Wayback Machinists

With music, a popular descriptive-yet-damning delineation is “retro.” It’s reserved for performers drawing upon “roots” to a point where it seems they’re living in an idealized past. It’s 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 wasn’t 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

 
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