Every Monday night from 9 p.m. to midnight, Skye and Reiners, along with other DSB personnel, will field “The Rodeo Bar All Stars” in reprising their live country karaoke shows, which formerly ran for years at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn.
“As ‘twas the tradition at Hank’s, we'll offer a ‘shot of courage’ to all the singers who get up to sing--provided this time around by the kind folks at Jim Beam and poured as per tradition by yours truly,” says Skye.
She explains: “There's a certain skill set in doing a night like this: getting people up, helping them find the right key, guiding the ones who look a little lost or seem scared and letting loose with the ones who get up and can really bang a song out of the ballpark.”
As DSB, Skye and Reiners have recorded five albums and toured internationally with the likes of the Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Patti Smith, Ricky Skaggs and Asleep At The Wheel. The band’s local acclaim in roots/Americana circles led Nora Guthrie to give them previously unpublished lyrics from the Woody Guthrie archives, resulting in the Skye-Guthrie co-written “Go Coney Island, Roll On The Sand,” which appeared on the CD/book project My Name Is New York: Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town.
“We co-hosted 'Live Band Kuntry Karaoke' at Hank’s, which was started by local country singer Rob Ryan, who split after a while to move to Germany and pursue a music career over there,” says Skye. “Every Monday night for about three years we played traditional and some contemporary country music, backing audience members that ranged from pretty awful--though heartfelt--to some super-talented friends and some surprisingly talented amateurs. It became a great hang for us, and we made great friends, learned a lot of tunes and got to play with some great musicians.”
“Over the years we developed a revolving ensemble of rhythm sections and hosts, since Boo and I obviously couldn't be there every Monday,” she continues. “I loved the gig: It reminded me of the way Buck Owens talked about playing at a dance hall in Bakersfield called The Blackboard just about every night for seven years before he'd made it big, getting people to dance, honing his skills and making an honest dollar. Although I'm a singer-songwriter with my own songs to work and everyone we play with in this has creative projects of their own, it's a chance to get together and play music and hopefully, as Buck says, make an honest dollar.”
Other musicians making up the Rodeo Bar All Stars will include drummer Kenny Soule, who has played with Nantucket and DAG as well as various local country, blues and rock bands including DSB, and bass players Dave Post (Swingedelic) and Mike Santoro (Bar None recording group The Swales and Whiskeytown).
“Kenny tours quite a bit and Dave is often busy with Swingedelic—and Boo and I have a lot of our Demolition String Band business to tend to,” notes Skye. “So if the night takes off over time, I'm sure we'll have a lot of our other favorite local musicians stepping up to the plate.”
Skye credits Rodeo Bar booker Jack Grace, also a songwriter/bandleader in his own right, with approaching her and Reiners to restart "Kuntry Karaoke," and looks to pull from a pool of talented musicians who are club regulars.
“The Rodeo Bar has been a real home to us over the years,” she says. “As clubs come and go they've managed to stick around, and we're grateful that they've asked us to help them with this Monday night project, and hope we can make it fly.”
Skye and Reiners will bring along their book with the lyrics to some 300 songs.
“We provide a clipboard with titles for people to peruse and sign up for a song,” she says. “The Rodeo Bar has created a Facebook page and are working on getting the song list up there, and also a place for people to request a song if they don't see it on the list.”
“We’re looking forward to it!” Skye concludes.
Subscribe to my examiner.com pages and follow me on Twitter @JimBessman!