Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton Heat

Recently, the Reverend Horton Heat, aka Jim Heath, had something along the lines of what he calls an epiphany.

He's a little tired of being taken so seriously-well, maybe not seriously, exactly, but you get the idea-and lately he's noticed that some of his funnier, country-tinged songs were his biggest crowd pleasers. Besides, being entertaining is what this is all about, right?

So, ladies and gents, roll your smokes up in your sleeve and hold on to your cowboy hats, it's time to take a trip back to a time before slick, over-produced country became the norm-a time when outlaws wrote songs about being without a pot to piss in-or at least about psycho exboyfriends and deadbeat girlfriends that spend your paycheck faster than you can say Lone Star.

Welcome to Laughin' and Cryin' with the Reverend Horton Heat a record full of country-heavy tunes about bad habits, well-meaning but clueless husbands, ever-expanding beer-guts and, well, Texas. It wouldn't be a Reverend Horton Heat record without a song or-in this case, two-about the Lone Star State. And, while Laughin' and Cryin' marks a detour from the hard driving punkabilly of the Rev's last record, 2004's Revival, this time tending toward honk, there's still some shit-kickers ["Death Metal Guys"] to let you know that Heath and crew still mean business.

"I really wanted to capture the feelings of recordings of the late '50s, early '60s," Heath said of the songs on the new record.

Exhibit A: Beer Holder, a honky-tonker about a guy who finds the table by his chair a bit too far of a stretch-so he opts for a new "beer holder," his growing gut. While this guy finds his solution genius, his woman thinks otherwise.

"[The record is] kind of from a regular guy point of view," Heath said. "You know, I like to do stuff that's kind of tongue-in-cheek that makes fun of the good old boy thing as much as trying to glorify the country boy thing."

Heath originally conceived the new record as the product of an alter ego, Harley Hog, a sort of "laughing and crying" singer.

Deke Dickerson

A native of Columbia, Missouri, Deke Dickerson was born June 3, 1968. Growing up on a farm gave him an interesting slant on life and certainly contributed to his love of all things retro. By age 13 Deke's musical abilities began to show themselves. Playing in bands around his home town allowed the budding prodigy to nurture his growing talent. At 17 he and some friends from high school formed their own band, the Untamed Youth, a garage band that favored surf guitar licks. During the course of time the Untamed Youth was together they operated as a national touring act and released four indie recordings while gaining a strong reputation in the Midwest. But, Dickerson wanted more and moved to the West Coast in 1991. He soon became entrenched in the L.A. roots and rockabilly scene and eventually hooked up with the equally talented Dave Stuckey, another Midwesterner who had transplanted his talent to the West Coast. Together they formed one of the premier hillbilly duos to come out of Los Angeles and released two projects, the second being the highly acclaimed CD, Hollywood Barndance.

While with Stuckey, Dickerson's expertise as a guitarist began to evolve into the definitive Dickerson style. Part rockabilly, part surf and rock 'n' roll with a strong dash of the Roy Nichols jazzy style of country guitar, Dickerson put his mark on his brand of guitar playing. Sadly, he needed to move on yet again inspite of the success of Dave & Deke and the overwhelming emotional connection their audiences seemed to feel for the twosome. Parting ways was difficult and their last performance on a hot summer's evening in 1996 at Jacks Sugar Shack, located at the corner of Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood, proved to be a hearbreaking experience for the SRO crowd. Yet, Dave & Deke never sounded better. While tears were shed, both looked towards a future as solo artists.

Under the watchful eye of manager Allen Larman, the same man who guided the career of Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys to success, Deke Dickerson spent the next year seeking out a band to join him on stage and in the studio. He had a vision built upon the sounds he loved from days gone by and found his dream band in a unit that he christened the Ecco-fonics. Armed with his 'trademark custom double-neck Mosrite guitar,' Deke and the Ecco-fonics began to meld together and played all around Los Angeles, Orange County and the West Coast. They were featured at such roots music spectaculars as the Irvine, California annual Fourth of July Hootenanny and the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly spectacle in Las Vegas, Nevada.

