Music » Livewire

Southern Culture on the Skids

With Lords of the Highway and Pussyfoot Girls. Saturday, May 5, at the Beachland.

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For more than two decades now, Southern Culture on the Skids has been tweaking redneck trailer-park stereotypes. Still, singer and guitarist Rick Miller -- an actual denizen of the sticks -- delivers his parodies with love, whether he's skewering the cuisine ("Banana Pudding," "Carve That Possum"), fashion ("Nashville Toupee," "Camel Walk"), or mores ("'69 El Camino," "Dirt Track Date"). No one nails the tragedy of upscale downward mobility better than Miller and company.

But while the wit rules, the real secret to the Skids' survival has always been its underrated musicianship. The rhythm section -- led by wig-wearing bassist May Huff, whose sultry vocals occasionally take the lead -- is tighter than pantyhose two sizes too small (just check out Wanda Jackson's "Funnel of Love," off the band's new covers album, Countrypolitan Favorites).

Miller, however, is the real highlight. His smoking hot licks mix rockabilly and surf twang with greasy rock boogie. His lead is so furious that you half expect him to start duck-walking across the stage.

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