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Porter, Mapache, The Peyote Brothers, Gethen Jenkins & The Freightshakers At The Grand Ole Echo, Sunday April 17th 2016

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I don’t know if I am gonna end like most of these people and spend all my Sunday afternoons at the Grand Ole Echo, but it’s not a bad idea! It looks like I see more or less the same faces each time I go there, which gives a very familial atmosphere to the event. In any case, this is the place to go if you appreciate country music, and I am talking about the real deal, the honky tonk wild kind, not the dumb nonsense that passes for country these days.

On Sunday, the Peyote Brothers gave the crowd a good time while playing a series of very dynamic honky-tonk tunes on the porch of the club, first going all George Strait on us with bright and powerhouse vocals, then having a few very long songs, stretching into bluesy instrumental solos. They were a bit unruly and totally politically incorrect with a bassist smoking cigarettes while playing.

The band simply called Porter was a great surprise and the wild bunch had a vibrant loud and rocking sound,bringing pounding drums hit by a guy who could have played in a metal band and a very western wolf-dream-catcher emblem. They were almost fuzzy-psychedelic at times with an explosive tempo, or more honky-tonk with foot tapping harmonies. Their energy was very communicative and their big sound was amplified by keys, pedal steel and an acrobatic bassist holding his instrument like a gun and making contortions with sexy leggy moves. They had a few sad tunes but their set was mostly played with a bluesy Texas swag while you could almost see the trucker hats pointing with pride during a few of their songs. They have a new record this fall and it should be interesting.

Mapache was a very different trip, a folksy bluegrass trip with a duo singing very close harmonies as if they wanted to reunite with Crosby Stills and Nash. It was harmony galore, like the Milk Carton Kids do it, just two guitars and two perfectly harmonized voices singing about love and California landscapes and a touch of nostalgia. There were a few guitar prowesses in the middle of their Laurel Canyon vibe, they also sang a few traditional songs and even one in Spanish, with the same sweetness and melancholia in the voices

It was back to honky-tonk with Gethen Jenkins and the Freightshakers and their whipped tempo and good ole country style. These guys may have been from Orange County but they looked like mountains with huge beards and a frontman singing in a cavernous whiskey-soaked voice,… I even think they were singing about mountains in a song which seemed to be coming straight from that Kris Kristofferson Convoy movie. They covered Merle Haggard’s ‘Set Me Free’, had a few languid songs, but their style was mostly outlaw dirty-number country with pedal steel and upright bass. A few glasses of liquor were brought to them during their set, at the top of the beers already on the table. Only their physiques were a trip to the Rocky Mountains and their badass music was certainly the type to carry the torch left by country myths and legends.

More pictures here.


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The Peyote Brothers

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Gethen Jenkins and the Freightshakers

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