Rockabilly music seems to have more spin-offs than All In the Family. Sub-genres include Psychobilly, Voodoobilly, Thrashabilly, Punkabilly, Horrorbilly, Countrybilly and numerous others. I even found one Web site that said if you want to start a Rockabilly band but haven't yet, you play "Probabilly."
With a couple of exceptions, many of these 'billy clubs are started by one band, which becomes the sole practitioner. You rap over Eddie Cochran riffs? Congratulations, you're the pioneer of Rapabilly. Your music's like Charlie Parker meets the Stray Cats? Welcome to Bopabilly — population: you.
The sound of Northern Kentucky's Rumble Club has some elements of many of the various subgenres, but none are quite appropriate to describe the band. The foursome fuses Pscychobilly's rocket-fuel energy but retains strong ties to Rockabilly, Rock & Roll and Country tradition.
There's also a little Surf thrown in. For a genre so locked into to tradition, it's refreshing to hear artists like Rumble Club find there own distinct voice. Ultimately, thanks to great songwriting and their less restrictive approach, they land somewhere all their own. Therefore, by the powers invested in me by absolutely no one, I proclaim that Rumble Club's music will now be classified as "Rumblebilly."
Rumble Club began in 2004, releasing an EP, followed by the full-length, Rumble Club Rides Tonight, a year later. The band has drawn international attention, earning radio play on variously formatted stations around the globe and scoring write-ups in publications like Rockabilly Magazine. The band's new record, In Case of Rumble ..., should facilitate even more praise. In Case is being released Friday in conjunction with an RC show at downtown's Poison Room. The fun starts at 10 p.m. and features guests Lost State of Franklin, Hotel War and local Roots music hero, David Rhodes Brown.
Each song on In Case of Rumble is like a mini-version of an old pulp novel, telling tales of juvies, hot rods, gamblers and other cool outsiders and troublemakers. The members are ace instrumentalists and their dexterous chops are one of the main reasons In Case works so well. While it sometimes seems that adrenalized Rockabilly/Psychobilly acts are started by young ruffians weaned on Punk whose admiration of the bygone-era of Rockabilly's peak doesn't translate to convincing performance skills, Rumble Club almost seems the opposite. Their deftness and command enables them to infuse "outside" elements rather naturally.
While more than capably supported by an airtight, vigorous rhythm section, it is singer/guitarist Jack Coray's guitar work and magnetic vocals that are the most instantly grabbing. He plays guitar like a cross between Carl Perkins, Junior Brown and Dick Dale and he's vocally akin to Johnny Cash and Mike Ness, making for a devastating combination. Highlights include chugging, slashing rebel anthem "The Youngers," the clickin' instrumental "Chicken Pickin'," the punky, overdriven "59 Caddy" (which recalls The Cramps wonderfully) and the more traditional strut of "Rockin' Billy Rooster." Whether you like Rockabilly, Punk or just great, pure Rock & Roll, Rumble Club has just what you need. And more. (rumbleclub.com)
More Local Notes
· Jazz septet The John Lake Ensemble returns to The Greenwich in Walnut Hills Thursday at 9:30 p.m. The CCM-spawned group (featuring John Lake, Austin Vickrey, Brian Hogg, Scott Forney, Mike Darrah, Steve Flora and Dan Dorff) plays a variety of Jazz styles very well, inspired creatively by everyone from Thelonious Monk and Radiohead. Check out a few of their song samples at myspace.com/thejohnlakeensemble.
· A musical benefit for AVOC (Aids Volunteers of Cincinnati) takes place Saturday at downtown's Poison Room at 9 p.m. The show, titled "Dancing in the Street: A Tribute to Motown," features locals like The Beau Alquizola Band, Buckra, Jace and the 6'3" Conga, The Newbees, Tupelo Honey and Wojo putting their spins on standards from the legendary label. (avoc.org)
· Speaking of theme shows, local folkie Jake Speed and his Freddies are giving their Saturday show at Arnold's Bar & Grill a topical spin. Calling it "Spring Training for Opening Day," the band will perform a whole set of baseball-related tunes, including Speed's own tribute to Joe Nuxhall ("Old Man Joe") and "Joe DiMaggio Done It Again," a Wilco song featuring lyrics by Woody Guthrie. The fun doesn't stop there. Speed says there will be a mini-parade led by the Queen City Zapatistas, old-timey baseball recreators dressed in uniform and peanuts and Cracker Jack's on every table. And if you spent all of your money buying Opening Day tickets from a scalper, don't worry this show's a freebie. (freddiesmusic.com)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com