Bumper Jacksons at the Monpelier Arts Center, Laurel, Maryland
The Bumper Jacksons brought their full band to the Montpelier Arts Center for a rousing concert of old time music with a new spin. Lively lead singer (and songwriter) Jess Eliot Myhre displayed a strong voice and doubled on clarinet and rub board (providing a nice interplay with the band’s substitute drummer, Jason Baker). Her singing and songwriting partner Chris Ousley provided his lead vocals as well, along with guitar, and banjo. Alex Lacquement added the third harmony and a strong doghouse bass. In many ways the band reminded me of the late great Asylum Street Spankers or The Wiyos. On one side of the stage Dave Hadley brought a solid Texas Swing style with his pedal steel. On the other side of the stage Brian Priebe’s trombone added a strong New Orleans, Preservation Hall style influence. His interplay with Jess’ clarinet provided many highlights in the show. The band played songs from their 2015 album “Too Big World”, such as “Coffee Mama”, “Delta Bound”, “Hell is hot” and “Satan, your kingdom must come down”, mixing the sacred with the profane (though not as profane as the Spankers). They worked in new compositions such as “Many paths to the top of the mountain”. The band also covered Bob Dylan’s “Ring them bells”, Richard M. Jones “Trouble in mind” and the traditional “Darlin Corey”. It was a tight two set show. I understand that economics may force thin the band down to a duo or trio on the road, but I highly recommend the rich sound of the full Bumper Jacksons band!