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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


The Jimmy Nations Combo
Tarheel Boogie

A young, talented guitarist and songwriter originally from North Carolina, Jimmy Nations has quickly earned a strong rep on the East Coast for his energetic, sweaty and fun live shows, pulling off the neat trick of appealing to two-step boppers and honky-tonk fans in equal measure.


Hear Samples of
Tarheel Boogie

Do You Know
Tarheel Boogie
Hayride To Hong Kong
Getting Ready to Let You Down

(Requires Windows Media)

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Despite the band's vintage threads and cowboy hats, the Jimmy Nations Combo is not traditionalist in the typical hard-drinkin' Nashville mode. Instead, Nations' band tilts toward a lighter touch, notably that of Western swing genius Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys or followers like Asleep at the Wheel. On this debut, Tarheel Boogie (Rubric Records), Nations works with a crew of top New York/North Carolina roots musicians, including Steve Earle, guitarist Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, steel guitarist Skip Krevens, fiddle player Bob Mastro, and producer Byron McKay. The Combo sets out confidently behind drummer Greg Joseph's hard-driving swing on the opener "Do You Know" and the statement-of-purpose Tarheel Boogie, but changes pace adeptly with the aching "Getting Ready to Let You Down" and the Tejano-influenced "I'll Never Feel That Way Again."

Throughout Tarheel Boogie, the Combo demonstrates its ability to switch gears effortlessly. Percussionist Ray Duffey's drums and marimba work on the goofy "Hayride to Hong Kong" owes as much to Gene Krupa as Gene Autry, but a straight reading of Wynn Stewarts' 1960 hit "Wishful Thinking" shows the boys seriously know their Bakersfield history.

The Jimmy Nations Combo doesn't worry too much about its country-swing authenticity and neither should you. Instead, Nations' direct approach works best by displaying a healthy sense of humor while maintaining a respect for his audience's desire to have a good time. We should all be so lucky.

-Patrick Fitzgerald

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