Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun in Atlanta

Posted By on Sat, Sep 19, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Ever since Bill Kirchen’s early days as lead guitarist and one of the vocalists in Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, his trademark has been trucking songs. Long a staple of late night country radio stations, trucking tunes tell the tales of America’s last cowboys and pioneers, the men and women who deliver the goods over the superslabs, navigating rough roads all day and night and protecting the lives of careless drivers.

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$20. 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20. Serve-Right Warehouse, 236 Marray Drive Atlanta, GA 30341. 404-983-8281. Call for reservations.

This sub-genre of country music has become so identified with Kirchen that he's referred to as the “dieselbilly king.” In addition to fronting his own band, Kirchen is a respected sideman who has worked with Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris over the years. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan but currently residing in Maryland, Kirchen is considered one of the finest twang guitarists in the world, and may be best known for his elaborate extended version of the classic “Hot Rod Lincoln,” wherein he extends the tune to almost 15 minutes by mimicking the signature guitar licks of dozens of his peers.

You'll hear some Buck Owens, Johnny Rivers, the Beatles, the Kings (B.B., Albert, Freddie and a few other surprises), and even the Sex Pistols. The gimmick is always entertaining, but the real display of skill comes when Kirchen does his own material and the classic covers from folks like Red Sovine, Johnny Paycheck and Del Reeves. From cry in your beer honkty tonk ballads to rockabilly rave ups, Kirchen can play just about any style of music. But, luckily for us, he chooses the twang.

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