We’re looking forward to welcoming you back to Southampton. it’s a long way from texas though,what’s it like touring around the world?
This is the first time in a long while that we will be touring the UK in the springtime and we are excited to see all the blossoms and blue sky. Our audiences in the UK have been especially enthusiastic and loyal and that’s why we come back. Of course, playing villages in Azerbaijan and the Sultanate of Oman is also cool, but the UK is exotic and exciting in its own way, and has always deeply appreciated what we do.
Your music is described as Western swing, what exactly does that mean?
Western swing is a style of dance music that came up in the American southwest in the 1920s through the 1940s. It’s a combination of traditional folk songs, jazz, blues, standards, and a general mashup of uniquely American musical styles, all blended into a swing rhythm. It features fiddle and guitar and is rustic and elegant, even the sad songs are irrepressibly optimistic.
You’ve been playing together for 15 plus years, how has the band evolved during that time?
We three love to play together and when we do, it’s as if something greater than the sum of us takes hold. We have continued to develop our own sound but never strayed too far from the core of what the band is about-a gritty, swinging, elegant hot trio sound. The satisfaction we collectively get from that is really powerful and it continues to enthrall us (and, hopefully, you too).
You seem to have so much fun on stage, we bet rehearsals are a hoot – any good stories for us?
A band is like a sausage. It may be delicious but don’t ask how it’s made! Any successful band is like a musical marriage in some ways and adding new songs can be a political process. At the same time, every show is different and the audience is often the wild card that can make or break a show or a song. We once played for one person (in Lexington, Kentucky many years ago) and for many thousands at the O2 Arena with Roxy Music, and all kinds of everything in between. When the audience is enjoying the show, that is the most satisfying aspect, and it can liberate and inspire our own playing.
Tell us who your top five swing heroes are…
This year we lost one of our greatest inspirations, Johnny Gimble, who was one of the most influential and inspirational fiddle players of the past century. He continues to inspire us, though, and always will. Whit loves Frank Sinatra and Nat Cole. For fiddling Elana loves Stuff Smith and Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli, and all kinds of vocalists like Mildred Bailey, Kay Starr, Bing Crosby…the list is endless. They were all great innovators, each uniquely expressing themselves in effortless, swinging classiness.
Hot Club of Cowtown perform live at Turner Sims Thursday 14 April