Country Music

The Slapstick, Gonzo Style of Five Modern-Day One-Man Bands

LINCOLN DURHAM Anything goes should have been the catchphrase for one of the most unpredictable one-man bands around, Lincoln Durham. He might throw in occasional odes to girls named Clementine and shed a little ever-loving light, but it definitely isn't in an old-fashioned gospel kind of way. He prefers a more tortured brand of roots rock.

Sure, Durham bangs a bass drum like all the other one-man bands, but he does it while grinding out stomp-rock blues on everything from a tattered-up Gibson to a homemade cigar-box guitar with some empty suitcases, beat-up mandolins, and blown-out harmonicas thrown in.

Durham is the first to admit he's more than slightly obsessed with Tom Waits. Everything Waits does confuses, frightens, intrigues and enlightens him, he says. Add to that a little Son House, Fred McDowell and of course, rooting around in attics for $50 one-stringed abominations (the cheaper the better), and the Durham sound was born.

He wasn't always such a madman on homemade scraps of musical planks, though. Born and bred in Texas and schooled in all things fiddle from a young age, Durham won the Texas State Youth Fiddle Championship at just ten years old. Throughout his teen years he graduated to a blues, folk, and roots phase, gradually creeping toward the serenading stomp-rock of the electric guitar that landed him smack dab on Ray Wylie Hubbard's radar. Hubbard twisted knobs for Durham's latest CD, The Shovels vs. The Howling Bones.

Durham dust-stomps his way across Conroe's Red Brick Tavern 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22.

JOHNNY JAILBIRD AND HIS MISDEMEANOR Johnny Janot can be found on any given night slinging ink at Santa Fe Tattoo Parlor in Beaumont. You will recognize him instantly by his waxed handlebar mustache. The good citizens of Beaumont also know him as Johnny Jailbird, where on any other given night he can be found clad in an orange prison jumpsuit, strumming a shiny axe and commencing to beat the hell out of a big-ass silver bass drum with a big-ass Edelbrock sticker affixed to it.

He's a self-taught student of what he likes to call the "jailbird style," a shaka-shaka big beat backed by a raspy voice that comes screaming through a homemade telephone mike. At live shows he might even break out a shank or throw Ramen noodles at the crowd, prison style.

It's telling that his dad is none other then Johnny Janot Sr., the late, great king of Louisiana rockabilly, where booze, blues and barking dogs rule. Get ready for intense non-stop bluesy rock with a little son-of-a-gun and I'll-be-damned thrown in at a number of local Beaumont watering holes. He's a regular at Thirsty's Cocktails, Tequila Rok and Okie Dokies. Tattoos cost extra.

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Sonya Harvey
Contact: Sonya Harvey