Music » Livewire

Th' Legendary Shack Shakers

With Hayshaker Jones. Wednesday, July 7, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


A Halloween joy ride through the rockabilly side of town, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers conjure a backwoods boogie that recalls Southern Culture on the Skids and the Cramps, but with a hip-loose, wild-eyed, blues-inflected fervor that's all their own.

The fun starts with lead singer J.D. Wilkes, whose spectacular mouth-harp theatrics and horror-movie vocals key the sound, leading the Shack Shakers through a mixture of hopped-up bluegrass, swamp rock, and rabid trailer-park country with comedic panache that channels the rumbling basso and freewheeling spirit of the Beat Farmers' Country Dick Montana. Were it just about Wilkes, the band would be intriguing enough, but he's backed by a crack crew of musicians, whose chops and facility with old-timey country-rock tropes contribute mightily to the high-octane attack.

From the yodeling bluegrass stomp "Clodhopper" to the Appalachian, Tom Waits-style carnival of "Devil's Night Auction" to the punk-fueled rhythm and fuzzbox vocals of the traditional "Bullfrog Blues," the Shakers kick with the fury of a caged Mustang.

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