Bumbershoot Preview: Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women

by Chris Estey

I would write a longer preview for the Old 97s, who are playing on Saturday on the Samsung Mobile Mainstage at 7:45 PM, but that’s going to be kipper-packed out and gone ape-shit enough after how the band stormed Bumbershoot last year. But there you are: The Old 97s are going to burn it down. Yeah, you probably shouldn’t miss it.

The next day I’m going to bet something’s still going to be standing for Dave Alvin to resurrect though. He’s that kind of soul-stirring singer-guitarist, powerfully leading rockabilly-punk gods The Blasters off and on with his brother Phil for well over thirty years, and he’ll be flashing his trademark Cheshire Cat grin and squeezing out sparks over at the Starbucks Stage on Sunday, September 6, starting at 6:45 PM. Backed up by The Guilty Women, featuring Americana scene vets Cindy Cashdollar, Nina Gerber, Laurie Lewis, Sarah Brown, Amy Farris, Christy McWilson and Lisa Pankrantz, this should be a suave and fire-branded take on choice Americana.

Special siren-guests Marcia Ball and Susie Thompson were included on the highly recommended Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women album, which was recorded after Alvin & gals appeared on the stage of the October 2008 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. Hopefully these two will show up for the Bumbershoot performance — but just hear their work on an album with songs like a revived “Marie, Marie” was a home listening high point this year.

Though he has been writing stunning, entire genre-creating roots songs forever (“Bus Station” on The Blasters’ second album is better than half of what’s been recorded since the No Depression movement began) and picking out superb covers for any group he’s been with since the beginning (“I’m Shakin’” with his first band and a sweet and hot “Que Sera Sera” ends the new LP), Alvin’s kept himself in shape and most likely thrill the crowd — or what’s left of them after the Old 97s. (Ah, if only their sets could have been back to back, but that may have danced everyone to death.)

Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women – “Boss of the Blues”
Live at the Santa Monica Pier 8/6/09

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