I have a favorite new toy. A Roland R05, a recorder that has stereo microphones built right in. It is great for recording people talking and bands playing. Last week I recorded a few tunes at The Blue Moon. This thing is a fairly blunt instrument, it catches the band alright. But it also catches the crowd noise, my applause and hooting and just about everything else. Unless you have a very controlled environment, it is just a funnel for all audio. That is it siting on top of the candle holder.
It does have a great benefit to me. I am able to listen to the music I heard the night before. I always write in the a.m. directly after a little sleep, nosh and dog walk. I usually write from memory, not always an accurate resource. With this tool, and my camera I can recall the details of a show and relate them to you, my dear readers. I will not disseminate any of this music without the permission of the artist.
When I walked in, I waved at Kevin the fiddle player for the Slammers. He was huddled with the rest of the band waiting to mount up. I move every muscle to attend their shows when they are in Seattle. They play the best of old-timey western swing. I ended up at the bar talking with Dave the stand-up bass player, a super nice guy.
Here is Todd tuning up with the band in the back.
We were soon joined by Tommy the drummer and we joked about the interview, Tommy telling me he couldn't discuss his craft with me. Har, all I wanted to know was if he ever gets the chance to play the drum solo from In-a-gadda-da-vida. The conversation was fun and natural, the thought of grabbing the recorder and formalizing this was not comfortable to me.
I am going to work on this, I have done live radio, just last week I did a 3 hour stint on KEXP, The Shake the Shack Halloween special. But I am far from being an engaging audio personality. A man has to know his limitations. Stay tuned, I am going to add some audio to this post if I can.
Here is a pic of good things to come. Lucky Tubb and The Modern Day Troubadours were headlining tonight.
I have reviewed the Barn Door Slammers several times, as I mentioned, they have captured my musical heart. I slobbered all over them here: http://liveseattlemusicintheclubs.blogspot.com/2012/03/blacktop-denizens-at-slims-last.html and here: http://liveseattlemusicintheclubs.blogspot.com/2012/07/roy-kay-trio-western-bluebirds-and-barn.html
The Slammers are: Kevin Healy on fiddle, Dave Bamberger on doghouse, Dan Lowinger on guitar, Todd Clinesmith on pedal steel, and Tommy Chiffon on drums. Besides the fact that they are great musicians playing a true american genre, they are also really nice guys.
The crowd was sparse at the start of their set. There were a couple of other great shows in town, and the cover was pretty high. But the heart of the rockabilly scene was here watching the Slammers lay down their brand of happiness. Here is a pic of Dan in his happy place.
I had the pleasure of speaking with a lot of what I consider the rockabilly/country core tonight. Jon Hyde, pedal steel for The 1Uppers was there, I got a pic of him (on the left) and Johnny7 of The Black Crabs yakking it up. Two super talented guys.
I got to talk with Sweetpea, one of the communities greatest personalities and a tireless promoter. She is known to clean-up tables, busing dishes and generally taking care of a crowd of people with no recompense other than a smile and thanks. Here she is dancing with Casey Gill the bass player for Lucky Tubb (on the left), this girl is a dancing fool.
I am having my anniversary party at Darrells Tavern on December 7th and was really hoping that she would play hostess and provide some of her killer cupcakes, but alas we had a scheduling problem. She is hosting another gig at this very club. Oh girl, are you dancing again?
For some reason, Tommy's microphone wasn't working. The tech made no real attempt to fix it, too bad as he is one of their most vocal guys. Here he is with a pocket full of sticks.
Kevin is the very talented fiddle player. He has a meek smile and plays one of the best fiddles of the genre. I talked with him; he is always friendly and welcoming to me. Here he is taking one of his many great solos.
Todd is a killer pedal steel player, he creates one of the best layers to this fine band. He is also the master craftsmen of Clinesmith, hand-crafted guitars. He makes resonator, Hawaiian and steel guitars. You can see his incredible instruments here: http://www.clinesmithinstruments.com/
Dave plays with eyes closed; playing the bottom, grooving, really fun to watch. That is him second from the left.
They added a marvelous singer, Bret Irwin had a beautiful voice. They did a Bob Wills tune right off the bat and he even threw in comments just as Bob did. He added a lot to the mix. Western swing at it's best, every soul was moving.
I did capture a little of their set, here is a link to my podcast. This features a song with Bret singing Right or Wrong: Please excuse the lousy edit, I am new to this.
There were a lot of dancers but some of my favorites are here. This guy was dancing all alone in front of the fan, love that.
My friends Cass and Johnny were out on the dance floor a lot.
I love this band, they play comfort music, the kind that warms your heart. I hope you get a chance to see them soon, they play a lot in the Portland OR area. See them here: https://www.facebook.com/TheBarnDoorSlammers?fref=ts
One more of the band as they play the best in western swing.
