Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Rugcutters Bash with The 1Uppers, The Black Crabs and Miller and Sasser at Darrells

I sang along with almost every song played this evening. I think that is a sign of a couple things. I have seen and love every musician and band on stage tonight, multiple times. I also have CD's and live recordings so I know all the music. It also means I am a geek.

It was The Rugcutters Bash. Another installation of the venerable series was imminent and the huddled masses were headed to Darrells for another excellent musical experience. This is a night of fun and the event always brings out the dancers.

Here is Jay at the door of Darrells collecting the meager entrance fee. Six bucks for 3 bands in a great venue with marvelous ambiance, lovely staff and a killer sound system. This has become one of my favorite destinations. I try to make one show a week here. I love Darrells, see them here:

Johnny Seven of The Black Crabs is the driver and head chef behind the Bash. He usually likes to make a delicious Crab sandwich. He finds great groups and bookends them around his long-lived and talented band. I have attended a bunch and reviewed them all. Johnny was sweet enough to allow me and my wife to piggyback our 30th anniversary party with one last December.

Here are some links to the last 2 Bash's: and here:

Here is a pic of Scott and me. He is the sound tech and booking agent for the tavern. He is severely afflicted by talent and sweetness.

The bands were assembling, when I walked in I saw a clump of talent that was awesome. These are some talented musicians. I will talk more about each one later but here is Chris Miller from Miller and Sasser and Jon Hyde of The 1Uppers.

Here is John Hendow from The 1Uppers and James Sasser and Chris from Miller and Sasser.

Here is a pic of Tom Forster of The Black Crabs, Jon Hyde and Kris Geren from The 1Uppers.

The 1 Uppers were on first. I had been yakking with Scott when Dave from The 1Uppers approached and said they were chomping at the bit. Would it be OK if they started early? Holy Fudd! I looked at Scott and Dave and just said, hell yes. Scott smiled and headed to the stage to get them going. These guys love to perform and it shows.

Here is Buzz setting up the song list.

Here is that very song list in action.

They kicked off with one of my favorite tunes, an instrumental called The 1Uppers Stomp. This is a great tune that sets the tone and gets these most excellent musicians warmed up. Everybody gets a little action, especially Kris on lead guitar. He kills on this song.

I only get to hear the Stomp live or in a pirated recording...oops, did I just say that out loud? Hell yes I did, and I do. I don't let anybody but the band have a copy and use it to help write these reviews. I just listened to the Stomp 3 times in a row, seems I can't get enough.

John Hendow is a sweet and skilled guitarist. He had his beautiful purple baritone 6 string out tonight. He usually trades it out once or twice in the evening but I think he had the purple on all night.

He makes a beautiful sound with this guitar. This is always my favorite sound from him, it is unique and adds so much to the mix.

The 1Uppers were wearing their snappy and shiny suits tonight. They do look as good as they sound; an awesome presentation and marvelous country music.

Truth be told I have an in with the band. My fellow coworker is also my favorite pedal steel player in my favorite country band. Jon Hyde is a marvelous musician and a sweet fellow. He had a new toy tonight. Jon brought a dobro tonight and made wonderful use of it.

Jon also played the pedal steel guitar tonight. The slightest touch of his fingers make the most beautiful sound. He has made a steel guitar lover out of me.

They played all my favorites and more tonight. They had some new material and they nailed it tonight. The crowd was applauding and hooting after every solo, every dynamite tune. Jon was having a blast. His wife was in the audience so he had extra incentive to show off his skills.

I loved When Will I get Paid. I hadn't heard this one from them before. They followed that with Maybe/Probably, one of their most excellent tunes on the CD. Jon plays some stellar steel on this tune.

The 1Uppers do beautiful harmonies with Dave singing lead on most tunes. It's Late, I'm Tired is an exception with Jon taking lead on this great country song. Jon and Dave have a marvelous rapport and compliment each other vocally.

Another one of my favorite tunes is Halfway Home. Gorgeous harmonies and a marvelous story line. The lyrics leave me with the warm fuzzies.."but for now, it is getting awful late, it would be so great, to take a load off, build a fire and burn up all my doubts, watch the stars come out, they're all perfect". It paints a wonderful picture and was one of the best tunes of the evening.

Motel Time Again gave Kris the chance to tweak his guitar via technology. It sounded like an organ at times. Here is his set of tools, add-ons to his already killer 6 string.

Kris is an awesome guitar player. He wrote Costa Bravo, their simply amazing twang-surf tune. Tonight it brought the house down. There were hoots and hollers from the appreciative crowd all throughout the tune. Especially me. Listening to my digital recording, I can hear myself hollering over the rest of the crowd.

Eric Eagle is in the back keeping the band on beat with his creative percussion. He is a pro and plays the killer drums.

The band is an excellent mix of musicians, great talent in all positions. A wonderful chemistry that make you smile, happy music at it's best. Here is the line-up; Eric Eagle on drums, Kris Geren on lead guitar and vocals, Jon Hyde on pedal-steel, dobro and vocals, John Hendow on baritone 6 string and vocals, Caben "Buzz" Busswell on bass and Dave Russell on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. You know what is scary, I did that by heart. I didn't need to look up the names. Groupie is probably a good description for me.

Dave is a multi-talented musician and a great entertainer. He had a big part in the production of Hedwig and the Angy Inch here in Seattle. It had rave reviews and sold out many a show. He has a marvelous stage presence and a sweet set of pipes.

Dave has a great voice and he knows how to deliver the goods.

The band was spot on tonight. They were rocking the place and the dancers were up and having fun.

I was in heaven as they played Cadillac Truck, a rocking country tune written by Jon. He is making a hilarious comment on the wanna-be country-western fans that might inhabit the Cadillac Escalade.

