Straight up oldschool at Humboldt Park

It was country night at Chill on the Hill this week, and not that crappy nu-country, either. No, the good folks at the Bay View Community Association dug up a trio of trios of great old school country that made for a warm night, despite the falling temperatures. Tonight's Streetza Pizza featured variety was Taco pizza, which I heard was good, but for a straight up oldschool country night, I opted for straight up oldschool cheese and sausage.

Starting off the night was the Hoosier Millionaires, fronted by the always ironic Ted Jorin (wearing an English riding outfit to signify his millionaire-ness) and I suspect a lot of the crowd didn't know what to make of them. They found covers to do that most bands wouldn't touch -- and certainly not country-style bands that lead with a ukelele. I mean, who the hell does "Theme from Three's Company"? These guys do. And they touch on some country classics as well, but I've said this before, you haven't heard Led Zeppelin until you've heard it done, ironically, with a ukelele. Thing was, the arey more-than-competent musicians who purposely butcher some of these songs. Bay View is loaded with plenty of hipsters who will get it, but I'm not convinced they're the majority just yet. Still, as I'd tweeted that night, the Millionaires' take on "What Is and What Should Never Be" requires a deep cleansing breath afterward.

Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Right after that, we get Milwaukee's answer to the Dixie Chicks, the Whiskeybelles-- and in keeping with the oldschool theme, they're wonderfully tuneful, loose, but have perfect three part hamonies, no fake accents, and a set list that includes some nice originals along with covering Hank (Senior, that is, do I have to specify Hank Williams Senior when I'm talking about oldschool?) and Loretta. The Loretta Lynn covers especially suited these women -- a bassist, a guitarist and a fiddler -- as they were as sassy and salty as the Queen herself. I mentioned their perfect harmonies. I mean they were perfect. Yet -- and this is their gift-- the Whiskeybelles are wonderfully loose, making it sound and look easy so that the audience is engaged and involved. Really good set. My only complaint is that they may have gone on too long. This is the kind of music that needs to be a 45 minute set, leaving an audience begging for more. They went for at least an hour, and by the end of that, we were ready for something else. But that's a minor complaint. I would have enjoyed two 45 minute sets from them, and they're definitely on my "go see them again" list.

men in black
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
The night ended with a band I've been wanting to catch for awhile, God's Outlaw, a trio that spends a good portion of their time covering Johnny Cash and the rest of the time with originals that sound like the kind of thing Cash would have come up with. Here's the thing about Johnny Cash: how can you not love that music. Everything about Cash is so distinctly American, and this is the American to be proud of. God's Outlaw's lead singer doesn't look a thing like Cash, and his baritone isn't quite as deep as Cash's, but he intonation, delivery and attitude are so spot-on that it works. The bass player gets the rhythm by slapping the neck hard enough to get plenty of boom-chicka-boom-chicka, and their electric guitarist pickes out plenty of crystal clear twang to keep it real. Of course they played "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Get Rhythm" and "Ring of Fire" and their originals ("U-Haul" -- a story of knowing it was over because of the UHaul parked in front of the house -- stood out for me) had enough of that oldschool charm that kept me around, despite the sun going down and a chilly (and for me, underdressed for the weather) night. This is what country music is, kids, not that dreck that gets marketed as country these days. Stella even admitted it was fun, and this is a girl who claims to hate country. "No, girl, you hate nu-country. I do too. These three bands are the real stuff."


Elle Jefe said…
Love that you are still posting to your blog. Just had to drop by and say hola. Hope all is well.

Popular Posts