Friday, April 28, 2006

In House #1609: Wanda Jackson & The Rubes in Pocatello Tonight

Wanda Jackson makes her first appearance ever in Pocatello tonight, playing the new Jensen Grand Concert Hall on the campus of Idaho St. University. With a career spanning over fifty years now, Jackson has seen and done it all. Beginning in the mid-1950's, she toured with the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly, and it was in fact Presley who encouraged her to move to a more rock & roll sound. Jackson became the first female to record a rock & roll song in 1956. Her career has included several interesting phases and sidebars, including #1 hits in Japan ("Fujiyama Mama"), Germany ("Santo Domingo", sung in German, no less), and Scandinavia. She's been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, and the International Hall of Fame, and is a recent recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship. In short, it's been a rather full career, yet her populartity has perhaps never been greater than in the resurgence she's enjoyed over the last ten years or so.

Her 2003 release, Heart Trouble, was the first U.S. release for Ms. Jackson in 20 years, and featured appearances by Dave Alvin, Rosie Flores, The Cramps, Elvis Costello and others. Her most recent album, I Remember Elvis, is a tribute of sorts to Elvis Presley, her one-time boyfriend and mentor. Her versions of songs like "Mystery Train," "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and "Heartbreak Hotel," among others, are marked by her still electric vocals, as well as a low gloss production that has led more than one review to comment on how "old" the recordings sound. Some would say that there could be no higher compliment.

Wanda with Danny Harvey, the producer and guitarist of her latest album, I Remember Elvis

Opening the show tonight, as well as serving as Wanda Jackson's backing band are The Rubes, who hail from Salt Lake City. Over the course of a handful of visits to Pocatello over the past year or so, the band has shown themselves to be a lively if unlikely concoction of punk, rockabilly, blues and more. They move adeptly between genres, as likely to whip out a rendition of Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill," as they are to turn the punk out from the top of the bar. This is the second stint backing Jackson for the band, folllowing a performance last month in Denver.

The Rubes

In House #1609.
Airdate: 4/28/06
Focus: Wanda Jackson with The Rubes at Idaho St. University in Pocatello tonight, plus new music from Neko Case, Willie Nelson and more.


In House PODCAST #97