Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Roy Kay Trio, The Western Bluebirds and The Barn Door Slalmmers at Slims Last Chance 6-30-12

Where go the Slammers, so shall Yee;

from Verse Two, Chapter One of the First Commandments of the Northwest Bible of Live Music, Swing Version.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

If it wasn't enough to have the premier surf band on the west coast visit Seattle, Aloha Screwdriver was in town last night, we had the real privilege of having the Barn Door Slammers visit us from Portland. Once again, at one of the best best venues for live music in town; Slim's Last Chance Saloon.

My car knew the way, it was destiny. Ah, Slim's, your siren calls to me, I am helpless in your embrace.

The Slammers are the real deal; raw, authentic, passionate and talented. They play the old timey country-western music that was made popular by groups like Bob Wills, Hank Thompson and Tex Williams.

I was so glad to see them teamed up with some of the best artists in the Northwest. Roy Kay was here with his trio, also The Western Bluebirds were in the house and promised a fresh new sound. This was going to be a great evening of roots country and swing dancing.

The Western Bluebirds were on first, they are a collection of local musicians with a love of western swing. I recognized several of the members, Liam Fitzgerald of The Rainieros was playing his beautiful 6 string. Nick Streeter of The Rainieros, as well as other local bands was playing lead and adding vocals. Kevin Campion on pedal-steel, Dave Bush on percussion, Tony Laborie on stand-up bass, and Bill Jones on trumpet complete the roster for this marvelous group.

They played great arrangements of the standards of the 30' and 40's. I loved their versions of Honeysuckle Rose and Blue Skies. The chemistry was perfect. I really liked the addition of the trumpet, he provided one killer layer to this wonderful mix.

I noticed that Kevin was playing Todd Clinesmith's beautiful hand-crafted instrument. That must have been fun. He was singing vocals and directing the action too; he would gesture to one of his mates to play a solo, play a little longer. This was a touch of authentic western swing. I loved the interaction.

Everybody added to the vocals, swinging through the classics. This was a trip back in time, right here at little ol' Slims. Liam sang a song at the end but it was mostly Nick singing lead vocals.

This is the kind of collaboration that I love to see. This group is formed by guys who just love to play live western swing. We are so fortunate to be able to see the creativity of our local talent on display, so accessible and fun.

There was a White Trash Party in the house at Slim's this evening. I asked a couple of the participants to pose for a pic, thanks girls. Nice hair-rollers!

I had goose-bumps while I watched the Barn Door Slammers mount up, I was really looking forward to seeing them again. Besides being a wonderful groups of musicians, they are genuinely nice guys. Here is a pic of Todd (The Pedal-Steel God), tuning up.

I have slobbered all over Todd and this group several times before and I will not recover that ground. You can see them here:
and here:

Todd is a master craftsman and produces some of the finest Pedal-steel, Resonator and Hawaiian guitars around. See him here:

The Slammers provide an authentic western swing experience. Starting with instrumentals, they performed their usual great stuff. Based in Portland, The Barn Door Slammers are; Todd Clinesmith on pedal-steel, Tommy Chiffon on percussion and the voice of the band, Dan Lowinger, the genius on guitar, Dave Bamberger on the stand-up bass and Kevin Healy slays the fiddle.

I was in absolute heaven as they played their usual great set; tight, dynamite solos make this group a true pleasure to hear. I gushed after every one of Kevin's fiddle solos, his smile tells you how much fun he is having.

Dan quietly goes about his art, one of the finest western swing guitarists in the genre. The crowd was loving it, we made sure he knew how much we all appreciated his talents with big applause after every solo.

The fun had just started when the boys were joined by a beautiful blond singer. I am used to these guys doing full instrumental sets. It was a nice change, Marieke added some marvelous vocals. The kiddies were loving it, up and dancing enjoying this fantastic set.

Roy Kay even came up to sing a song, the kind of spontaneous collaboration that made this evening special.

I talked with Kevin after their set, worshiping him as is my way. He told me how Marieke Benner traveled big distances to practice with the boys for this show. She spent hours of preparation for a half hour show. It was well worth it, as she had a wonderful voice and a great stage presence. Her beau was in the audience, taking video and hooting and hollering. It was fun seeing him beam with pride.

The Slammers hit all my buttons, I was up and moving on every tune. This was just what I needed to set the world right, I had told Dave that I had considered them the "cake" on this great bill, thanks to all for coming up to Slim's. See them here:

Roy Kay and his band was up next, how could this evening get any better? Add Roy, Robin and Mike and you have the perfect storm of talent and great country music. Roy sets the standard for this genre of music.

By this time the place was really jumping, for the second night in a row Sweet Pea was there dancing and supporting the local music scene. She is a tireless advocate for Rockabilly and commonly presents music, combining shows with charitable efforts.

Roy played a lot of killer tunes, many that I hadn't heard from him. Maybe I just hadn't seen him in a while and forgot, but I was digging what I thought was new stuff. In the end it didn't matter what I thought, Roy and the boys were rocking their usual killer style.

These guys know how to get dancers on the floor and swinging. There was one guy who spent a lot of time on the dance floor, swinging with multiple partners. He was so much fun to watch as he made even the least skilled partner look like a pro.

The Roy Kay Trio has been around since 2001 and are one of the preeminent rockabilly roots band in the nation. Roy has a marvelous charm and is always smiling as he sings in a velvety smooth voice. He strums a sweet little acoustic guitar, constantly moving to the beat.

Robin Cady plays the stand-up bass, a marvelous entertainer and musician. He is slapping away, providing the bottom, driving the band and playing percussion all at once.

Mike Geglia plays the lead guitar and carries the heavy load with precision and skill. He quietly kills his beautiful guitar; I am always in awe as he makes it look so easy. It ain't that easy, he is just that good.

They have several CD's available and if you don't have one in your library you don't know what you are missing. Check them out here:
and here:

This was another great evening at Slim's, thanks to them and their great crew for a fun and unforgettable evening. See Slim's here: