Johnny and the Applestompers
Many fledgling bands find that audiences respond better to their cover songs than their originals. While, sure, part of the reason for that is that people are creatures of habit who love what is familiar, another part of it is that bands in their early stages are also more comfortable with what is familiar, finding it easier to let loose on a song they’ve been listening to for years than one they wrote in the garage last week. Johnny and the Applestompers, whose singer appears to be mostly comprised of sticks and who have the gamest bass player I’ve ever seen, are one of those rare young bands who rock their originals even more confidently than their covers. While they covered everyone from Merle Haggard to Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers, it was their originals, based firmly in Americana traditions, about drinking whiskey and pretty girls not giving them the time of day that were the most compelling.
Thinking about this post and trying to find a way to encapsulate some nine hours of great music and great people leaves me wanting to write “You should have been there” and leave it at that. But that isn’t fair to anyone, especially not the amazing performers who fueled the night.
Each artist who took the stage Saturday brought something special with them, from the endearing charm of Boom Chick (and drummer Moselle Spiller’s brilliant scream) to the explosive energy of Molly Gene to the hypnotic skill of Mississippi Gabe Carter to the dirty magic that occurs when Left Lane Cruiser sits in with Mark Porkchop Holder. Every act was worth keeping an eye on.
Confession: I didn’t keep an eye on every act. In fact, it seems I missed two of the best sets of the night: Ten Foot Polecats and Left Lane Cruiser. Instead, I was carousing in the bar like some sort of scenester. But with an event like DBF, part of the package is meeting and hanging out with great people – the kind of people who don’t roll their eyes or just quietly humor you when you go on and on about blues music (or … Continue reading
Going in to the homestretch with a gentlemen how embraces the sound of the bluesmen from Bentonia, Mississippi, (which was the birthplace of my favorite blues musician, Skip James) and the other Ohio band on Saturday’s ticket. (And if you can listen to Pearlene without wanting to sigh or writhe around on the floor or something to that effect, then… well, you’re clearly not having as much fun as I am.)
Deep Blues Festival, Beachland Ballroom, Saturday, July 16, doors at 4 PM.
Name: Mississippi Gabe Carter
Homebase: Chicago, Illinois
Related artists: Duck Holmes
Mississippi Gabe Carter – Leavin’ – DBF09
Mississippi Gabe Carter @ MySpace
Rick Saunders’ interview with Mississippi Gabe Carter
Name: The Misery Jackals
Homebase: Akron, Ohio
Related artists: The Goddamn Gallows
The Misery Jackals – Trapper Jack
The Misery Jackals Official Website
Pearlene – All Fears (Have Faces) – DBF08