McClurg Jam

McClurg Jam

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Wilders

I have put off posting about them for a long time. The reason was, I had been mightily disappointed when they took after Split Lip Rayfield, another local band who played the most awful kind of music. While reviewers and others seem to give them good write ups, I could only stand so much before leaving the concert. Thank God it was free. I have to hope they have quit this imitation and moved on. They still did mostly play the same old tunes as before so all was not lost.
I have not seen or heard them in a couple three years now.

The Wilders have previous to this shift, been one of my favorite bands of all time and place or genre. They play straight ahead Old Time, Bluegrass, Honky Tonk Hank Williams type Country and do it with rare skill and zest. Having seen them in concert several times now, I am always left feeling like I was really lucky to have been able to witness something special.

If you have not listened to them or attended a concert by them, you are missing the best of what our area can offer musically, in our kind of music.

This past year Betse Ellis, their fiddler originally from Arkansas who has lived here for many years now, released a solo fiddling album and it's a pretty fair assortment of good tunes played well. I gave it a slightly less than positive review because it fell short of what I have seen her do in live performances.
Betse is a fantastic fiddler who has a rare stage presence and force that will excite you like few others will. Her album fell a little short of that but I do want to tilt the scale a bit more positively in it's favor and she is to be praised for her efforts in adding yet another sound member to the Ozark fiddling edifice.
That album is "Don't you want to go"

Ike Sheldon is the front man who does most of the singing and seems to be channeling Hank Williams in a way that spooks you. It's not simple imitation. It really is a kind of authentic emergence of a force of music that demands to be released.

The rest of the band are all very fine sidemen who do journeymans work in providing the vocal and instrumental backup.

They used to play at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield ks pretty much every year. When they do, they own the place. That's says a lot given the level of talent that is present there during any year.

So, I am finally mentioning them after all these months because there actually are people that I meet at jams that have never heard of them.
If your one of those, stop by their website and give a listen to their music and be ready to get excited. Stop by Youtube and watch them. That's the best. They are a live band that must be seen live to appreciate them.

They are mostly in Europe this year so don't expect to see them her abouts any time soon.

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