Masks Optional If Vaccinated
The Hi-Jivers, Chelsea Lovitt
Doors: 7:00PM | Show: 8:00PM
with The Hi-Jivers, Chelsea Lovitt
Wayne "The Train" Hancock
Since his stunning debut, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs in 1995, Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been the undisputed king of Juke Joint Swing–that alchemist’s dream of honky-tonk, western swing, blues, Texas rockabilly and big band. Always an anomaly among his country music peers, Wayne’s uncompromising interpretation of the music he loves is in fact what defines him: steeped in traditional but never “retro;” bare bones but bone shaking; hardcore but with a swing. Like the comfortable crackle of a Wurlitzer 45 jukebox, Wayne is the embodiment of genuine, house rocking, hillbilly boogie. Wayne makes music fit for any road house anywhere. With his unmistakable voice, The Train’s reckless honky-tonk can move the dead. If you see him live (and he is ALWAYS touring), you’ll surely work up some sweat stains on that snazzy Rayon shirt you’re wearing. If you buy his records, you’ll be rolling up your carpets, spreading sawdust on the hardwood, and dancing until the downstairs neighbors are banging their brooms on the ceiling. Call him a throwback if you want, Wayne just wants to ENTERTAIN you, and what’s wrong with that? Wayne’s disdain for the slick swill that passes for real deal country is well known. Like he’s fond of saying: “Man, I’m like a stab wound in the fabric of country music in Nashville. See that bloodstain slowly spreading? That’s me.”
Austin John & Dawna Zahn moved to Nashville from Central New York in September 2014 with one intention: to form a band inspired by their favorite Rhythm & Blues and Rock N’ Roll artists of the 1950s and 1960s. By the beginning of 2015, they met upright bass player Hank Miles and drummer Aaron Mlasko who had recently moved to Nashville from Seattle, WA. The group bonded over their love of American roots icons such as Wynonie Harris, Big Mama Thornton, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Richard, and Etta James. The Hi-Jivers formed in February 2015, and by the summer they were playing frequently in Nashville and Memphis, TN. That first summer also brought about the band’s first ever release, a four song self-titled, self-released EP, which included original tracks “Hotwire Woman” and “Something’s Gotta Shake”. After Mlasko moved on to pursue other ventures, The Hi-Jivers shared the stage with a rotating cast of talented drummers, including Tony DeCurtis and Jason Smay. In 2017, the band began touring and appearing at festivals across the U.S. They wrote and self-released a second 6 song EP, “Always Talkin’ Down”, which included soon-to-become fan favorite track “Knee High & Risin’”. During the 2017 Nashville Boogie, Bopflix Films’ Chris Magee took an interest in the band, producing and recording a live video of an acoustic version of original track “Hotwire Woman” in the dressing room at The Nashville Palace. Upon the video’s release, The Hi-Jivers began to gain traction in the international Roots music scene, introducing their sound to a new audience. In March 2018, they traveled to Los Angeles to record their first full-length album at the Wild Records studio. The album “Something’s Gotta Shake” included new recordings of a few previously released tracks as well as new original material. By 2019, The Hi-Jivers were bringing their live show overseas to festivals like the Rockin’ Race Jamboree, Rockabilly Rave, and Rhythm Riot. Spring of 2020 brought a wave of change to The Hi-Jivers, as they saw their long-time bandmate Hank Miles move to Austin, TX to pursue a career in custom car building. Before his departure, the crew recorded two final versions of “Something’s Gotta Shake” and “Knee High & Risin’”, set to be released as their first ever 7" vinyl record this coming summer. The tracks were recorded and produced by McKinley James at Red Lodge Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and featured Jason Smay on drums. Austin John and Dawna Zahn are currently writing a full-length sophomore album. Late Summer/Fall 2020 will bring The Hi-Jivers fans a new line-up, new music and exciting new tour dates.
