New twang bands are taking root all over the Bay Area: The Better Haves, Christopher Ford Band, Miss Lonely Hearts, The Muddy Roses, Barbwyre, Texas Steve & the Tornados and the Bravados are the latest additions to the Bay Area’s hillbilly and rockabilly brigades. Some bands are coming some going, and some can be heard on KALX, 7/31.
The Better Haves, 2/3 of whom are pictured, chose their name to make merry of the fact that there are two married couples in the band. Hammerin’ Hank Maninger (Stompy Jones) and Lynn Maes have teamed up with Greg Yanito (B-Stars) and Ann Arnhym (Sweet ‘n’ Lo’s), plus Les James (Red Meat) and David Phillips (A-to-Z), to play some ’60s honky-tonkin’ music with purdy gals an’ ever’thang. In case the news hasn’t reached you, Hammerin’ Hank is the new front man for Stompy Jones, a hard-working swing band that plays 18-22 dates each month. He had to quit 7-8 other bands to join Stompy and the Better Haves are the only side band he kept because, well, a busy musician still needs quality time with the missis.
The Christopher Ford Band is an arm of Christopher Ford Enterprises (see story), and it was one of the side-bands that Hammerin’ Hank had to vacate. CFB has been around for a very long time as a blues band. Looking for a change, Ford switched to country in 2011. These days his band, which plays 4-8:00 every second and fourth Thursdays at the Saloon in North Beach, provides a mix of blues and country because he needs his old material to fill out three long sets. Here’s his twang version of Depeche Mode’s “Your Own Personal Jesus.”
Miss Lonely Hearts (picture) is sure to turn up with the Brothers Comatose on a bill somewhere, since like them, MLH writes most of its own material and favors a West Coast alt-country style that traces back to Gram Parsons. The Muddy Roses’ front line features twin lead guitars and a three-strong wall of women belting out the tunes. Barbwyre, which hails from the North Bay, has been around awhile, first as an acoustic duo and more recently as an electric four-piece country band.
The Rumble Strippers and Patsychords (pictured) have had a few lineup changes not uncommon to new bands, but they’ve been going strong since their 2011 risings which include some members of the late, great Mighty Slim Pickins. Former MSP Nettie Hammar, meanwhile, has been working on some tunes with Carlo DiLiso (Charlie Roman and the Teenage Werewolves). Some of her North Bay friends from the late Quarter Mile Combo, Buckshot Boys and the even later Hopped Up! have been rumored to be starting a couple of bands to look forward to, and HWS is staying tune for more on them. Texas Steve is back after a few years in SoCal, this time with a new group called Texas Steve and the Tornados, which has a CD coming out in August. The Bravados are a collaboration between Joanna DeJarnett (Kitchen Fire) and Ted O’Connell (GoldDiggers). DeJarnett left Kitchen Fire about four years ago but her country fire still burns, as does O’Connell‘s. During that time, the GoldDiggers turned to indy rock, so the Bravados are their hillbilly reclamation project.
The Golden West Trio with Miss Kay Marie (pictured) has been doing so well in the Bay Area that they are making plans to move here from their Reno home base. Jenny Lynn and her Real Gome Daddies out of Dixon also play the Bay Area, but not enough to move. Chase Christie‘s band, the Whisky Richards, may or may not reconfigure themselves. Their fiddler Katy Rexford has wandered off to Hawaii and whether she returns, or the band reassembles under another name is TBD. And we all know how a newborn can change a band’s trojectory, and so it has for Hang Jones which is on paternity leave.
All this band news has inspid a makeover of the Hicks with Sticks Bands page, which features an index that makes the 51 main bands on it bands easier to locate, band bios, links to eack band’s site, and links to video clips. A good portion of the new bands and 2011 favorites will be coming together at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, July 31st on KALX when HWS will be bringing local twang to the radio.