Music Scene: Jimbo Mathus, Blair Crimmins & The Hookers
By Matthew Godbey | Wednesday, June 20, 2012
He’s a thoroughbred, that Jimbo Mathus from Mississippi, a thoroughbred in the sense of musical genealogy.
Born to a musical father whose family has a long history as musicians and songwriters, Mathus grew up playing the music of his ancestors.
Always one to carry on tradition, Mathus’ father introduced the young James to several instruments at an early age.
Before his 10th birthday, Mathus was playing the mandolin on several of his family’s songs, which had been passed down exclusively through the generations.
After a stint in the Merchant Marines and a period of wandering the country, Mathus settled in North Carolina and devoted himself to music full time.
Mathus built a name for himself with the highly influential swing group Squirrel Nut Zippers before going on to release several solo records in a style he calls “Mississippi Music,” a mixture of blues, soul, country and gospel.
Although he may not be as well-known for his solo work, the collaborations and recordings he has done with other artists are mainly due to the fact that Mathus works with such high-profile artists.
Over the years, Mathus has either performed, written or recorded with Elvis Costello, Buddy Guy and North Mississippi Allstars, but not because his solo work isn’t up to par. In fact, Mathus’ solo work is some of his grittiest and most provoking blues work of all.
He is currently touring in support of his most recent release, “Confederate Buddha” (2011).
Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition will perform Saturday at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with Guilt Ridden Troubadour.
Tickets are $10 at the door or online at Etix.com. Call 571-4343 or go to Charleston pourhouse.com for more information.
Blair Crimmins & The Hookers
Blair Crimmins is a time traveler of sorts. He’s a kind of music preservationist seeking to reintroduce the clamor of vaudeville and the wild glamor of speakeasies and jazz to an audience less aware.
His vision hasn’t gone unchallenged, however, as plenty of people told the Atlanta-based musician that the music of the ’20s and ’30s was dead. Undeterred, Crimmins forged on in an effort to resurrect the overshadowed era, gradually building a fan base around the Southeast through themed and impassioned performances.
A knowledgeable musical historian, Crimmins plays the liveliest music of the dead with such an authentic form that it leaves listeners wondering if they have stumbled upon some obscure, Depression-era, gypsy-jazz recording.
He takes patches of ragtime, blues and jazz and stitches them to the fabric of modern-day bluegrass and Americana.
He creates a sound that echoes the ghosts of its musical past.
Haunting yet advancing, Crimmins brings back the music that helped heal the hearts of a struggling nation at a time when perhaps we could use it once more.
Blair Crimmins & The Hookers’ latest release, “State Hotel,” is available on vinyl or for download, yet another symbol of Crimmins’ detailed straddling of eras past and present.
Blair Crimmins & The Hookers will perform tonight at The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, with the up-and-coming local duo Megan Jean and The KFB.
Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or online Etix.com. Doors open at 9 p.m.
Go to Charlestonpour house.com or call 571-4343 for more information.