Lenz revs it up
Johnny D's, Somerville, Mass., May 6, 1998
By Jeffrey B. Remz
SOMERVILLE, MA - It may have been the hump of the work week, but that didn't stop rockabilly filly Kim Lenz and Her Jaguars from putting it on in fine style at Johnny D's.
Lenz, decked out in a shiny green dress, led her three-piece backing band through a good 90-minutes plus of rockabilly with just enough of a dose of country and blues thrown into the mix to keep it interesting.
Lenz, based in Dallas, was making her first trip east on the heels of her self-titled disc out on Hightone last month. The album showcases a singer of authority with her vocals clearly being the standout.
But Lenz, who writes almost all her own songs, proved to be much stronger live.
She offered enough twists and turns vocally - sometimes tender, sometimes gritty - to avoid the sameness zone.
That also was partially due to her backing band - very muscular guitarist Nick Curran, upright bassist Jake Erwin and drummer Scotty Tecce. Curran, in particular, was a standout on song after song. He his chops down pat, letting it rip time and again. He did not provide needless flash. Curran was one of those guitarists who let his music do the talking.
And at times the backing vocals also added just the right touch for slightly altering the basic rockabilly sound.
The song titles may just about say it all about the good time feel of rockabilly: "Bop City," "Let's Get Wild," "Swing Swing Swing" and "Shake a Leg." You almost couldn't help but do the latter.
Lenz also dipped into some well chosen covers, including the Collins Kids ("Rock a Boppin' Baby) and the late Carl Perkins ("Boppin' the Blues").
But one of the strongest tunes proved to be the slow country weeper, "Thinkin' About You."
A fan of the genre for awhile, Lenz, 30, only has been doing rockabilly four years. But she has earend her stripes quickly.
Lenz doubtlessly put many people over the hump.