Asylum Street Spankers

You can't spell "caravan" without "a van"

A.S.S.: Modern-day swing Gypsies.
A.S.S.: Modern-day swing Gypsies.

Had they been around in the 1800s, Austin-based band Asylum Street Spankers would have been traveling the country in a caravan like a giant band of Gypsies, unloading a plethora of instruments — drums, guitars, standup bass, fiddles, washboards, harmonicas, banjos, ukuleles, Dobros — and rocking every stop with equal enthusiasm. In fact, that's exactly what A.S.S. has done almost every night for more than 10 years in the modern world, mixing jazz, blues, and swing standards like Taj Mahal's "Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue" and Preston Foster's "Got My Mojo Workin'" with twisted, hybrid originals like "Hick Hop" and "Insane Asylum." Although Christina Marrs and Wammo are the only original members of A.S.S. left, the band's got a posse that rivals P. Diddy's, and they faithfully duplicate their huge studio sound live, with the aid of a revolving door of musicians that numbers anywhere from six to a dozen additional players, making A.S.S. a prime example of how grassroots acoustics can grow into "Big Band."

 
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