For Chelsea Lovitt, the multifaceted music of the South is her inspiration. She is immersed in the traditions of country, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, and bluegrass, and her bona fides on guitar and fiddle match her vocal chops, which go from pure honky tonk to rockabilly to folk and rock ‘n’ roll. For sure, these days plenty of artists--in Nashville and elsewhere--use the criss-crossing map of Southern music as their handbook. What Chelsea Lovitt knows is that it’s a map that leads you to new places while laying out the eternal truths. Above all, Lovitt is a writer, so you can bring in Faulkner, romantic poets like John Keats and certainly Tennessee Williams as guides to her sensibility. Her music is complex, full of contradictions, which means she honors the mystery of the Southern tradition. The contradictions mentioned above are what drive Chelsea Lovitt’s Nashville-recorded debut album You Had Your Cake, So Lie in It. It’s an inspired collection of various, mostly Southern musical approaches. As the record’s title implies, it is also, in subtle and personal ways, a political record that questions America’s obsession with material wealth, toxic relationships between men and women, and warns the way the Trump era corrodes values and isolates human beings. You Had Your Cake, So Lie in It is also about tradition and family, and the vagaries of human identity. Even more, it’s a great, raucous, garage-country-Rocknroll record, referencing a Mick Jagger swagger and Gram Parsons' elegance in country-rock. On “De Donna,” Lovitt evokes Parsons, and writes about her mother in a very humanistic, very nuanced song that’s playful and loving. With its piquant acoustic guitar, “De Donna” invokes yet another Southern iconoclast, Memphis’ Alex Chilton, during his Big Star period. Like the rest of the album, “De Donna,” confounds category, updates the tradition. Lovitt recorded You Had Your Cake, So Lie in It, at Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter with producer Andrija Tokic, whose credits include helming albums by Alabama Shakes, Margo Price and Buffalo Clover, the Deslondes and Fly Golden Eagle. It is, indeed, a great garage-rock album--opener “If I Had a Dollar” features Lovitt's Wanda Jackson-style vocals and guitar and organ that travel down Dylan’s fabled Highway 61. “Beanstalk” references the great Memphis-recorded Sun Records classic “Raunchy” and it’s about illusions--beanstalks that climb to the sky. For a change of pace, CL and her band, including ace guitarist Marc Ottavi, whose brilliant playing helps define You Had Your Cake, So Lie in It, detour through country-soul, and through Lovitt's psyche, in “State of Denial.” It swings like Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and the Stones on Exile on Main St.: “Baby, I was born in a state/That dug the ditch for denial,” Lovitt sings. Growing up in Hattiesburg, CL took opera lessons, learned fiddle, and began playing in local venues as a teenager. After graduating from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi--she studied English/literature and philosophy there--she moved to Nashville for the first time in 2008. She worked on her songwriting, made valuable connections with similarly minded Nashvillians like the rock-blues-soul band The Blackfoot Gypsies, and then went to France, where she taught English and guitar. After dividing her time between New Orleans and London in the next few years, she returned to Nashville in 2016. The context in Cake is Dylan-esque--Lovitt's lyrics track her struggle in Trump’s world, but they remain rooted in personal experience. The music is equally complex, but it’s the result of old-fashioned techniques. As CL says, “We got a natural sound, and things just go that way in that studio. Tracking live and to tape sure helps. I was mostly isolated in the vocal/rhythm booth, but we really didn’t have to do that many takes. We tracked nine songs in a week.” A born traveller, Lovitt tours the country and plays shows in Nashville at celebrated venues like the American Legion and neo-honky tonk gathering spot Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, incorporating well-chosen covers into her live show. Her takes on classics like Parsons’ “Luxury Liner” and the Arthur Crudup/Elvis Presley standard “That’s All Right, Mama” go back to her deep Southern roots. But she is a thoroughly modern musician. In Music City, Nashville Scene wrote about You Had Your Cake, “[Lovitt is] a shape-shifting artist who can turn from alt-country to garage rock….Her insights into America’s culture of excess make [it] a unique example of the political album.”
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Lineups and times are subject to change.
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The Hi-Jivers / Chelsea Lovitt