Roots-Rock Heroes Blasters Bring Alameda Good Times – CBS San Francisco
By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Making their unique blend of rockabilly, country, rock and roll, blues and R&B for nearly four decades, roots-rock greats SoCal, the Blasters, brought their indelible sound to East Bay when the band headlines the Tiny Outdoor Concert Series from Towns to Alameda early Saturday night.
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Brothers Phil and Dave Alvin grew up in Downey, California, and developed an early interest in rockabilly, country, and other guitar-oriented roots music. The duo attended performances by six-string heroes such as Chet Atkins and Leo Kottke and their teenagers regularly attended performances by legendary blues singer Big Joe Turner in concert in Los Angeles.
The new group would record their first independent album American music over two days in a living room studio, denigrating a mix of originals and songs by Billy Haley and Jimmie Rogers that blurred the lines between styles of roots music. Along with country / rockabilly-influenced punk group X and Los Lobos, contemporaries of East LA, the Blasters brought a sense of history to the sonorous stew of the Los Angeles scene. The band’s reputation as an incendiary live actor has led to tour dates with acts as diverse as psychobilly icons the Cramps, country heroes Asleep at the Wheel and 70s rock favorites Queen.
The group will sign at Slash / Warner Bros. for their acclaimed self-titled second album in 1981, a record that established the Blasters as one of the best rock groups in the United States. Two other successful records – Non-fiction in 1983 and Hard line two years later – would follow before Dave Alvin left for his own successful solo career. In his absence, a host of famous guitarists would fill his shoes, including X guitarist Billy Zoom, James Intveld and future guitarist Beck Smokey Hormel.
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While Phil Alvin would also dive into solo territory with a pair of albums, the Blasters would remain his primary creative outlet into the ’90s and beyond. The brothers have reunited periodically both in the band they co-founded and for a pair of more recent blues-steeped albums, but the Blasters have toured and recorded with the current lineup with guitarist Keith Wyatt during of the last two decades with 2012 Fun on a saturday night being the most recent effort of the group.
For this show at Alameda in the outdoor space next to the Fireside Lounge presented in partnership with the Ivy Room Saturday, the Blasters will be joined by Nashville Honeymoon, the musical partnership of Hank Maninger (Bonnie Hayes and the Wild Combo, the Hacienda Brothers) and his wife, Lynne Maes, who explores traditional honky tonk.
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Saturday, October 2, 6 p.m. $ 35 – $ 210
Outdoor park by the fire