Slick back your hair and put on your dancin’ shoes, ’cause the 22nd Annual Shake the Shack Rockabilly Ball is back! Hosted by KEXP’s own Dr. Leon Berman, better known as “The Shackmaster,” the longest running rockabilly festival in the U.S. is happening Thursday, September 24, through Saturday, September 26, at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.
Starting off as a small affair to pay tribute to this old school genre and underground culture, the Rockabilly Ball has since grown to a huge three-day celebration with more than just a few cool cats taking stage. This year not only includes a cookin’ car show, but 10 radioactive bands from across the country. And remember, the ball isn’t limited to traditional hounddogs — fans of all ages, styles and backgrounds are welcome to boogie at an occasion made in the shade.
Take it from the Good Doctor: “All I know is that the Rockabilly Ball is still my favorite time to let it all hang out, have fun and immerse myself in the best rockabilly bands, the most fun people, the best tattoos, the best hot-rods, the coolest hair, the coldest beer, and some of the best dancing I’ve seen anywhere. Everyone is invited: rockabillies, rockers, boppers, cats and kittens, foxes and hounds, moms, dads, greasers, accountants, teachers, whoever wants to see the best rockabilly bands there are on the face of the planet, all at the Tractor here in Seattle!”
Roy Kay Combo
With four full length albums and major rockabilly respect under their belts, Roy Kay (vocals/acoustic guitar), Robin Cady (upright bass/backing vocals) and Mike Geglia (electric guitar/backing vocals) of Roy Kay Trio tossed aside their famous name to add Aaron Mlasko (drums/backing vocals) and form the Roy Kay Combo. Even though the drumless trio lives on making music of their own, the new combo tears up the dance floor with their classic 50’s rock. Look for their debut album as a combo, “I’m Hooked,” in October.
The Jukehouse Hounds are what I call straight-talking fellas putting everything on the table in their name. Kelly Van Camp (drums/harmonica/vocals), Robert Lee Mitchell (keyboards/vocals), Keith Lowe (bass/vocals) and Al Kaatz (guitar/vocals) banded together to create fun and upbeat Americana roots music. With songs like “Wild Weekend” and “Goo Goo Muck,” the Hounds “guarantee good howlin’ times.”
Billy Dwayne and the Creepers
Ballard band Billy Dwayne and the Creepers may look like trouble makers covered in tattoos and riding around town in hot whips, but their dancey music shows otherwise. Billy Dwayne (vocals/guitar), Armando Nienhuser (upright bass) and Jody Gere (drums) don’t take themselves too seriously with songs like “Big 390″ and “Long Legged Baby” off their new album, Damn That Lincoln.
plus, the Shake The Shack Rock ‘n Roll Party featuring:
Singer/guitarist Vince Mira has managed to reincarnate the voice of Johnny Cash, produce and record his first album by John Carter Cash at the Cash Cabin (built by the legend himself) in Nashville, and perform on daytime television shows like Good Morning American and Ellen DeGeneres, all before starting the eleventh grade. After perfecting Mr. Cash’s wise voice on his debut album “Cash Cabin Sessions,” the young, country music titan is now giving a hand to artists two to three times his age, most recently recording with Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam for Stone’s “Hank Williams Tribute” album.
Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands
Mark Pickerel discovered his love of music on a high school band trip to Walla, Walla by fellow band nerd, Van Conner (otherwise known as Gary Lee of the Screaming Trees). After serving as a member in bands like the Trees and Truly, Pickerel decided is was time to become a “free agent.” Originally playing under the name Dark Fantastic, Pickerel kept his style but swapped his title to Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands before releasing his new album “Devil Takes His Turn.”
Christy McWilson is an Americana fox who started out in the 80s as a singer in The Dynette Set. After helping to form the Picketts who released three albums throughout the grungy 90s before their disbandment, McWilson has grown into her own with solo ablums, The Lucky One and Bed of Roses.
