Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 4 Reviews

Hot Club of Cowtown
Saturday, Oct 2, 12:20pm
Arrow Stage
Reviewed by Dan Olmsted

From Austin, Texas comes this feisty trio of Elana Fremarman on violin, Whit Smith on electric guitar, and Jake Irwin playing the stand-up bass. Flew in, played the set, flew back out again. But meanwhile they energized the crowd in front of the Arrow Stage with a varied set of tunes that pay tribute to the likes of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Stefan Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Cab Calloway too. Jumpy, 1930's, 'straight-eight' swing jazz is their home turf, taking solos around a trio of woody violin, snapping string bass, and Jake's archtop guitar growling out of an old amp that looked like a suitcase with a big hole cut in the front.

And their instrumental acrobatics really got the crowd going. "Hangin' on for dear life!" joked Jake after a tune that got him a biig cheer. Elana charmed us with her urbane singing charms, then ripped out a solo of bendy double-stops, then resumed:

"You're a chameleon/and I'm waiting for the change..."

Their jazzy sound and natty dress speak to an earlier era. But Hot Club's musical inventiveness puts a fresh spin on all of this. After the set, and a big cheer from the crowd they stayed long enough to chat, and get people interested in CDs like "Ghost Train," and "Continental Stomp". Then it was back on the road. Next up: Willie Nelson's tour.

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