The Texas Sheiks — Saxon Pub in Austin, TX — December 6, 2009 (Live Review)
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The Texas Sheiks feature Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin, singers and pickers who go back in time to the days of the 60’s with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Tonight they were joined by Bruce Hughes (bass), Cindy Cashdollar (steel), John Chipman (drum), and Scrappy Jud Newcomb (guitar) of Austin, along with Suzy Thompson (fiddle) and Johnny Nicholas (mandolin).
This was a tribute show to Stephen Bruton. Together with Stephen, most of these players put together the Texas Sheiks CD in the early part of last year, as a bit of a diversion during his struggle with cancer. Bruce Hughes played a big part in both the CD and this particular show, known as a key member of their Resentments Band. We were able to hear most of the songs from the album tonight… and that was just the first set. I particularly liked Don’t Sell It, Don’t Give It Away, and Fan It. And Under the Chicken Tree was a crowd pleaser. (They seemed to have a thing for chickens.)
This was a full show, and well attended. I was lucky enough to link up with a couple long-time Kweskin / Muldaur fans, including John Freeman and Jim Cullen, who helped fill in some of the blanks for me. They have followed them since they were mainstays in the folk scene in the Northeast, and through their many other collaborations over the years.
This was a mix of rag time music, traditional pickin’, folk music, and some serious blues, to my way of thinking. And there were a couple special Resentments’ tunes sung by Bruce and Scrappy — Crazy Korean Wife and Wanderin’ Boy — to commemorate Stephen in his hometown club where this was held.
The banjo certainly got passed around, and there was a lot of tuning as well as sound adjustments. In the main, it was a glorious blend of musicians from all parts of the country – giving tribute to a very special man no one is going to forget any time soon.