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Playing Around: The Electric Rag Band



Two key rules of journalism: Avoid writing in the first person and don't gush. Yes ... consider them broken.

The Electric Rag Band is the coolest band I've heard come through these parts in a long, long time. They play ragtime, through electrified instruments a la Yahoo Serious, and the sound is amazing. All the spirit and sprightliness of old-timey religion, with the twang and road dust of highway rock 'n' roll. Music you can properly hoe yourself down to, without feeling like you're underdressed in anything but bib overalls. Drinking music. Hug-dancing music. Hot-red, sour-cherry, bucket-a'-suds, Sattiddy-night-dance-with-your-girl-in-a-tight-dress music.

A bunch of guys who've been playing together in one form or another since 1987, the ERB hails from Tulsa, Okla. Drummer Johnny Walker, guitarist Pat Cook, bassist Shane Stewart and harp slinger John Boffer are dyed-in-the-wool rootsy, simply reeking of fresh-turned earth and Blind Willie McTell. The music is tight, raucous and intelligent, each modern instrument housing the ghost of a washboard, banjo or jug. Still, with all the moonshine, this band rocks.

The electric guitars lend the stable music an edge that lets it air, leaves it fresh and modern. This is the band's first time through our fair city, and no word on when they'll be back, so be sure to check them out this week when they play the BAC's Volunteer Appreciation party. Nonprofit volunteers get in free -- everybody else pays $4. Call 685-1861.

-- Kristen Sherwood

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