Rock This Way

"I am Deke Dickerson," he says, "entertainer, musician, singer, guitar player . . . Renaissance man." What's more, Dickerson has made it his personal mission to drag folks from the moribund monoverse of Friends reruns and out to his traveling road show, a 200- to 300-day-per-year tour of musical duty. You might say it's his calling.

"God made me this way," says Dickerson, "and God don't make no junk."

Hailing from California by way of Missouri, Dickerson is a guy who reaches into the past with his twin-necked Mosrite guitar and channel-surfs all the fun stuff: rockabilly, R&B, country, jazz, doo-wop and swing. A Dickerson gig is a train with many cars going in a single direction at breakneck speed.

On Tuesday, August 6, he brings his band, the Ecco-Fonics, to the Rhythm Room. "This time," he says, "we'll have Billy Horton on bass and Buck Johnson on drums, both from Austin, Texas. And another great band from Austin is opening, the Bellfuries. Billy's brother Bobby Horton plays in the Bellfuries, so we should be on for some Horton Brothers tunes that night."

Dickerson writes a lot of his own material, but, at the same time, manages to find great covers that haven't been turned into tired war-horses by a parade of well-intentioned but uninspired rockaphants. Phoenix audiences likely will hear a fair number of tracks from his recent HighTone release Rhythm Rhyme and Truth, including the jumped-up version of Grandpa Jones' "Hello Blues."

Dickerson tells us, "You might not know this, but Phoenix gets some of the best touring acts on Tuesday, because bands are either coming from L.A. going to Texas, or going from Texas to L.A. But I'll add that Phoenix is great because the great guitarist Al Casey came from Phoenix, not to mention Duane Eddy and Sanford Clark! I like to soak in their vibes when I come through."