Billy Joe and the Dusty 45s
Starring as Buddy Holly in a 5th Avenue theater production, Billy Joe of the Dusty 45s not only has the musical swagger of a rockabilly giant, but the classic cleaned-up greaser look. Leading the Dusty 45s for the past decade, Joe knows how to put on a show with his smooth voice and hot finale, complete with a flaming trumpet. With the Dusty 45s voted as “Best of Seattle” three years in a row by Seattle Weekly readers, Joe is reviving Americana swing music in the Northwest.
The StarDevils deserve their savage title with their finger lickin’ good twangy rock sound. With 5 star reviews from the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Black Cat Rockabilly, Lance Kaufman (lead vocals/acoustic guitar), Frank Turner (upright bass) and “Lost” Jim Ohl Schmidt (lead guitar) are worthy of playing any sized shindig. Check out some of their feet-tappin’, tail-waggin’ albums like “The Devils Music” and “Diagnosis Dee-Licious.”
Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp
Austin, Texas rockabilly singer Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp has teamed together with the Zipguns to create a swingin’ melody of old and new with Rockin’ Lloyd Tripp and the Zipguns. With his fancy bass playing in albums like “Ride That Rocket” and “Who’s That Fool,” he’ll have you wearing holes into your dance shoes by no time.
Captain Jeffrey and the Chumbuckets
Rooted in San Fernando Valley, California, Captain Jeffrey and the Chumbuckets bring their jazzy, borerline desert flare to American music the right way. Captain Jeffery (vocals/lap steel), J. Carlos Reynoso (drums), Kevin Stewart (bass), Eli Hathaway (rhythm guitar), Zach Mayerwitz (trumpet), and Patrick Morrison (lead electric guitar) are a rockabilly brotherhood, celebrating the sounds of their influences, The Lighthouse Doughboys, Mr. Milton Brown with His Musical Brownies for over five jammin’ years.
Slim Sandy is a one-man band, boppin’ hillbilly and country beats on guitar, harmonica and even a suitcase drum. On his down time, this master of instruments and styles band hops, jamming with groups like the Shady Rhythm Cats, The Hot Shot Band, and The Crazy Rhythm Boys. With over 100 songs in his repertoire and decades of experience, the slim man doesn’t plan to stop making tunes at his newest album “This Is The Night.”
Starkweather Boys of Oklahoma are an explosion of swing, two-step, jump and smokehouse blues. J.D. McPherson (lead vocals/guitar), Kevin Wright (vocals/guitar/pedal steel guitar/harmonica), Johnny Carlton (vocals/upright bass), Billy Earl Padgett (vocals/drums) and Mitchell C. Hamilton (vocals/piano) banded together in 2004 and have since spiced up venues across the country with tunes like “Off His Leash” and “Slow Movin’ Girl.”
Rocky Velvet brings their upfront New York attitude to the dawdling rockabilly world, creating a raw 50s roadhouse sound. Crowned the “Best Band” in 2007 by the newsweekly of NY’s Capitol Region, Ian Carlton (lead singer/guitar), Graham Tichy (guitar), Jeff Michael (drums) and newest member Jim Haggerty (bass) hold a reputation for hard-slugging performances and bonafied tunes. Grab their newest album “It Came From Cropseyville!” for a boogie woogie time.
From the country capitol of Nashville, Tennessee, the independent band Hillbilly Casino is burning rubber across the country with their punkified twist on hound dog music. Starting in backwater bars and clubs, Nic Roulette (vocals), Ronnie Crutcher (guitar/vocals), Geoff Firebaugh (bass/vocals) and Andrew Dickson (drums) have grown to support acts like Rancid, the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Horton Reverend Heat. Rock out with their 2006 debut album, “Sucker Punched.”
The Still Creek Brothers
The Canadian boys of The Still Creek Brothers pack a mean southern punch with their traditional western swing sound. Tony LaBorie (upright bass/vocals), Ben LaBorie (Take-off guitar/vocals), Juho Uuraslahti (rhythm guitar/vocals) and Ken Egeland (drums/percussion/hollerin’) seem like their straight out of the south with songs like “What A Lonesome Life It’s Been” and “Let Me Love You.” With a name derived from “lost” underground river; how rockabilly can you get?
For more information about Shake the Shack Rockabilly Ball lineup, ticket prices and directions visit KEXP .