With music, a popular descriptive-yet-damning delineation is retro. Its reserved for performers drawing upon roots to a point where it seems theyre living in an idealized past. Its easy to jump to that conclusion regarding Southern California combo Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys. For cryin out loud, they dress as though they emerged from a 1955 time warp or a Patsy Cline/Wanda Jackson biopic. Inspired by rockabilly and Western swing, Sandy and the Boys are closer to the real thing than the Stray Cats ever were; you might think this lot never listened to a song recorded after 58 that wasnt either genre. Wrong Big Sandy and the lads have actually evolved since their 1993 origins. While not abandoning rockabilly, their palette expanded to include mariachi, Memphis soul, Latin pop, and even a wee touch of folk-rock jangle. Of course, this means nada unless the Boys have the savvy and moxie to go with the style. Forgoing macho swagger, Big Sandy has a boldly smooth vocal style evoking Charlie Rich (a Sun Records grad), Jack Scott, and Roy Orbison, while the Boys have hot-fingered yet judicious musicianship to spare. Get a jump on dispelling those holiday blues.
Wed., Jan. 21, 8 p.m., 2009