Music News

The Legendary Shack*Shakers

Away from the stage, Legendary Shack*Shakers frontman Col. J.D. Wilkes looks like a simple mechanic. Very skinny, well short of six feet tall and bespectacled in horn-rims, Wilkes carries himself with an unassuming intensity. But all that goes out the window the second he and his bandmates kick into their first song. The quiet man you saw at sound check transforms into the most electrifying performer you've ever seen. He contorts his wiry frame, taunts the audience, plays with nunchucks and basically puts on such a spectacle that it's impossible to take your eyes off him. Yet because of the sonic fury the Shack*Shakers unleash, none of it seems forced or contrived. Led by guitarist David Lee, the band plays a dizzying blend that incorporates blues, rockabilly, country, klezmer and gypsy influences -- all held together by Wilkes's prodigious harmonica playing.
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Dave Garner