Written by James Killen
The Americana is a great place to catch original music of all kinds and on this Friday night the music reached the roots of American song-craft. Brad Fielder and Sean Lucy have been doing a little touring and tagged John and Rebecca Stoll (Grifters and Shills) to join them for an appearance at The Americana.
Brad Fielder led off the evening with a warm-hearted, healthy helping of banjo and acoustic country folk and honky-tonk fare. Straight out of Oklahoma with a farmer’s baseball cap, Fielder sang songs of the common man, so common that they could have been written from the seat of a tractor. The subjects covered his grandparents in assisted living, “Some Old Fart’s Toolbox”, his dog Boudreaux, and a song for his wife called “Lonely Man No More”. Brad’s songs were like black and white photos of rural America, delivered with wit and warmth. Visit his website. It’s strewn with his creativity and down home style.
Sean Lucy of Las Cruces, New Mexico took the stage next with all of the quick wit of a very fast paced Woody Guthrie, his first offering being “Talkin’ Whole Countryside Dyin’- from Methamphetamine Blues”. Lucy’s writings covered subjects as wide as transgender prostitutes, “Lubbock”, a hilarious tune about Johnny Manzel, and even a tongue in cheek song about cunnilingus. Sean showed a mastery of the acoustic guitar and satire that was sure to entertain.
Houston favorites, Grifters and Shills took the stage next. John and Rebecca’s last disc was a presentation of covers of traditional country folk and gospel. They have been working for the better part of a year on “Long Tongue Liars”, which is a presentation of traditional blues covers. Some of those recordings have been slipping out on Facebook, including “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”, “You is One Black Rat” and the Willie Dixon/Howling Wolf/Doors tune, “Backdoor Man”. That one has been promised for release by the end of June. John and Rebecca have assured me that they have put together a lot of new original material over the last couple of years and we are likely to see their great creativity and heart augmented by some professional production and promotion with the intent of bringing the Grifters and Shills way of life to the world. June 30th at Dan Electro’s is the CD release party for “Long Tongue Liars” if you can make it out.
Grifters and Shills closed out the evening with a laid back presentation of original tunes and great covers traipsing over country, blues and rocking folk. John dragged out his cigar box slide for several tunes. The couple did an outstanding version of Steve Earle’s “Devil’s Right Hand” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and an evil version of “Me and the Devil Blues”. John and Rebecca ended up doing fourteen tunes before encoring with Cab Calloway’s “Hi De Ho Man”. It was an evening of excellent diversity, presentation, and originality.
Ya’ll should know that Grifters and Shills is popping up all over town. Do yourself a favor and get out to see them. If you have a free evening, check out The Americana. There are some cool things popping over there when you least expect it.