It's no easy task to follow Billy Zoom (original guitarist for the premier Los Angeles punk band X), but that’s just what Tony Gilkyson did from 1987 to 1996. His outstanding work was always on the twangier numbers (read: the John Doe material) so it’s no surprise that his solo work is deep country, whether a gentle prairie breeze or barreling down a prairie highway.
Despite the decade-spanning X gig, not many people recognize his name, although they’ve likely heard Gilkyson playing behind Lone Justice, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, his sister Eliza (who first hit it big here in New Mexico) and, uh, Alice Cooper.
Most recently, his work is prominently featured in I Walk the Line as the leads of Luther Perkins (no, that distinctive guitar sound we’re all familiar with wasn’t Johnny Cash who mostly thumb-picked his way through his career). This movie credit is likely to dog his career for decades to come but, lucky for us, we’ll be hearing Tony Gilkyson on his own terms tonight. Supporting the new release Goodbye Guitar on Rolling Sea Records, his original material and sound-shifting voice are featured as much or maybe more than his signature guitar. Good writing, good singing and good playing? Yes, please.
Also on the bill are our own Shine Cherries, an apparition of Mazzy Star meets The Velvet Underground on an idle Appalachian hillside afternoon beneath the dappled shade of mountain maples with a jug of bootleg ’shine bobbing in the creek to keep it cool.
It's disquieting how a band that rocks so languidly can thrill your ears once you settle into the torpid rhythm. Watch out for drummer Ryan Martino, though. It can be a battle-royale as he and astounding guitarist Jeffrey Richards try to gallop the simple pace away from unhurried vocalist/songsmith Michelle Collins.
Opening is The Inner Parlor, with a three-quarters lineage of the recently demised Darlington Horns (one of our best shoot-’em-up bar bands in many a year).
Drummer’s drummer Heath “Moon” Dauberman and bassist Chris “Softshoe” Kitchen back the mind- and note-bending guitarist Ben Action, who’s ripped chords for many a local rock squad, including The Saddlesores, The Impatients and Q’s Revenge. Mr. Kitchen is pulling double-duty (again) tonight since he’s also the Cherries’ bottom end.
This is the new outfit’s first gig but, if the raw sketches I’ve heard are any indication, one with great promise of countrified drag strip rock, spy-movie soundtracks and the huge embrace of pop hooks.
That, and smoking cigarettes in the boys room.