New year, new shows!
The Swelltune Records “Boston to Austin” tour blew through Washington, D.C.’s Pearl Street Warehouse like a party train that kept a-rollin’ all night long (until the jamboree grand finale)! Featuring some of the biggest rockabilly and Americana acts on today’s circuit, the tour included Sean Mencher and Shaun Young of High Noon, Jittery Jack and Miss Amy, and Tammi Savoy and the Chris Casello Combo. Local D.C. artists Ray Apollo Allen (formerly of The Orioles) and Willie Barry and Eric Hurtt of the Rock-A-Sonics joined in on the act as well!
Beck Rustic, the organizer of the rockabilly festival New England Shake-Up, helped make the Swelltune Records Winter Tour possible. Here she is at the merchandise counter, the woman behind this celebration of roots music and fun:
Mark Segraves, Channel 4-WRC reporter and founder of the charitable After Dark Fund, hosted the D.C. show. The first act of the night, Sean Mencher, treated us to the virtuosity of his thumb-picking skills by playing a number of tunes both original and classic, from country classics to jazz and pop standards like “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Mr. Sandman.” Together with Shaun Young, Mencher makes up part of the rockabilly trio High Noon, the band voted “best rockabilly band” in Austin for seven consecutive years. Young joined Mencher near the end of their set and the dynamic duo played a rollicking song by Darren Lee Spears of D.C.’s own Go Cat Go; “Who Was That Cat?”
Jerry Reed’s 1967 “The Claw”:
A touching tribute to his wife, “Betina”:
Joined by Shaun Young, 2/3 of High Noon play Darren Lee Spears’ “Who Was That Cat?”
Boston’s own Jittery Jack and Miss Amy (Kevin Patey and Amy Griffin) made up the second act of the night, and joined by Teddy Fury on drums and Kirsten Ballweg on upright bass, they really got the crowd rocking. True to his name, Jittery Jack’s high energy antics recall the jolting exuberance of early rock and roll. Miss Amy proved that lead guitar ain’t just for the boys in her enlivening and dexterous solos. The combination of Amy’s skill and Jack’s energy, humor, and convincing vocals made them unforgettable.
Here’s “Boston Baby.” The crowd was swingin’!
A jaunty country-influenced number:
A nod to Salem, Massachusetts in “Something Wicked This Way Comes”:
When Tammi Savoy and the Chris Casello Combo took to the stage, a dose of mid-century glamour infused the scene. Dressed in a daffodil-yellow fit-and-flare dress and jewelry as sparkling as her voice, Tammi Savoy seduced the audience and Chris Casello the guitarist turned out scorching and bluesy licks reminiscent of Roy Clark and Roy Buchanan. Together they made a super cool pair on rockabilly classics like Ruth Brown’s “This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin'” and originals like “Ain’t Givin’ Up Nothin’.”
Spirited rendition of “This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’ “:
A great original:
Jittery Jack, D.C.’s own Ray Apollo Allen, and Shaun Young joined in to sing the chorus of “Broken Hearted Melody”:
And last but not least….the grand finale! Those fortunate to stay until the end of the night were treated to a jamboree of both the featured artists as well as the local musicians in the audience who lent their talents to the stage. Performing the last song of the night, “New Orleans” by Gary “U.S” Bonds, It made for an exuberant ending to an epic show (and I don’t use the word “epic” lightly). And while not intentional, I had to smile when they chose a song with “honeysuckle” in the lyrics:
And I made sure to take several pictures to capture the night:
For more videos, visit the Honeysuckle Roads YouTube channel.
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