AND THE BILLY BATS
THE VIVONE SONG (PRONOUNCED VIV-O-NEE)–KANSAS CITY BLUES–THE AVENUE–HELLO MRS. RADZINSKY–TRAIN MUSTA JUMPED THE TRACK–CALENDAR–MY HEART IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE–HIS HONOR, THE MAYOR
Jason Vivone is a master slide guitarist with a big, booming, “let’s have a party ” vocal style. He and his band—The Billy Bats—pay tribute to his Kansas City homeland with his latest release, seven originals and one cover that comprise “The Avenue.”
The title cut is a nod to the rough-and-tumble neighborhood along Independence Avenue where Jason lived. Home to the homeless, prostitutes, drug dealers, and anyone else looking for a place to get into some trouble, Billy’s guitar lines shimmer in the spartan arrangement of this cut, and the backing chorus is allegedly the ghosts of those who met their sad demise along “The Avenue.”
The set kicks off with Jason’s ode to his proud Italian heritage. Set over that shave-and-a-haircut, Diddley beat, we quickly learn that Jason’s name is “pronounced Viv-O-Nee,” and sho’ nuff “don’t rhyme with Al Capone!” “Hey Mrs. Radzinsky” is a rockin’ band rave-up that has Jason “calling everyone to tell you about this girl that’s pleasin’ me!” The riff is a killer, with Jason’s slide riding the boogie for all it’s worth! The set closes with Jason and his cigar box guitar, aptly named Nicotina, on a sweet, ethereal instrumental ode to “His Honor, The Mayor,” of that Independence Avenue neighborhood, Kendall Kohr. An injury as a child left his brain underdeveloped, but his heart and spirit more than made up for it to everyone who lived there.
We had two favorites, too. The lone cover on the set is “Kansas City Blues.” It’s a party from the jump, with Jason’s slide lines done in tribute to KC slide legend Casey Bill Weldon. And, “Calendar” is a real hoot–a slow-blues, stop-time, bump-and-grinder that finds Jason extolling the virtues of a red-hot lover on a month-to-month basis, with plenty of groovin’ slide!
Jason Vivone And The Billy Bats will be representin’ KC in the IBC’s in Memphis this week, and will be featured on the Blind Raccoon Showcase during the week. Be sure to getcha a copy of “The Avenue” from Jason off the bandstand, and get ready for a good ole Kansas City blues stomp!! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.