Marshall Scott Warner and his band were up next, a dynamite collection of the best in Seattle, a who's who right here on stage. Marshall is on vocals and stand up percussion. He has a great stage presence and killer vocals. He has that rockabilly cool going on.
They play a marvelous mix of rockabilly and western swing. Nick Streeter is his lead guitarist, he has a tough job picking the solos that are required in this type of music. I have watched him for some time and he just keeps getting better every time I see him. Practice makes perfect.
Even though he is a fixture in the rockabilly scene, I have never seen Tony Laborie play anything else but a stand up bass. A great one at that. As it turns out he is a killer pedal-steel player, playing both with MSW and with Lucky Tubb's band. He had some amazing solos, playing his custom Clinesmith.
Here is a pic of Johnny7, Marc and Gaby Bristol of Blue Suede News watching Tony do his stuff. See Blue Suede News here: http://www.bluesuedenews.com/
I have seen Kevin with The Western Bluebirds, he plays pedal-steel (rumor he has a Clinesmith too), directs the band and sings vocals. A great musician, I like him in any form he takes. Here he is playing rhythm guitar for Marshall.
Robin Cady was the most excellent stand up bass player, he was rocking as he put the bass in this marvelous mix of western swing. I am not sure I have ever seen him before but he was clean and skilled as he thumped the doghouse.
Marshall is a seasoned pro, he knows how to keep the babies happy.
They had a ton of fun, Marshall's sometimes humorous vocals had everybody nodding their head and smiling. The dance floor was full and the place was starting to get crowded.
They had a marvelous harp player join them on stage. He was, well, age challenged. I can poke fun as I am in the same boat, but aren't we all? Here is a pic of Jim on stage with them. He was rocking with the boys, pulling awesome solos, he had to have been 85, yeah baby, if you got it, flaunt it!
See Marshall here for some of that rockabilly cool: https://www.facebook.com/marshallscott.warner?fref=ts
Next up was Lucky Tubb and The Modern Troubadours, superb country swing from a marvelous band straight out of Texas. Here is the first thing I saw as I walked up to the entrance of the club. Good music ahead.
Lucky is the great nephew of the famous country artist Ernest Tubb. As he said in an interview with Leon Berman on KEXP, it has been both a blessing and a curse. The name has opened doors but every one expects you to play your kin's stuff ad nauseum. It turns out that he has inherited some great genes.
You can also see Shake The Shake on Facebook, they have posted a picture of Leon and the band in the parking lot of the studio. Like them here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shake-the-Shack-on-KEXP/48699667862?ref=ts&fref=ts
See Ernest here, he was a Grand Ole Oprey legend and had a sweet style. He had tailor made suits, something that Lucky carries on to this day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Tubb
Lucky has the killer style, the stage persona and the awesome vocals of a legend. He tours 250 days a year and has at least 4 albums. I emptied my pockets to support them, picking up some rare CD's and helping them with gas money.
The Modern Troubadours are Lucky Tubb on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Will Owen Cage Baby Face on lead guitar and Casey Gill on Doghouse bass, at least that is the traveling band this evening. They were joined by Tony Laborie and Marshall Scott Warner. It couldn't get much better.
Lucky knew how to get the crowd on his side, he had everybody paying attention as he and the boys threw down the killer western swing, Texas style.
Here is a pick of Casey killing the Doghouse, he was creating a mini black hole as he spun his gigantic bass like it was a dreidel (spinning top). He added sweet vocal harmony and had the amazing style that only can come out of Texas. A totally expressive face, he was so much fun to watch.
The biggest thrill for the collection of fans tonight was hearing Will 'Babyface' Owen Cage slay the guitar. I was standing next to two great guitarists (Jon Hyde and Johnny7) and we were all slack-jawed. He had incredible skill as he played some of the finest licks of the evening. He got massive applause after every solo, acknowledging the love with a little nod.
Here you can see Marshall backing the band with his spot on percussion.
They performed some of the best western swing of recent memory, this was the first time they have come to Washington State. We are fortunate that this caliber of artist visits us.
I have been listening to his music and am amazed by this guy. His writing, his incredible voice, the superb people he surrounds himself with is really unforgettable. This guy has never been on my radar, so glad he is now.
See Lucky and his band here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lucky-Tubb-The-Modern-Day-Troubadors/145529842173013
You can buy his latest CD on CD Baby, please support him and drop the dime, after a listen you will worship him as I do. http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LuckyTubbTheModernDayTroubadou
The highway 99 Blues Club is an excellent venue but a little pricey. I hope the bands get paid well. See them here: http://www.highway99blues.com/