An accomplished engineer and studio producer, in 1998 Dickerson went into the studio in order to produce a solo project by the Fly-Rite Boys sans Big Sandy. Another critical success, Dickerson was ready to take the Ecco-fonics into the studio and record his first solo effort. The result of those sessions in 1998 was the Fall release of Number One Hit Record on HighTone's HMG label. More Million Sellers followed a year later; Rhythm, Rhyme, & Truth in fall 2000. ~ Jana Pendragon, All Music Guide
Written by Jana Pendragon

Wayne Hancock

Wayne Hancock is that rare breed of traditionalist, one who imbues his retro obsessions with such high energy and passion that his songs never feel like museum pieces he's trying desperately to preserve. Hancock is most often compared to Hank Williams, and he can indeed be a hardcore honky tonker, but there's more to him than that: he also displays a genuine affinity for stomping rockabilly, Western swing, blues, and old-timey country à la Jimmie Rodgers. Plus, he also throws in the occasional pop standard in the manner of Willie Nelson's classic Stardust album. Hancock's devotion to classic country sounds, coupled with his strong aversion to the Nashville hit-making machine, earned him an ardent following among alternative country fans (from both the country and rock sides of the movement), as well as a fair amount of critical acclaim.

Wayne "The Train" Hancock was born May 1, 1965, and began writing songs around age 12. His family moved around a lot during his childhood, and often sang to entertain themselves. Hancock started playing juke joints around Texas as a teenager, and at age 18 won a prestigious talent competition, the Wrangler Country Showdown; however, he was unable to reap the benefits, having just enlisted in the Marines. After six years in the military, Hancock returned to Texas and began playing around the state wherever he could, working odd jobs on the side to help make ends meet. Eventually tiring of his itinerant existence, Hancock moved to West Dallas in 1993, and shortly thereafter settled in the music mecca of Austin. In 1994, he got a part in the musical theater production Chippy, where he performed alongside progressive country legends Joe Ely, Butch Hancock (no relation), Robert Earl Keen, and Terry Allen. He also made his recorded debut on the soundtrack album Songs From Chippy.
Thanks to that bit of exposure, Hancock was able to score a deal with the small Texas indie label Deja Disc. His debut album, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs, was produced by steel guitar legend Lloyd Maines and released in 1995. Critics fawned over the album, particularly the Hank Williams-ish title track, and despite being on a tiny label with limited distribution, it sold over 20,000 copies, mostly through word of mouth. It's success attracted the attention of the somewhat larger indie Ark 21, which signed Hancock for his second album, That's What Daddy Wants. Issued in 1997, the record found Hancock employing elaborate, horn-driven arrangements and delving more deeply into rockabilly and Western swing, which earned some comparisons to the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Reviews were again highly positive, and Ark 21 accordingly reissued Hancock's debut. His third album, Wild, Free & Reckless, had more traditional country instrumentation, full of fiddles and steel guitars, and accordingly was more reminiscent of pre-rock & roll country boogie.

Hancock subsequently switched to the alt-country hub Bloodshot Records, debuting in 2001 with A-Town Blues, which continued the more stripped-down approach of his most recent music. That same year he released the limited-edition EP South Austin Sessions. Hancock dug even deeper into his honky tonk roots with his next album, 2003's Swing Time, recorded live during a two-night stand at the Continental Club in Austin. In 2006, Hancock turned in Tulsa, his third full-length recording for Bloodshot, with Lloyd Maines remaining in the producer's chair. A fourth album for the label, Viper of Melody, appeared in 2009.
—Steve Huey, allmusic.com

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Reverend Horton Heat with Deke Dickerson, Wayne Hancock

Tuesday, August 20 · 8:00 PM at Reggies Rock Club