This isn’t my grandfather’s blues. On a night that saw Chris Thomas King perform a hip-hop, spoken-word laced version of the blues standard “The Thrill is Gone,” local musician Mike Roycroft expressed his thoughts on witnessing the new wave of blues created by Betsy Badwater & The Hillbilly Chrome. “After all these years, I think it’s really hard to do the blues without being trite or cliché, but she makes it all her own in such an awesome and literate and thoughtful way. Not only does she add to it with her natural singing voice, but she redefines it with her songwriting voice and a spirit that is all her own.”
With guest artists joining the Betsy Badwater & The Hillbilly Chrome family throughout their set of mostly new material, the Pensacola group set a tone of respect for music tradition while fearlessly sounding the call for creative exploration.
Following Betsy Badwater & The Hillbilly Chrome and making his return visit to Vinyl Music Hall, Grammy Award winning artist, Chris Thomas King added fresh new twists to a set that featured many tunes from King’s first performance in the Pensacola, Florida venue. This time around, donning a pinstriped suit, King raged with even more fire this night, skillfully weaving solos behind his head and commanding the role of devilish, party instigator of the foot stompin’ good time for every soul in the house.
***A Few Minutes With Lang Hollowman of Betsy Badwater & The Hillbilly Chrome***
TCAS: Who were the guest artists for the show?
LH: We’d definitely like to thank the following for the inspiration they have on ‘their’ songs played this night: Joey & Lavinia ‘One Love’ Harrison, Jeff Glickman (percussion/harmonica), Brian Vogel (trumpet), & Mr. Virgil T. Badwater (oil drum & tambourine).
TCAS: You played quite a few songs I haven’t heard before. What is the story behind the material you played?
LH: Yes, most of the show was new songs…mainly because that’s what we’re into right now. The songs seem to be writing themselves, but its hard work to get them to reveal them to us. We’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of time as just the two of us writing and playing vocally and instrumentally, and some good inspiration mixing in with everyone else in the ‘Chrome’…that just sets up a good cookin’ recipe to write ‘This Way To Glory’, ‘A Letter from John’, ‘Engine No. 9’, ‘Headed on Down the Highway’, ‘Left Hand Side’, ‘Dear Delilah’, and several others that we’re in the midst of recording right now.
TCAS: Any shows or announcements you’d like to promote?
LH: Presently we’re just focused on recording now to get through what may end up being a double album in the end. This must really be our only focus. We’re really aiming for a great production quality through the collaboration with our favorite sound designer, friend, and engineer ‘Disco’.
TCAS: Anything you would like to add?
LH: The opportunity and pleasure to share a night with a legend like Chris Thomas King, is one of only a few reasons why we share what we do with our friends (audience). Our audience, we know are our friends, and to be able to step into the audience and watch our musical favorites…well, that’s why shows are such special & humbling evenings to us. And to close, hangin’ after the night was finished at the 5 1/2 Bar with all of CTK. Patrick took care of us all, so see him as much as you can. We can’t help but to feel at home chasin’ the sun up one more time.