Thursday, March 12, 2009

Black Jake and The Carnies - Where the Heather Don't Grow

Black Jake and The Carnies - Where the Heather Don't Grow
An Americana Daily Review

Billing themselves as the Kings of Crabgrass, Black Jake and The Carnies are part bluegrass, part country, part folk, part hillbilly, part punk (cowpunk)and part post-modern wandering minstrel show.

Put all the parts together and you have a party!

Their debut album, Where the Heather Don't Grow is packed full of good-time music about wild-time characters. From the opening cut, Paper Outlaw, about Phineas Philistine Pratt, a phrenologist of note to Crazy McCraedy's Mama McCraedy, a lady some said plum crazy to Jasper Watkins, who apologizes to his victims before doing them in, the entire CD rocks and rolls, hoops and hollers and swings and sways courtesy of The Carnies, a reckless crew of outlaw jug-band gypsies touting fiddles, banjos, mandolins, washboards, accordions, guitars and train whistles.

Hailing from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Black Jake and The Carnies sound like they just crawled out of the Louisiana bayou country and are on their way to a psychedelic camptown revival. They even close out the album with a raucous, irreverent adaptation of Swing Low, Sweet ChariotI looked in the mirror and what did I see, the boys in blue was comin' after me…

If you like your Bluegrass mixed with a little Newgrass check out the Kings of Crabgrass - Black Jake and The Carnies.

March 14 - The Brass Rail - Ft. Wayne, IN

April 9 - The Blind Pig - Ann Arbor, MI

April 10 - Trumbullplex - Detroit, MI

May 9 - Elbow Room - Ypsilanti, MI

June 20 - Trinity House Theater - Livonia, MI

July 17-18 - Beaver Island Music Festival - Beaver Island, MI

Black Jake and The Carnies
Where the Heather Don't Grow
Reviewed for Americana Daily by s j welker

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