Tuckers Troubadours, at BJ’s Creekside Pub, Saturday December 15, 7:30 pm.
They (Larry Tucker – bass ukelele; Doug Simpson – rhythm guitar; Dave Carlson – mandolin & Bud Decose – lead guitar) probably just think of themselves as a bunch of guys playing country music. I suggest they are a little more than that. Certainly they are a long step away from the tinsel sounds of Nashville and much closer to that sub-genre known as Western Swing. It is a style of music that came out of the American South West in the 1930s and went onto to influence Rockabilly and early Rock and Roll. As a style it still flourishes in the nooks and crannies of real country music. The music was the hall mark of such luminaries as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Asleep at the Wheel and Canada’s own Prairie Oyster. Although there is no fiddle in the band the feel of the music is true to the old Western Swing style. Larry Tucker’s bass ukelele and Doug Simpson’s ever so light swinging rhythm guitar is a rock solid foundation for Dave Carlson’s additional rhythmic thrusts and mandolin leads and Bud Decose’s forays on a beautiful Eastman Arch-top guitar. Now about that bass ukelele. There is a rumor that Larry is getting so old that he can no longer heft the 35lb solid body bass guitar for a full evening. There is another rumor that Doug Simpson has survived some near death experiences when Larry has inadvertently wacked him in the head with the long neck of the bass guitar. Enough was enough and it was time for a change. And, despite first impressions, it is possible to get the sounds of an upright bass from a ukelele equipped with thick polyurethane strings. So there you have it; a bass instrument that only weighs a few pounds and is way smaller than bass instruments the size of a small person.
The band has played at BJ’s before and they are a perfect fit for the venue and the usual cadre of respectful patrons that frequents the pub. This is a venue for musicians who don’t like playing bars. For patrons it is an opportunity to hear a bunch of like minded musicians who have played together for many years, have fun, and explore a repertoire that includes The Rose of San Antone (Bob Wills), Foolin’ Around (Buck Owens), Did You Fall in Love With Me? (Prairie Oyster), Lonesome Fugitive (Merle Haggard), Last Kiss (a little early Rock and Roll from Ricky Nelson), Sea of Heartbreak (Don Gibson), Don’t Get Around Much Any More (Bud Decose’s exploration of the Duke Ellington Jazz Classic) and Dave Carlson’s favorite, Kate Wolfe’s The Great Divide.The band even throws in a Carribean / Brazilian flavored piece with an impossible name that I chose to abbreviate to Aqua Velva. There you have it. A cozy venue, good food, appropriate refreshment and some laid back Western Swing. What more could one want on a snowy December night?