Featuring Jesse Henry & Molly Winters
The Legendary Shack Shakers’ hell-for- leather roadshow has earned quite a name for itself with
its unique brand of Southern Gothic that is all-at- once irreverent, revisionist, dangerous, and
fun. Led by their charismatic, rail-thin frontman and blues-harpist JD Wilkes, the Shack Shakers are a four-man wrecking crew from the South whose explosive interpretations of the blues,punk, rock and country have made fans, critics and legions of potential converts into truebelievers.
After taking more than a year off to work on other projects (including JD Wilkes's book "Barn Dances & Jamborees Across Kentucky"), the band is re-mobilizing in the fall of 2014 much to the excitement of many a Shack Shaker fanatic. Despite the group’s time off, their reputation for intensity has stuck with them. On stage, JD has been compared to the likes of Iggy Pop, David
Byrne, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The Nashville Scene named Wilkes “the best frontman in Nashville” in 2002, while former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra has called JD “the last great Rock and Roll frontman.” Having joined the band in early 2012, garage blues guitar player Rod Hamdallah-- who also lends his prowess to Wilkes's side project ‘JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers'-- is back in the Shack Shakers’ lineup. The rhythm section is rounded out with Brett Whitacre on drums and Mark Robertson thumping out the upright bass.
Although not legendary upon being named, the band has grown into its reputation the last several years due to their heavy tour schedule, six critically acclaimed studio albums, and songs that have been featured on television shows such as HBO’s True Blood. Past tour mates and fans include Reverend Horton Heat, Rancid, The Black Keys, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and Hank Williams III. Robert Plant is also a noted Legendary Shack Shakers fan, and picked the band to open for him on his 2005 tour of Europe. Plant named the band's third album Believe as one of his favorite records of 2005. The list of esteemed admirers goes on to include horror
novelist Stephen King, who listed “CB Song” as among his iPod’s Top Five in a 2008
Entertainment Weekly article. Such a wealth of devoted fans over the years has only added tothe mystique that the Legendary Shack Shakers possess, carrying them down the road toward new creative pursuits and barn-shaking tunes.
Caught halfway between the dark swoon of pop-noir, the raw rasp of soul music, and the honest punch of Americana, Suzanne Santo's Ruby Red tells the story of a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who, more than 10 years into an acclaimed career, is turning a new corner.
Produced by multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker (whose Los Angeles recording studio gives the album its name), Ruby Red marks Santo's first release as a solo artist. For the past decade, she's spent most of her time fronting the Americana duo HONEYHONEY, whittling her banjo, violin, and vocal chops into sharp shape along the way. Here, she takes a break from that longtime gig to explore something different, creating a moody, sexually-charged album filled with organic instruments, distorted fiddle, Walker's powerful electric guitar, and Santo's most stunning vocal performances to date.
"I think I started writing songs for this record long before I realized that I was writing songs for this record,” said Santo. “I’ve identified with a collaboration for so long that the thought of taking a leap into the depths of my own music and having no idea what that would look like, definitely came as a shock. I was getting lazy and not finishing the tasks at hand like I really wanted, deep down, to be able to do. Writing this record was bewitching in a way.”
Before they collaborated on Ruby Red, Santo made multiple appearances on Butch Walker's eighth album, Stay Gold. She joined him on the road, too, singing harmonies and playing violin, guitar, and banjo during a nationwide tour in 2016. During breaks in her touring schedule, she began diving into a different type of songwriting, looking to diverse albums by Erykah Badu, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt, and the Alabama Shakes for inspiration. For years, she'd always been somebody else's bandmate. This was a time to explore her own identity. To write her own music. To ignore genres and defy expectations. To determine what, exactly, she wanted to say. . .and find out the best way to deliver it.
“Once Butch acquiesced to producing the record, I had an ‘oh shit!’ moment where I realized that I needed to really show up,” continued Santo. “I had to have songs that were finished, let alone good enough. I couldn’t stop and I wrote all day every day to finish the songs I’d started years ago as well as the few that presented themselves in the 4th quarter. I took long walks in my neighborhood and listened to demos on my cell phone and worked out lyrics. I would also wake up in the middle of the night with new ideas and would get up and write them down or record them. It felt like the songs were seeping through the cracks of my mind and out of my mouth, without much of my consent. I think art is a channel, connected to something much greater than we are and I feel honored when it picks me from time to time.
If you ask The Rooks about the origin of their sound, chances are they’ll concoct a
tale of Frank Ocean, J Dilla, and the Talking Heads getting drunk at a dive bar in the
year 2023, while Justin Vernon waits in the car to drive everyone home. Push them
to be a little more specific (and a little less confusing), and they’ll tell you that The
Rooks are equal parts kick-back, head-knock, and get-down; the music you rock to at
the party, and the perfect soundtrack for the ride home.
A transplant from the Wesleyan University music scene, The Rooks have spent the
last four years making noise across New York City and the greater Northeast,
gaining substantial recognition for their debut EP, Something You Can Take (May
2013), follow-up single "Twister" (Jan 2014) and most recent releases "Secrets" and
"Intermission (Wires)" (both premiered on Okayplayer).
Hard-hitting performances at Irving Plaza, Mercury Lounge and Brooklyn Bowl, as
well as highly successful residencies at Arlene's Grocery and Pianos NYC (second
highest grossing residency in venue history) have earned them further acclaim,
including Deli Magazine's Artist of the Month award (Feb 2014) and recent win of the
14th Annual Independent Music Awards in the R&B/Soul category, finally providing
their parents with a tangible means of bragging about their children.
The Rooks happily released their second EP, Wires, on Afropunk in June 2015, and
are currently booking shows in 2016. They would love for you to join the party,
because they’re having an incredible time!
FREE Monday Funday Show with Tony Monaco Trio featuring Derek DiCenzo & Louis Tsamous. 9pm-12am $2 Pints all night long!
Scott Danger Bravo is an instrumental, acoustic guitarist from NY. Scott’s music sounds like a combination of Zakk Wylde, Al DiMeola, and Leo Kottke, the latter being his biggest influence. All of the songs are acoustic but some feature lengthy solo sections where he employs effects like distortion, flange and chorus to take the songs places rarely heard in this genre. While Scott gets included in the “fingerstyle” category he technically, isn’t. Instead of using all of his fingers, the reason for the genres name, he uses a pick and one finger. The style has been affectionately referred to as “SlothStyle” due to the 3 fingers it takes to play it. Scott is an energetic, witty, and engaging performer often prefacing his songs with humorous tales of how he came to write or name the song. He never forsakes melody for flash, although there is PLENTY of it and always leaves the crowd ready for another show. Come and see him on June 26th!! Your ears will thank you.