Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
This is the twelfth of 12 installments reviewing nominees in each category of Dale Watson’s 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards. Voting is now over for this year’s batch of nominees but we will carry on with the review until the event on February 15, 2017 with a look today at this year’s Honky Tonk Group nominees.
The Country Side Of Harmonica Sam is a true old timey honky tonk band that, like a time machine, transports you back to a Texas dance hall in 1955. This timeless music is not dated at all and completely relevant and sounds as perfect in 2017 as it would have 50 or 60 years ago. Harmonica Sam;s vocals are brilliant and are perfectly suited to the musical backdrop created by the rest of the band.
Gary P Nunn And The Bunkhouse Band is barnstorming through Texas, spreading their timeless brand of classic country and honky tonk music. The frontman, Gary P Nunn has an illustrious 40 year career of making music in Texas and throughout the country. Gary has played with Austin stalwarts Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Michael Murphey.
If you close your eyes and listen to Jake Hooker And The Outsiders, you will not be able to tell which decade you are in. That is because the 40 year old Jake Hooker has taken on the persona of a real vintage honky tonk band leader in the style of Ray Price, Johnny Bush, Farron Young, Curtis Potter, Leon Rausch and Darrell McCall. These guys are crowd favorites in Fort Worth, where they hang their hats.
The brothers known as The Cactus Blossoms have a sound that is closer connected to The Everly Brothers or Buddy Holly And The Crickets than the honky tonk artists such as Ray Price and Farron Young. Although their sound is a bit different, these Minnesota brothers are a force to be reckoned with. Their ability to deliver pitch perfect harmonies rivals the greats.
Christopher and Taylor Malpass make up the duo named The Malpass Brothers. Both brothers were musical prodigies, excelling at their respective instruments at a very young age. Today, they promote the work and music of classic country artists they treasure while creating new music and making their own mark in the lineage of a rich American cultural heritage. For two young men in their 20s, it is amazing that they have the discipline and ability to excel in this style of music.
All of the contenders in the Honky Tonk Group category are heavy weights and bring their own unique approach and interpretation to classic country and honky tonk.