Friday, June 22nd, 2018
$15 / ALL AGES / TAVERN
J.D. Wilkes and The Legendary Shack Shakers Unplugged with special guest Chuck Mead
The Legendary Shack Shakers’ hell-for-leather roadshow has earned quite a name for itself with its unique brand of Southern Gothic and swampy "hillbilly blues" that is all-at-once irreverent, lyrical, dangerous, and fun. Led by their charismatic, rail-thin frontman and blues-harpist JD Wilkes, the Shack Shakers are a four-man wrecking crew from the South whose explosive interpretations of swamp blues, rock n' roll and hillbilly music have made fans, critics and legions of potential converts into true believers.
Between intermittent hiatuses to work on other projects (including JD's sideshow banner-style artwork for acts like The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Marty Stuart...plus his two published books The Vine That Ate the South and Barn Dances & Jamborees Across Kentucky), the band is constantly re-mobilizing, much to the excitement of many a Shack Shakers fanatic. Despite Wilkes' extracurricular projects, the band's reputation for intense entertainment has stuck with them.
On stage, JD has been compared to the likes of Iggy Pop, David Byrne, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The Nashville Scene named Wilkes “the best frontman in Nashville”, while former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra has called JD “the last great Rock and Roll frontman.” Having joined the band in early 2012, guitarist Rod Hamdallah provides the garage-y blues stylings to their last two releases, while the rhythm section is rounded out by Preston Corn on drums and Fuller Condon thumping the upright bass.
Although not necessarily "legendary" upon being named, the band has grown into its reputation the last several years due to their heavy tour schedule, seven critically acclaimed studio albums, and songs that have been featured on television shows such as HBO’s True Blood and Swamp Loggers. Past tour mates and fans include Reverend Horton Heat, Rancid, The Black Keys, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and Hank Williams III. Robert Plant is also a noted Legendary Shack Shakers fan, and picked the band to open for him on his 2005 tour of Europe. Plant named the band's third album Believe as one of his favorite records of 2005. The list of esteemed admirers goes on to include horror novelist Stephen King, who listed “CB Song” as among his iPod’s Top Five in a 2008 Entertainment Weekly article. Such a wealth of devoted, cult like fans over the years has only added to the mystique that the Legendary Shack Shakers possess, carrying them down the road toward new creative pursuits and riotous tunes.
For the past twenty years, Chuck Mead has been at the forefront of what has come to be known as Americana Music. Raised in Lawrence, Kansas, Chuck has been a professional musician since the age of 13 playing in his parents country band and then leading several roots rock outfits in the midwest most notably the Homestead Grays. He landed on Nashville’s Lower Broadway in 1993 where he co-founded the famed ‘90s Alternative Country quintet BR5-49. The band’s seven albums, three Grammy nominations and the Country Music Association Award for Best Overseas Touring Act of 1997 built an indelible bridge between authentic American Roots music and millions of fans worldwide. Chuck has also co-produced popular tribute albums to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, guest-lectured at Vanderbilt University, and became a staff writer at one of Nashville’s top song publishers. In 2008, he was the Musical Director/Supervisor for the Broadway/West End musical Million Dollar Quartet (which broke the record in Chicago for longest-running musical) and acted in the same capacity for the CMT television show Sun Records producing all the re-recordings of classic rock n roll, country, and blues. He has released three solo works starting in 2009 with his acclaimed solo debut album, Journeyman’s Wager on the Grassy Knoll Records label, and continues tour clubs, concert halls and international Rock, Country and Rockabilly festivals with his band The Grassy Knoll Boys.
Chuck’s acclaimed 2012 release, Back At The Quonset Hut (Ramseur Records), was recorded at Nashville’s legendary Quonset Hut Studio where Patsy Cline, George Jones, Merle Haggard Roger Miller, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and more cut some of country music’s greatest tracks. Produced by original BR549 producer Mike Janas and with the participation of students from Belmont University’s College of Entertainment and Music Business, the album of classic covers features surviving members of Music Row’s original ‘A Team’ studio musicians Bob Moore, Harold Bradley, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and Buddy Spicher as well as guest appearances by Old Crow Medicine Show, Elizabeth Cook, Jamie Johnson and Bobby Bare.
2014 ushered in Free State Serenade, on Nashville-based Plowboy Records. Produced by long-time ally and friend Joe Pisapia (kd Lang, Ben Folds Five) and featuring BR5-49’s Don Herron, and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Critter Fuqua, Free State Serenade is Chuck Mead’s love letter to his home state of Kansas.