If rockabilly, Buddy Holly and early Elvis is your bag, then the Reverend Horton Heat is your man.
If the good Reverend was born several decades earlier instead of celebrating his 25th anniversary of touring, recording and playing, then Jim Heath (the Rev’s real name) would be mentioned in the same breath as 1950’s guitar icons Scotty Moore and Duane Eddy because the man can really play the guitar.
The Reverend Horton Heat’s stop-over at Northern Lights last Saturday was in support of his latest album, “Laughing & Crying,” as well as a celebration of his quarter century on the scene.
During the mid-’90s swing revival, Reverend Horton Heat found a new audience ready to bop onto the dance floor and listen to his country western, swing-leaning tunes. After all, he is from Texas. And everything in Texas starts and ends with country & western music.
The Reverend and his long-time band mates – upright bassist Jimbo Wallace and drummer Paul Simmons – captured a time (the 1950s and early 60s) and a place (Clifton Park) with their music, intensity and the Reverend’s amazing guitar pyrotechnics.
For those in the know, the Reverend’s set was a treat. For those out of the loop, well, you’ll have to catch him when he comes around again. And rest assured, he will be back. The good folks of Step Up Presents have been bringing him back for years.
Local favorites Slick Fitty opened the show with a spirited set, but it was the Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band that caught the attention of many in the audience. Not only is the man big and bearded himself, but he can play a lick or two on his guitar. And sing up a storm to boot.
Payton’s wife Breezy plays a mean washboard, and his son Jayme is no slouch behind the drums. Their particular brand of blues and roots music got the audience up on their feet and shouting for more in no time at all.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk