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A lot of people say the same thing about Johnny7 & The Black Crabs. "You guys don't sound like anybody else." Sure, there's rockabilly in there, and rock and roll too. But there's also swing, jazz, and even a taste of spaghetti western. It's a refreshing update to the "authentic reproduction" approach of the rockabilly genre.
Their second release, 13 Times, is a case in point. The band moves smoothly from the straight-ahead rockabilly sound of Say Mama to the swinging duet Messin' Around. They deftly navigate the Les Paul-eqsue instrumental Caravan. There's even the tune best heard under the Big Top, both because of its country-circus beat and subject matter (quite possibly the first ever song about corndogs). And when's the last time you heard a washing machine as a kick drum? Check out the hidden track.
This mix of genres comes naturally to The Black Crabs. Jonathan Stuart, Tom Forster Jr., and Kirsten Ballweg are experienced musicians and have played with a variety of groups—60s girl garage (The Hot Rollers) roots (Footstompin' Trio), melodic pop (Nobody Home), and of course swing and rockabilly (The Donettes, New York Jimmy and the Jive Five). Originally formed to back Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson, the band was supposed to be only a summer fling. Instead, it transformed into a full-time proposition.
Since touring with Wanda in 2004, Johnny7 & the Black Crabs have toured the West Coast and Europe – Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and Italy. The Trio has played various festivals including; KEXP’s Rockabilly Ball (Seattle) 2005-2008, Bumbershoot (Seattle), The Folk Life Festival (Seattle), International Beer Festival , Issaquah Salmon Days, KSER’s Rockabilly Revival, the Summer Jamboree (Italy), Viva Las Vegas (Las Vegas), and The Rockin Fifties Fest (Green Bay, Wisconsin).Their first CD “Blast Off” was released in 2005 on Ravenous Records.The band also appears on various compilation CDs. .