Josie and the Hepcats

Josie Kreuzer gives rockabilly a new twang.

In other respects, Kreuzer and her mates (guitarist Adam Payne and stand-up bassist Davey Ketchum) are quite a traditional group. "We're traveling the old-style way: three pieces, no drums, and lots of finger-picking," enthuses Kreuzer, who chunks out her rhythm chords on a 1952 Kay acoustic. "A lot of people believe that you have to have drums to rock, and in some cases it might be true, depending on what kind of music you're playing. But for hardcore honky-tonk and rockabilly, if you have a good enough bass player, you can do it, as long as you have that slap going in there.

"The greatest thing about breaking it down like this," Kreuzer says of performing sans skins, "is that you hear a lot of things you normally wouldn't hear when you have the drums behind you. And you work off each other a little more, because you can't rely on that backbeat. It's really a compliment when people come up after a show and say, 'I didn't even realize you didn't have drums until after the first set.' But do you know what the biggest plus of them all is? Without a drummer, we travel very light, in a small vehicle with lots of space in the car. And we all make more money."

These days, Kreuzer isn't the only rockabilly woman on the road. As she acknowledges, "There's me, Kim Lenz, Rosie Flores, L'il Mo & the Monicats and Ruthie & the Wranglers, and there are bands overseas like the Ranch Girls." She adds, "Some people want to think that there's all this competition between us. But I support everybody, because since there are so few of us, we have to count on each other."

Could this mean that there might be a Lilith Fair for blue suede belles someday soon? "That's a good idea," Kreuzer says. "Someone should do that!" And she's just the woman for the job.

Josie Kreuzer, with DJ Kurt Ohlen. 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, 9th Avenue West, 99 West 9th Avenue, $5, 455-8408.

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