Emotional opposites White and Lenz team up for night of good music
Johnny D's, Somerville, Mass., Aug. 22,1998
SOMERVILLE, MA - Though it may be limited in musical scope, rockabilly is a lively, fun style of music.
And Dallas' Kim Lenz & Her Jaguars did nothing at all to dispel that notion in a very strong hour-plus set Saturday at Johnny D's. Lenz, decked out in a red cowgirl dress and cowboy boots lit into rapid fire songs often mining a relatively narrow musical niche.
The tempo varies little (read fast and furious). The upright bass gets whomped, and the guitar playing - a particular stand out this evening courtesy of Nick Curran, mixes it up with a jazzy, steely sound, adding meat to the songs.
Lenz, who has only been doing rockabilly for four years, proved to be an effective front woman, a rarity in rockabilly, with a strong voice and animated stage presence with an Eveready supply of energy. Before the band struck a note, Lenz said she had the feeling this would be "one of those nights." she wasn't off the mark.
Apparently the word is getting out about Lenz as well as she hit the same venue three months ago and drew a far larger crowd the second time around. Lenz et al got off to a good start with "Gonna Rock & Roll" and never looked back.
The group mainly played songs from the self-titled debut disc, released earlier this year on Hightone. Several new songs ("especially "Fit to be Tied," written just last week) also hit the mark.
This is not music that cuts to the deep of your soul. But that's not the point of rockabilly. it's good time music, making you hit the dance floor.
And on those counts, Lenz et al did quite fine thank you.
Completing the well put together double bill, Joy Lynn White, a full-bodied vocally country singer, opened the evening with a set featuring many new, unrecorded songs. White fared better on the more uptempo numbers (the opener "In This Town" and"Wishful Thinkin'") where she really lets her voice stand out. She possesses superb vocal control and can hang notes easily without oversinging. The problem was that White tended to go for a softer, more laid back sound too often. A few more twists and turns would have helped.
But, like Lenz, White owns the pipes to carry the songs. She breathed the necessary emotions into the songs.
These were not exactly feel good songs either. Almost every single song mined the depths of romantic despair.
Though generally polar opposites on the emotion scale, both White and Lenz teamed up for a fine night of music.