Dust Off Your ol’ Dancin’ Shoes

Category: music 142

The Vaudevillian bring their Ragtime/Jug Band sounds to East Coast ears this week.   

Photo: Colin Marcano

The Vaudevillian know a thing or two about the way things used to be. The Ontario-based trio of Jitterbug James (vocals/acoustic guitar/resonator guitar/carzoobamaphone), Norah Spades (vocals/washboard/sassing) and Piedmont Johnson (vocals/bull fiddle/cowbell) embrace the sounds of days gone by channeling the likes of Memphis Jug Band, Charlie Patton and Jelly Roll Morton with a (slightly) modern twist.

“Ragtime, Jug band & Hokum Blues resonates with us and increasingly more and more with others as the tunes tell a detailed story you just don’t get now a days in popular music,” said Spades. “This music is meant to be visceral in the way of encouraging you to get off your damn caboose and do the Lindy Hop! Have you seen dances such as the charleston? They knew how to do it up right and proper back in the 20’s & 30’s!”

Each member of the group discovered their love for old-time music on their own, well before they met each other and decided to take their passion on the road.

“Jitterbug James was given a record player and Lead Belly records from his grandmother when he was a young rascal,” said Spades. “He instantly fell in love with the playing and picked up a guitar and began writing his own tunes in that style.

“I grew up in a trailer park, my grandma and gramps were always blaring old gospel tunes on the worn out radio. From time to time a Hokum version would be played by the Gospel singer in their earlier days. Seems as if the disc jockey on air didn’t know the song or that it was recorded before the artist started playing tunes to the Good Lord. I loved those the best… found Lucille Bogan and the rest is history.”

Bassist Piedmont Johnson grew up in North Carolina and lived close to Doc Watson

“He’s just loved older music since he was a kiddo, along with the occasional metal he listens to,” said Spades, “though he’s not allowed to in the band vehicle. It makes James and I nutty!”

The band are currently in the midst of an East Coast tour playing shows in Saint John, Fredericton, St. Andrews, Florenceville, Miramichi and Edmundston. Seek them out and dance the night away!

The Vaudevillian On Tour:

May 24th- Pub Down Under- 7-10 Saint John
May 25th- Living Roots Music Festival – Harvey
May 26th- Living Roots Music Festival – Fredericton
May 27th- Barbershop in Fredericton 11am – The Red Herring Pub 11pm, St. Andrews
May 28th- 2nd Wind Music Center 7:30-9:30, Floranceville
May 31st- Plan B, Moncton 9pm-1am
June 1st- O’Donahues Pub, Miramichi
June 2nd- Le Deck, 10:30-12:30, Edmundston

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