There can often be something of a kitsch aspect when discussing rockabilly music, as if it was a relic and not something in a constant state of growth and expansion. For the bands who find inspiration and passion within these surf-rock rhythms and twangy tremolos, these sounds are more than an archaic form to be archived and appreciated – they are alive and persuasive in their vivid musical presence. Artists such as The Reverend Horton Heat and the Legendary Shack Shakers have approached these particularly timorous echoes with respect and awe, allowing them to bloom and reveal details which might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
And along with those musicians, Portsmouth, VA-based rockabilly quartet Lucky 757 is one of only a handful of bands finding new ways to highlight the varying shades of complexity within rockabilly’s open-ended dynamism. Where others see genre limitations, Lucky 757 sees opportunities to turn expectations against their audience and provide a fascinating glimpse into a world of boogie-woogie piano stomps, mutated bluegrass and rippling old-school blues.
Built around the father/son duo of singer-guitarist Danny Spivey and singer-guitarist Cory Spivey, with bassist Sam Haga and drummer Angel Lopez providing the substantial rhythm section, the band offers one searing barn-burner after another, channeling the spirits of Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Recently, the band journeyed to Sun Studios in Memphis, the same place where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison got their start, and recorded a new 3-song EP called “Memphis Sun,” which is due out May 4.
On their new single and title track, “Memphis Sun,” they offer a blistering rockabilly/surf rock tutorial, filled with churning piano lines and trembling guitar licks. Both familiar and refreshingly distinct, the song adapts the genre’s traditions into something with an unquenchable fire in its heart and lightning running through its veins. Raw and loaded with an irrepressible lo-fi energy, it feels simultaneously like an homage and a divergent variation of these classic sounds. You can hear and feel the history in every tremor and swing, even as the band acclimates the music to a more modern environment.