It figures that some of the best rockabilly music since the genre's revival back in the '80s comes courtesy of a dude who's one-third responsible for that renaissance. More than two decades after the Stray Cats laid down the rules of retro-rock, stand-up bass boss Lee Rocker still plays, sings, and writes as if the fate of the old-school sound rides squarely on his shoulders. The Long Island-bred, classically trained Rocker beats out deftly crafted tales of bad boys, badder girls, and speed demons with power and in-your-face urgency that rarely sounds nostalgic. Backed by a band that fires on every single cylinder, the man lets everyone within earshot know that there's more to this stuff than just tattoos and pompadours.
The recently released Black Cat Bone features a few solid ballads, an unexpected protest song, and a solo bass track. But the real blast comes courtesy of Rocker's first-rate rockabilly-noir. The leadoff track, "Gone," and his revved-up cover of "Lost Highway" (made famous by Hank Williams) are gems of both darkness and desperation. The Stray Cats set the retro style in the '80s. Rocker's badass band — drummer Jimmy Sage and guitarists Buzz Campbell and Brophy Dale — passionately carries that torch two decades on.