Jo Serrapere and The LaFawndas, with their friends, the Whiskey Charmers, fill the Blind Pig with Country Noir and Western Swing.
Jo Serrapere and The LaFawndas at The Blind Pig
I typically think of the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor as a rock club or at least a pop music venue. It is with great delight that tonight it would become the home for sweet old school country western with a touch of gothic gypsy spellbinding thanks to Jo Serrapere and The LaFawndas along with The Whiskey Charmers.
The Whiskey Charmers
The gothic western wonders known as the Whiskey Charmers started the night off right. This band is one of the most unique bands around with their Americana roots tinted desert gold. The soul of their sound comes from the imaginative duo Carrie Shepard (vocals, guitar) and Lawrence Daversa (guitar, lap steel). While I love what they can do as a duo, they shine with bass and drums. Joining them tonight is Ozzie Andrews (bass) and Stu Tucker (drums)
The Whiskey Charmers touched on songs from their three albums, including my favorites, “Crossfire” and “Super 8” off the Lost on the Range album. Carrie’s lyrical voice sounded majestic and strong. The band format allowed Lawrence to open it up on the guitar with fiery picking and bends. The Whiskey Charmers have a new album coming out this fall and included new tunes called “Water” and “Mean Streak,” which are true to their sound. Keep an eye on the Whiskey Charmer’s Facebook page as they are busy crisscrossing the state to bring you music.
Jo Serrapere and The LaFawndas
My first listening experience with Jo Serrapere was at the Johnny Cash Tribute at the DIA in early 2020 (before the world flipped upside down). She was wonderful, and her voice reminded me of June Carter, Loretta Lynn, and Gillian Welch. Getting a chance to hear her again with her band, The LaFawndas at the Pig, was fantastic.
The LaFawndas are Stu Tucker (drums – pulling double duty tonight), John Devine (guitar, vocals), Lindsay McCaw (fiddle, vocals), Jason Oberliesen (bass), and Joel Jackson (pedal steel). Side note: You may recognize Jason and Joel as they also play with Phil Profit and His Fast Fortunes. I think Jason is in like 300 bands in Detroit at this point.
Jo Serrapere and The LaFawndas beautifully played original music crafted in western swing. Stu and Jason kept the backbeat smooth and steady. John and Joel add tasty fills, licks, and riffs on guitar and pedal steel. Lindsay’s rose petal voice and fiddle would set our minds free. Meanwhile, Jo would free our hearts with her warm and ardent vocals as she kept the rhythm on acoustic guitar.
The bulk of their set included some marvelous originals, such as the django gypsy of “Gotham Hotel.” I learned thanks to Jo was a black-owned hotel in Detroit that once served such greats as Duke Ellington. The hotel was sadly demolished in 1964. Another marvelous tune is the folksy country love song “Hey Merle.” I learned while writing this that an incident inspires the song with Jo and her bird named Merle.
Jo Serrapere and The LaFawndas rounded out their set with a few choice covers, including “Big City” by Merle Haggard, “Dry Town” by Gillian Welch, and a Lefty Frizzell tune (whose name escapes me). All in all, a great music set and a fine night of country music at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.
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