Six years ago, Atlanta native and Berklee School of Music grad Blair Timmins was putting the finishing touches on the sophomore album from his Indie Rock outfit Bishop Don when a skateboard ride turned into a three-day coma.
After Crimmins regained consciousness, he had a case of tinnitus (caused by skull shrapnel in his ear canal), a temporary cessation in his sense of smell and a complete lack of interest in loud Rock music.
Just as Crimmins began considering the Hot Jazz/Ragtime sounds that predated his birth by three-quarters of a century, his grandmother passed away, bequeathing him a wealth of ancient furniture, books and photographs. Awash in nostalgia but tweaking with Rock & Roll energy, Crimmins assembled a group of like-minded players and christened them Blair Crimmins & The Hookers.
After three years of converting Rock audiences to their newfound direction and dealing with the inevitable personnel shifts, Crimmins and The Hookers released their 2010 full-length debut, The Musical Stylings of Blair Crimmins & The Hookers, followed in 2011 by the single "State Hotel"/"Can't Fake a Smile" (their sophomore album, Sing-a-Longs, is slated for September). The album and single are brilliant evocations of a bygone era, but The Hookers aren't content to simply mimic styles from 100 years ago, preferring to give dirty Jazz and Ragtime a jumpstart from their contemporary Rock battery.
Crimmins and The Hookers' well considered balance between authenticity and originality has translated to capacity club audiences and sweaty dance floors all over Atlanta (and every point on the compass beyond) and they're always looking for fresh converts. Just remember, it's a dance marathon, not a jitterbug sprint; Blair Crimmins & The Hookers are in it for the long haul and they'll be spotting you every step of the way.
BLAIR CRIMMINS & THE HOOKERS play Wednesday, July 17 at Thompson House in Newport. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.