I’m selective in my rockabilly/psychobilly choices.
The genre shares an unfortunate quality with modern country, where different people sound alike. Modern country has always appeared to be made up of five session bands and a rotating cavalcade of singers, producing different songs with different vocals but ultimately, sounding the same. It’s dull. There’s no real act that stands out.
Same goes with psychobilly or rockabilly. When you toss an upright bass into the mix, a band has to fight extra hard to avoid sounding like any other band. There are some cases that it works, in which case, these bands are to be treasured.
(same can be said about surf, punk or any genre, I suppose.)
“Do you guys like Hank Williams?” asked King Sickabilly, aka Sasquatch of Sasquatch and the Sick-a-billys during his one-man-band performance back in May. I talked about seeing him when I went to catch Deadbolt in Providence, Rhode Island. “Not Hank Williams Jr.,” King said with disdain, following with an even more sardonic, “I FIGURE Y’ALL LIKE HANK THE THIRD?”
I think this statement sums up both King Sickabilly and Sasquatch and the Sick-a-billys, as players who are more in tune with the outlaw country sense than in the current psycho-nostalgia country vibe.
King Sickabilly is about five hundred pounds of raw personality condensed into one man, given a guitar and put up on stage with people he, most likely, wouldn’t hang out with if given the choice. He’s doing something he loves and it’s clear in that while watching him live or listening to any of the recordings he has made as a solo act or with a band.
I think too many psycho/rockabilly acts rely on the upright bass as a driving instrument, as the novelty of the object somehow requires that it takes center stage. Listening to any Sasquatch songs and it’s clear that the fullbody guitar King plays is on par if not important to the sound. I think the parity achieved in balancing out the bass, the guitar and the drums makes the sound stand out.
The new solo work incorporates a drum but it’s mainly King and his guitar, which is a good combination since his voice is strong enough to carry what normally a bass and richer drum section would. It’s highly recommended that you pick up anything you can by this band and its members. If they get back together, I’ll put some effort into seeing them and not miss out like I have in the past.