They got to extend the set a bit tonight and it was much loved by all. The 1Uppers really know how to please giving us almost an hour of some of the best country in the Northwest.

You can connect with The1Uppers here: buy their CD. I have literally worn my copies out. You can also see them here on Facebook:

My friend Jenna was having a blast tonight. She takes pity on this old man and drags me on the dance floor at least once a night. She is a great sport and tonight showed me some 2 step moves. It is very sweet of her to do that as I have 2 left feet. Here she is playing pool.

The Black Crabs were on next. They are one of the longest lived and most popular rockabilly and swing bands in the Seattle area. Every time I mention to a friend or coworker that I am going to see The Crabs they always say, I love The Black Crabs! They play happy, fun and swinging music.

The Black Crabs are Kirsten Ballweg on stand-up bass and vocals, Tom Forster on drums and vocals, and Johnny Seven Stuart on lead guitar and vocals. I never get tired of seeing them. I have probably reviewed them 7-8 times. I will try to keep the slobber down to a dribble here.

Johnny is fun and animated as he sings, bop, spins, mugs and slays his 6 string.

He is really fun to watch. He has a great stage presence and a humorous delivery. Nobody in the building is having more fun than Johnny.

Tom Forster is the nicest fellow and lives up north in Bellingham. His wife was here tonight and I gave her a hard time about his singing. She was a doll and didn't mind the gentle ribbing. He sang Lonesome Blues with style and panache.

The Crabs play a mix of rockabilly, swing and country. They have several CD's and have played every venue and every community event in the area. They are fun and highly entertaining. They opened with one of their classics, "Hey Baby, won't you come out tonight". Fun stuff right out of the corral.

Kirsten is a marvelous musician and loves to play. I make this observation as tonight she played for 3 different bands and 2 different, very far apart venues.

She also is a prolific artist as she plays the lead guitar for The Dee Dees, an all female Romones Tribute band. Don't laugh, they absolutely rock. Here is Kirsten in another form. You can read my review of a Dee Dees show and see a bunch of other pics here:

Tonight she played with Marshall Scott Warner at The Highway 99 Blues Club in downtown Seattle. This was the major competition for the Bash tonight. Wylie and The Wild West headlined the bill with Marshall. This was the rockabilly communitiy's dilemma, which show? This show was much more country influenced. I and many others chose the Bash.

She played here with her usual gig and then stayed around and played bass for Miller and Sasser. Jon Hyde and I were talking when they were on and he was falling all over himself giving Kirsten props for being a great musician.

She is fun to watch and has a real dry sense of humor that comes across in her vocals and interaction with Johnny.

This wonderful combination of talented musicians combine to form a perfect mix. Tonight they were rocking through some of their standards with passion and humor. I loved 13 Times, Whoa, Whoa and Let's Elope Baby.

I caught Tom talking with his wife between songs, they are a cute couple. They must have gotten a baby sitter for this evening as they have a youngen in the house.

Marieke Benner joined them for a couple songs tonight. She is the sweetest person, always taking the time to stop by and say hi. I got to meet her dog Dani out in the parking lot after the show. Marieke has a great voice and is getting more and more gigs all the time. She is looking to perform in her own band. I look forward to her future artistic efforts.

Here she is with Johnny and the band.

I love that The Crabs reached out and asked her to join the fun tonight. This is the kind of impromptu fun that you cannot hear on a CD. I love to see Marieke perform.

I have reviewed them a ton of times because I am passionate about them and the music they make. You can read a half dozen previous reviews in the archives, here is a couple:

You can connect with Johnny, Kirsten and Tom here on Facebook: and see their homepage here:

You can see the boys from Miller and Sasser enjoying the show on the left here.

Miller and Sasser are a talented and fun country band from Portland. They are fast becoming one of my favorite bands. I play music for my group at work (to the chagrin of some) and play their CD often. It is one of the most requested among those who love good country music.

I am always aware when I see this band that I am in the company of greatness. Chris Miller has traveled the world in support of other bands. He is a go-to lead for many legends in the country genre. He is lead guitar for one of my faves: Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men. To be able to watch him play in such an intimate environment is a thrill.

Here is Chris rocking his beautiful Telecaster.

Pardon my slobber, I just find it so awesome that this kind of talent is so accessable. He also has a great voice and sings harmonies with his partner James.

I have seen and reviewed this band several times. I saw them just 3 weeks ago. I would not miss them if they were in town. You can read one of my previous reviews here:

James Sasser has a beautiful voice. He croons his way through some beautiful melodies. As I said, many times singing great harmonies with Chris. I loved Bye, Bye Baby and You Can Tell It To The Jukebox.

Kevin is in back rocking the drums. He is another sweet and talented fellow.

Here was Kirsten working, er, playing again. It is in her, it's got to come out. It was a treat to see her playing the bass again. Third set tonight. I bet she slept well.

One More Sunny Day is one of the best tunes they do. I love the velvety smooth voice of James Sasser. It is unique and memorable. There isn't a clunker on their song list.

They played some beautiful soul and R&B. That would have been surprised but I had seem them perform some excellent music weeks before. It's To Late To Turn Back Now was an awesome rendition of the classic. Chris's guitar playing is stellar on this tune. Kirsten was rocking the bass and James played a killer acoustic solo. Kevin even had the chance in the spotlight.

The dancers were up and moving again. It was late but nobody was leaving. I caught my friend Donnie and his honey out on the dance floor.

It was a real privilege to see this band. They are as passionate and skilled as any band in the nation. I see big things for this group of talented musicians.

Thanks to Johnny for setting up this version of The Rugcutter's Bash. Thanks to Darrells for opening their house to great musicians and us fans. See some live music soon. You won't be sorry.

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