I headed to a local club this past Saturday night to hear the great Junior Brown (www.juniorbrown.com). Brown was fabulous, but just as fabulous was the opening act, The Sac-Town Playboys.
Led by guitarist and vocalist Geoff Miller (Rowdy Kate, Keri Carr Band, Twilight Drifters), the band included Olen Dillingham doubling on fiddle and mandolin; Ray Elzey on pedal steel guitar; Larry Carr on drums; and Zack Sapunor on the slap-happy doghouse bass. Working on just a few days of rehearsal, the Playboys brought to life the spirits of such Western Swing greats as Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, Spade Cooley, the Light Crust Doughboys, and Hank Thompson & The Brazos Valley Boys.
Western Swing may have peaked during WWII, when as many as ten thousand fans — many of them having recently come to California to work in the wartime aircraft and shipbuilding industries — would crowd the Redondo Beach Pier to hear great touring bands. But for those who think Western Swing came and went, it never really “went.” One just has to look a little harder these days.
The Sac-Town Playboys are one group it will be worth looking for. No website yet, but one can only hope that they get together frequently to play this great music around Northern California.