Greased Lightning Show

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys keep rockabilly a-hoppin' in a 30-year-old school bus

Sandy and mates also used a combination of old equipment and modern recording technology to create something that is fresh and vintage at the same time. There are echoes, figurative and real, of the '50s and of the intervening decades, and of a solid dedication to the form and function of that post-war sensibility. But every now and then you'll hear an unexpected riff or nuance or change in ambiance that Sandy's lyrics and music can't help but dictate, like how a knuckleball pitcher needs to throw a two-seam fastball every once in a while.

On the end track, "The Night Is for Dreamers," Williams paints a kind of Edward Hopper rockabilly portrait of people who look to the night and the music to escape the glare of the workaday world. "Joe didn't think she looked so special/But winter nights are cold and long/Sue found his conversation less than intellectual/And so they danced to that old familiar song."

"For that genre of music, I think it pushes the boundaries a little bit," he says, "and that's what we've been wanting to do lately, anyway.

More musically inclined than the Fonz: Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys.
David Harrison
More musically inclined than the Fonz: Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys.

Details

Scheduled to perform on Wednesday, November 26. Show begins at 9 p.m. Call 602-265-4842 for more information.
Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School

"I like to put a more poetic touch into some of the songs," he adds. "And we do try to reach outside of the rockabilly world, by playing festivals, performing on NPR and on Conan O'Brien, and other kinds of scenes. We opened for Morrissey on a number of gigs some time back. And there are a lot of young people who are discovering this music -- thousands of people all over the place who love this music. Our crowds are mixed -- from regular folk to young kids who save to buy the cars and the clothes, but who really love the music. It's nice to find people who are passionate about it, people who don't just see it as a fashion thing."

And as for grease -- hey, Sandy, is it Brylcreem, Wildroot or Vitalis?

"I need something a little thicker," Williams says with a laugh. "Murray's Pomade and a little bit of Royal Crown. But you gotta dry-clean them pillow sheets."

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