Local Wire

Dusty 45's

The Dustys specialize in the archaic sounds of the '50s and '60s, with emphasis on the dance-happy backbeat that used to be the hallmark of the hit single, bouncing from rockabilly to jumpin' jive, barrelhouse blues, hard-core honky-tonk and other roots-heavy forms. Lead vocalist Billy Joe Huels has a larger-than-life and slightly out-of-control baritone that combines the authentic drawl of Johnny Cash with the mania of The Cramps' Lux Interior. Lead guitarist Jerry Battista supplies an encyclopedia of twangy licks that add a rush of cool electric sparks to every track, with Micah Hulscher's piano providing the push that sends the music into overdrive. Hits include "Play the Game," a Latin-flavored polka with a dramatic Elvis-style vocal, and a bluesy, extended take on "St. James Infirmary." The low-key production brings to mind the Sun Records echo chamber and adds to the music's blue-collar charm.