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Since forming in 1988, Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys have emerged as one of the world’s most respected practitioners of American roots music — western swing, rockabilly, and traditional country — playing it like they invented it. “I think of us as just a rock and roll band — a rock and roll band that’s letting the roots show,” says bandleader Big Sandy. Whether they’re playing the Grand Ole Opry, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, or simply climbing out of a bus after rolling into your town, these guys are bringing us some great oldtime rock and roll.
"I think we've gotten to the point where we fully and more accurately represent the full spectrum of what we were listening to when all of us were growing up," Big Sandy says. "I mean, when I was growing up in Southern California, a lot of the old R&B guys were still playing. The first show my parents took me to was Ray Charles. I used to go see Richard Berry (of Louie Louie fame), and was a regular at the weekly talent show at the Palomino."
Over their last ten albums, the group has recorded in such hallowed musical ground as the Capital Records studios (for the albums Jumping from 6 to 6 and Swinging West, both produced by Grammy winner Dave Alvin) and Hollywood's classic Electro Vox studios.
Big Sandy's cohorts in his Fly-Rite Boys include Ashley Kingsman on guitar, Joe Perez on the drums, and bassist/vocalist/songwriter Jeff West. The band was formed in Anaheim during the California roots revival of the late eighties, and at first were only a trio.
Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys are almost always on the road, enough to burn through two tour buses in recent years. The first was a converted passenger bus from 1949 that they retired for use on an old movie set, followed only a few years later by a yellow 1970 school bus that they left for dead in Montana. "We're flying more now," says Big Sandy. But before the school bus died, Big Sandy tells the story of driving it to one particular thrift store: "There was a kid out in front, and he was just like in awe when we pulled up. He looked a little bit confused, and then we come walking up, and he wasn't sure if he should approach us or not. Then he asked us, 'Are you guys from the past?'" Big Sandy laughs. "As if we were traveling in a time machine or something."
For many acts playing music of this era, there is a tendency to look no further than the novelty of the style. Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, however, have continued to transcend their genre the same way all iconic artists do by creating music so good, songs that are so well written, that the genre is simply a launching pad for the integrity of the art. Their music is timeless.
Earles of Newtown is a fresh band in Nevada County led by Earle Ford, local host of Wednesday Open Mic nights at Cooper's Ale Works in Nevada City. Ford has a remarkable ability to play a variety of instruments and sing while conducting a complimentary 8-piece ensemble that swings and sways through dance numbers and ballads like a time machine of American folklore hits. Through stories of love and loss the group boasts a rich variety of old-timey instruments including (but not limited to) trumpet, fiddle, banjo, clarinet, saxophone, dobro, washboard, stand-up bass, mandolin and "madness".
Earles of Newtown combines swanky & classy with a down-home style and musical sophistication rarely seen in this electronically driven modern era. The group is sure to create a positive dance scene while pleasing the "cool listener" with a gumbo of 1920's Texas Swing, Classic Country, Dixieland Jazz with a dash of Jugband Blues.
© Paul Emery Music | 530-478-1974 | www.paulemerymusic.com