Legendary Shack Shakers and Slim Cessna's Auto Club
Legendary Shack Shakers
Nearly twenty-five years into their worldwide crusade, Legendary Shack Shakers have become the leaders in the underground music scene’s “Southern Gothic” sound. Led by their charismatic front man, Col. JD Wilkes, the band continues to wow crowds with their explosive interpretations of swamp blues, rock n' roll and hillbilly music, making fans, critics, and now, an entire new generation into true believers.
Between intermittent hiatuses to work on other projects (including JD's sideshow banner-style artwork for acts like The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Marty Stuart...plus his two published books The Vine That Ate the South and Barn Dances & Jamborees Across Kentucky), the band is constantly re-inventing and re-mobilizing, much to the excitement of many a Shack Shakers fanatic. Despite Wilkes' extracurricular projects, the Shakers' reputation for intense entertainment endures.
On stage, JD has been compared to the likes of Iggy Pop, David Byrne, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The Nashville Scene named Wilkes “the best frontman in Nashville”, while former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra has called JD “the last great Rock and Roll frontman.” Guitar virtuoso, Gary Siperko (Pere Ubu, Rocket from the Tombs, Drivin’ and Cryin’) intones a variety of styles, from delta blues to gypsy jazz, while the rhythm section rounds out with drummer Preston Corn (The Dirt Daubers) and Fuller Condon (Two Man Gentlemen Band) thumping the upright bass.
With nine critically acclaimed studio albums (and songs that have been featured on television shows such as HBO’s True Blood, CBS’s The Unit , Swamp Loggers, and movies like Julia Roberts’ Duplicity), the band shows no sign of stopping. Past tour mates and fans include Sturgill Simpson, Reverend Horton Heat, Rancid, The Black Keys, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and Hank Williams III. Robert Plant is also a noted Legendary Shack Shakers fan, and picked the band to open for him on his “Strange Sensation” tour of Europe. Plant named the band's third album Believe as one of his favorite records, and the list of esteemed admirers goes on to include horror novelist Stephen King. King listed “CB Song” as among his iPod’s Top Five in an Entertainment Weekly article.
Such a wealth of devoted, cult-like fans has only added to the mystique that the Legendary Shack Shakers possess, carrying them down the road toward new creative pursuits and intense new music and ideas.
SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB
Wallace Stenger may have captured the spirit of the west in his 1971 novel Angle of Repose.
Jim Thompson surely exposed the lurid underbelly of the Western experience. Cormac
McCarthy definitely evoked the conflicted, tortured spirit of small town life on the frontier.
William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor informed all of them with a humor and soulfulness. It
is that literary tradition that imbues the harrowing and celebratory sound and riveting stories of
Slim Cessnas Auto Club. Throughout its long and illustrious history, it is largely in that realm of
art that the Auto Club reveled and garnered a loyal cult following well beyond the boundaries of
The Queen City of the Plains.
Slim Cessnas Auto Club was originally formed in 1992 in Denver, Colorado by its namesake
after he parted ways with The Denver Gentlemen, that grand progenitor of the peculiar strain of
Gothic Americana unique to the Mile High City that also featured Jeffrey-Paul and David
Eugene Edwards who’d go on to form 16 Horsepower, the latter then founding Wovenhand.
Slim’s longest running collaborators in the Auto Club have been Munly Munly and Lord Dwight
Pentacost who’ve contributed both material and affected the ensemble’s stylistic vision. More
recently there’ve been greater creative contributions from longtime collaborator Rebecca Vera,
drummer Andrew Warner and now the inclusion of Slim’s son George Cessna on bass.
In 2016, the band released it’s most current album after a five-year hiatus The
Commandments According to SCAC. The album encompassed both the heady darkness and
celebratory intensity with which the group made its name. That charmingly dusky and spare
sound breathed with a new color and delicacy of feeling that perhaps sat in the background in
times past . The Commandments According to SCAC, was the first full length album of original
material released on the Auto Clubs own imprint, SCACUNINCORPORATED. The title evokes
the themes of cosmic punishment and redemption that have served the bands songwriting engine
so well in the past. But this set of songs sounds more hopeful and expansive, a quality that was
always there but this time out the brighter sides of the songwriting are emphasized. Hints of this
saw early full-flown expression on 2008s Cipher and Unentitled from 2011. With The
Commandments, however, the Auto Club seems to step forward into the promise of its own
possibilities. It remains capable of the heady darkness and celebratory intensity with which it
made its name. Now that charmingly dusky and spare sound breathes with a color and delicacy
of feeling that perhaps sat in the background in times past. Maybe it's partly due to the greater
creative contributions from longtime collaborator Rebecca Vera; the core of the bands
songwriting and sound has always been anchored firmly in the vision of Slim, Munly Munly and
Lord Dwight Pentacost.
Slim Cessnas Auto Club also re-released their fourth album Cipher on June 2, 2018. This
re-issue will be a double vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve. Originally released in 2008, Cipher is the
most cohesive SCAC album but also the most mysterious. Cipher is a deliberate puzzle loaded
with coded language. The idea that braces are used to straighten crooked humanity provides a
structure, but this code rewards effort to unpack the many messages it contains; many more
relevant now than ever. Compared to its predecessors, this set of songs sounds more hopeful and
expansive, a quality that was always there but this time out the brighter sides of the songwriting
When you get to see the Auto Club live, youll see an already mighty band reinvigorated by a
new spirit of excitement as well as by the fire that has long burned in its collective belly.
Saturday, February 13th, $25ADV/$30DOS