night while they waited for their set. They were on one side of the bar, me on the other. I watched them as the consumed mass quantities of adult beverages. Jeremy the lead singer and rhythm player was drinking Hamm's in a can and whiskey. The acoustic player was drinking pints and whiskey. The bass guitarist was drinking pints and of course whiskey. The others following the same M.O. I watched them put away enough booze to kill any normal man.
Jon Hyde the pedal-steel for The Outlaws is a friend and sat next to me for a while. We were observers to the slosh-fest. He commented my band is going to be so drunk by the time they hit the stage. Uh, yes, but that may be a good thing. They commented that they work better drunk, I had to take their word for it.
About the time the fourth round of drinks were ordered from the stage, I commented that they were going to be falling down soon. Without missing a beat and as the bartender was filling the last of 5 rock glasses she turned to me and said you ain't kidding...
But these were outlaws, bad men with bad intentions. Well, OK, they were kids, Jon was the only one older than 30. It must be nice to be young and have the metabolism to process all that liquor. More on them later.
ThorNton Creek was setting up and I was looking forward to seeing them. I almost had gone to Conor Byrne the previous eve, they were playing. These guys are local and I always thought they were named after, um, you know...Thornton Creek, the local waterway here in the north side of Seattle.
Turns out the name of the lead vocals and rhythm guitar player is Thornton. I think it is just a clever turn of words. He along with Mike, Steve and Don form this tight country/bluegrass band. They bill themselves as "electric front porch swing".
They had beautiful vocals, harmonizing as they performed some nice familiar and comfortable tunes. Sounding very much like John Prine at times, he and his band played great original music.
Don played some sweet licks on lead as Thornton filled in with acoustic rhythm and beautiful lead vocals. Scott, the sound tech and one of my favorite people and I were talking about Thornton. He had an old-timey feel, but updated and sanitized for our pleasure.
See ThorNton Creek here: https://www.facebook.com/ThorNtonCreekMusic
This was a nice start to an evening of boozing and music. As ThorNton Creek broke down and headed out the door, I did the same. I went to the car for a break and tuned in to The Swing Years and Beyond. This radio program hosted by Amanda Wilde plays the best of big band, western swing and the like every Saturday night.
I had emailed a request for some Fats Waller on the way to Darrell's earlier in the evening. It just so happened she played it in the short time I was out in the car. I must be living right.
Burley Mountain was mounted up and ready to rock. I had noticed that Scott was helping the bass player get set up. It turned out that Andrew was visually impaired. Scott made sure he was plugged in and pointed in the right direction, Andrew knew what to do from there. Whatever he lacked visually he made up sonically.
Burley Mountain is Andrew on bass and adding vocals, Brandon on lead vocals and guitar, Marty playing lead guitar and singing vocals and Scott on drums. The play a cool mix of southern rock and country with bluegrass overtones. Mix great harmonies, nice lead guitar solos, and a strong bottom provided by the bass and drums and you have a sweet combination.
I couldn't help to get up and start moving as they plied their trade; laying down some rocking original music that exuded so much rock history with every note.
Brandon had a strong voice and took control of the party. Drunk Again he sang, seems like the story of the evening.
Marty was killing on the lead guitar. He had the kiddie's attention with his dynamite solos, just what you would have counted on with a southern style rock band.
The crowd loved and showed their love after every tune. Burley Mountain was fun and entertaining, four accomplished musicians who know how to please the masses. I am looking forward to seeing them again. See them here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Burley-Mountain/381649818519197
It was The Outlaws turn, could they make it up to the stage? Could they find their hole from an ass on the ground was my question.
I have seen some very drunk guys on stage, some barely making it up there, even with help.
Top Jimmy of The Rhythm Pigs was a notorious drunk. Once he needed a chair to be able to perform, he couldn't stand up. Another time at Al's bar in L.A., the band had started without him. After a couple tunes, they asked the crowd to look for their wayward lead singer. Only when they offered a free beer did Jimmy turn himself in, no doubt expecting the beer as reward.
Never the less, Jimmy never lacked passion and talent, a killer gravely voice, perfect for the blues. Read about Top Jimmy here, unfortunately he drank himself to death: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Jimmy_%26_The_Rhythm_Pigs
During one punk set at Al's I saw Rik L Rik kill a full bottle of whiskey during his set (what is there about whiskey and rock stars?). He had complained of having a lousy cold and his answer was to try killing the little virus bugs with booze. We have since learned that the beggars actually like to swim, it just made him sicker. Of course it didn't help that he liked to perform barefoot.
Read about Rik and the LA Punk scene here: http://www.punkvinyl.com/2004/12/17/selections-from-the-punk-vault-rik-l-rik/
My wife used to play in a band and their lead singer used to drink Black Jack out of a Woolite bottle.
Rock stars just hare drawn to whiskey like a moth is drawn to a flame. They can write a lot of great tunes based on the misery it causes.
So it was Jeremy's turn to corral this rag tag group of inebriates and get them up on stage.
Short story; I needn't have concerned myself. Like pigeons programed from birth to fly home, these guys were drawn to the stage. The booze had given them the strength to do what they have done for years, play great music. They didn't need it, but it sure couldn't hurt.
The Outlaws are ever changing, Jeremy is always at the helm but the rest of the crew is how you say; fluid. The last time I saw them at Slim's, they had Lucky Lawrence sitting in on guitar (no vocals) Randy from The Souvenirs on pedal-steel and Tom Forster (The Black Crabs) on drums. Tonight, Jon Hyde was sitting in on pedal-steel. They also had a killer harp player in tonight. Waylon had a harp sometimes, so why not. Kim was an awesome addition. I will quiz Jon for the names of the rest of the Outlaws and will fill in later.
Editors note 6-14-12, Here is the full line-up for the Outlaws: Jeremy Manley, Liz Herrin, Aaron Starkey, Mike Jochum, Jon Hyde, Ty Baille, Terry Mattson, Perry Morgan, Justin Cronk, Jordan Vestal and Kim Field.
Playing covers of Waylon Jenning's killer tunes, they connected with me right away. They had a wonderful country sound led by the steely and a great lead solid body. Jeremy has beautiful vocals and had a Waylonesque stage presence.
I love the pedal-steel and Jon plays one of the best. Jon is in The 1Uppers and Varmint, he is a seasoned pro who has been pleasing crowds for years live and on at least 4 CD's. I know the rest of these guys play in other bands, they all just love to play...and drink.
The steady stream of whiskey had little effect on the band that I could notice. Well, there was the odd happenings with the ever changing bass player. I had seen his eyelids getting heavy at the bar but he perked up right good for his set. He had several bass playing buddies in the audience and insisted they get in on the action. He was handing off at the start and even during some of the tunes. They were all great bass players so this little bit of theater was fun. I think one guy got this reward as he was a friend who had been providing them with the liquid courage.
The Outlaws played classic country licks; great renditions of Waylon tunes and then some. They were spot on; the lead guitar player and Jon were trading solos. No matter who was playing, the bottom was anchored by the bass and the cowboy on percussion. Jeremy added perfect vocals and had the folks up and bogeying.
One of the best parts of the show was Kim Field, he killed on his harp. He is joining an all-star lineup Saturday at The Tractor. I am looking forward to see him again.
See them here: https://www.facebook.com/TheOutlawsSeattle
I am looking forward to seeing The Outlaws again in whatever form they take. The are accomplished and entertaining even if they were as drunk as a fiddler's bitch.
As I drove home I couldn't help think about who was driving them home. I hope it wasn't the coroner. Just saying...