Step into a club with a hot rockabilly band on stage and it’s easy to imagine that someone has turned back the clock. The music can transport you right back to those magical nights of 1956 or 1957. The band’s clothes, their haircuts, and the instruments they play look like something that was pulled out of a storage locker that’s been sealed for 55 years.
But modern rockabilly musicians are about more than just revival. They don’t consider themselves to be “oldies” bands. Oldies bands simply regurgitate the hits of a time gone by. There’s no particular originality in that and for the most part creativity on the oldies circuit is more about how well the band can sound like the record. Sure, there’s skill involved and it is fun to see a band that can play all the old hits note for note. But that’s not what modern rockabilly bands are all about. Instead, they are playing a living, breathing form of music that’s always growing and maturing and they’re constantly adding brand new original compositions to the ever-growing rockabilly treasure trove.
Rockabilly musicians and bands are more than just reenactment actors because modern rockabilly is more than an aped reenactment. Sure, most modern rockabilly bands cover a healthy dose of the old songs in their sets, but by and large any truly great modern rockabilly band puts their own spin on the music and adds their own original compositions to the body of rockabilly work. They don’t try to sound like Carl Perkings or Charlie Feathers. Instead, they do a Perkins song and put their own signature sound onto it. This keeps the genre alive and exciting even after nearly 60 years.
In fact, it’s quite amazing how fresh and exhilarating a hot-rocking rockabilly act can be. After a genre has been around for over half a decade, you’d almost think that everything that can be done by a three-piece rockabilly band must surely have been done by now. And just when you think that, you stop in to see a performance that knocks your socks off all over again.
What is it about rockabilly that fosters that kind of excitement? What makes each rockabilly show you see as interesting as the last and makes you look forward with anticipation for the next? I’m convinced that it’s some kind of magic. The same magic that Elvis unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in 1954 is still just as strong today. In fact, it may be even stronger. After all, when the world saw Elvis for the first time, they’d never seen anything or anyone like him. They’d never heard music sung with such amazing and indescribable delivery.
Today’s rockabilly bands don’t have the luxury of that element of surprise. Modern rockabilly bands play to audiences that have been jaded by decades of rock and roll diversity. And yet, the fans still love rockabilly and these new bands. To me that proves that it wasn’t a matter of Elvis just getting lucky and hitting at “the right time.” It was a musical art form that was bursting at its seams waiting to explode upon the scene. It just needed the right catalyst to set the explosion off and Elvis in all his original brilliance was that catalyst.
But the music and the style stood on their own then and they stand on their own now. And that’s why when a good rockabilly band takes the stage even today, it’s easy to get lost and drift back to a time over a half century ago when the music defined a new generation. As the band rocks out–whether to an old cover tune or to one of their original rockabilly numbers–time moves backwards and it takes you with it. And that feeling sticks with you when you leave the concert after the show. It’s the magic that still thrives in rockabilly music.
Buster Fayte is an author and rockabilly musician. He Blogs at “Buster Fayte’s Rockabilly Romp” where he writes about the passion he shares with millions of musicians and fans for rockabilly and oldies music. Buster has written several books including the “Complete Home Music Recording Start Kit”. He writes original songs, sings, and plays both guitar and bass.
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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