Lazybirds hatch album release party
In the North Carolina High Country, the jump blues, swing,
country blues and early jazz band of record is the Lazybirds.
On Saturday, Nov. 17, the group is going to host what is billed as a dance party at Boone Saloon in downtown Boone. But the evening will also be an album release celebration for the band as its new album, “American Roots,” is ready for public consumption.
Formed in 1996, the Lazybirds is made up of a group of musicians who came from other places yet met here in the North Carolina mountains. Guitarist and harmonica player Jay Brown and drummer James T. Browne are both from Alabama, bassist Mitchell Johnston is from Charlotte, and guitarist and fiddler Alfred Michels is from Germany.
On “American Roots,” the Lazybirds have recorded music that is diverse in scope, ranging from country blues to up-tempo jazzy fare.
“The album is pretty much a mix of what we play live and music that we’ve done over the years,” Johnston said. “We’ve always been into an eclectic cross-genre selection of music, and that is what we like to listen to, older styles and anything from the old roots of country music, old-time mountain music and Western swing all of the way to blues, jazz and old Harlem jive music and swing.
“And, we get a little more contemporary by listening to a lot of the rhythm and blues from the 1950s, Chuck Berry and even a lot of the Memphis Stax-Volt label recordings.”
On the Lazybirds’ website, there is a taped endorsement of the band recorded by the late and great musician Doc Watson. With Watson having died earlier this year, the group’s time spent with the legend is something they will never forget.
“Doc’s (death) is a loss for music and for the High Country,” Johnston said. “He was nice enough to have us over to his house to get to meet him and (wife) Rosa Lee and (grandson) Richard. And somehow we convinced him to play a few numbers with us, so we did five or six in his living room there, and it was one of the high points of our career.”
When the Lazybirds are hitting their groove and the club patrons are moved to dance, that is when the band is on cloud nine. And that will be the plan for this Saturday night, when the group hits the stage at Boone Saloon.
“It’s the reason we do it, I think,” Johnston said. “It really is something else to actually be able to entertain. When you do see people dancing and grinning from ear to ear and jumping up and down, you get the feeling that they’re not thinking about anything else in the world other than that moment. Just to be able to be a part of a group that can make that happen is really one of the more special things in life.”
The Lazybirds perform at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Boone Saloon, located at 489 W. King St. Cover costs $7. For more information on the Lazybirds and “American Roots,” visit http://lazybirds.net.