The new 45 is here, and we can’t wait to get it into your hands! Featuring a limited edition picture sleeve designed by Todd Myers, and an all-analog recording process, the new tracks showcase dueling steel and take off guitars, in both the traditional western swing and the hillbilly bop styles that the band has honed over the past ten years. We hope you dig it, see ya Friday at the Knockout, with our pals The Haywoods!
well now folks, we done went and recorded a couple of brand new original tracks with the intention of releasing a ten-year celebratory vinyl only release…. and as would be the case these days with vinyl record plants experiencing a surge in business, it’s taking quite a while to get that new record out into the world. But we can’t wait any longer for you all to hear the new tracks, so we’ve sent them off to our good friends at CDBaby, and made them available to you all digitally. The two new songs were recorded live the old-fashioned way (of course) onto analog tape, and the vinyl record (when it eventually gets here) was cut from the tape (not from a digital master). Here’s the link to head on over and take a listen (and download!) http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thebstars13 and http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thebstars14
Holy mackerel, folks, the band has turned 10 years old this fall! My oh my, and whaddya know, our fearless upright bassist Eric Reedy is also celebrating a major milestone with his 50th birthday, so we have put together a big ol’ birthday bash to celebrate on November 19th at the Verdi Club here in our hometown of San Francisco.
We’ve been earnestly plugging away at this hillbilly swing music for the past ten years, and that effort has taken us up and down the West Coast, to the East Coast, back to Greg’s stomping grounds in the Midwest, to Canada to play the Red Hot & Blue festival, to Spain to play at the Screamin’ festival, to Viva Las Vegas numerous times, to play the inaugural Nashville Boogie, to Beck Rustic’s terrific New England Shakeup Festival, and last year to Austin when we were nominated for an Ameripolitan Artist Music Award. We have released two full length albums and a 6-song EP, put out a couple of releases on vinyl, made a music video, and are about to release a limited edition picture sleeve 7″ single in commemoration of this 10 year anniversary at our birthday bash. Joining us on stage at the show will be some old friends who have been on the B-Star bandstand over the years, and we will be reviving some of those old tunes that we have almost (but not quite) forgotten, so it’s sure to be a site to see and hear….
Thanks to everyone that has come out to see us over the years, bought our records, voted or nominated us, and continues to support traditional roots music here in the Bay Area and beyond, and we hope to see you on November 19th!
Friends, thank you to all that have nominated us, we are pleased-as-punch to announce that The B-Stars have been nominated for a 2016 Ameripolitan Music Award in the “Rockabilly Group” category! We are headed to Austin in February for the awards ceremony and will be performing at a local club during the weekend before (details to come), but for now we would like to ask for your vote: please head on over to the Ameripolitan website and check out all the great bands on this year’s nominee roster. We look forward to seeing a bunch of you in the new year as we will be traveling to new and exciting places around the country, and if your’e in Austin in February, please say hello!
Howdy folks! It’s well overdue that we give an update on the goings-on here in B-Star HQ. We’ve had quite a summer, and thought we should recap a little bit before heading into the home stretch of 2015.
The B-Stars were invited to take part in the inaugural Nashville Boogie festival this past May, and boy did we have a great time! Chris Casello joined us on steel guitar, and although our set time was pushed back almost 2 hours late, it was terrific to see fans that we’ve met over the years stick it out and dance into the wee hours with us. Thank you Jason Galaz for having this little ol’ west coast combo be a part of what is already becoming a great festival! The magazine Rock ‘n’ Roll UK even picked up the story, and we’re delighted that Morgyn Williams included us in his review.
June took us down to Long Beach for the final Ink N Iron festival at the Queen Mary and on the way back we played at the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz with our good friends the Carolyn Sills Combo! What a fun night for our Santa Cruz debut. The band played out and about in San Francisco throughout July, capped with a show at Slim’s with Kim Lenz and Cash’d Out, and was asked to play at the Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park in August! Not quite knowing what to expect, we rallied the troops up and had Charlie Wallace and Steve Randall sit in for our set on the Bandwagon stage at this 70,000 person music festival ( ok, so perhaps all 70,000 people didn’t come over to catch out set, but that’s a side note). We took plenty of notes on that vintage RV trailer stage, it was perhaps the most interesting stage we’ve performed on to date. And well, Getty Images didn’t quite get our name correct, but oh well!
We have also wished bon voyage to Josh Workman, who has stepped down from the B-Stars band stand. Thanks for playing with us for the past 6-7 months Josh, and good luck!
Stay tuned for upcoming news, folks, Facebook “like” us and keep on the sunny side.
Howdy friends! It’s been a while since we’ve updated you all on happenings inside B-Star camp, so thought we’d spin the wheel a bit. We’ve been busy booking some great summer shows, including a couple of festivals, and in between that have been working on a new album for you all! This will be our third full-length release, and with any luck should be ready for the picking by the fall or year’s end. The material is, well, you’ll just have to wait and see, but we think you’ll dig it. Look for some returning guest musicians and possibly a couple new ones, and of course keep the dance shoes nearby.
** WE ARE HEADED TO NASHVILLE ! ! ** Yes indeed, the B-Stars will be a part of the inaugural Nashville Boogie Festival at Opryland May 1-2, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our time slot is Saturday night, we really can’t wait! Check out the gig calendar for a few other midwest shows before (Chicago and Louisville). See ya soon!
Finally, we bid adieu to our fine guitar player Pierre Laik, who has left the band. He had a good run with us for a few years and will be missed. Look for a new face or two on the B-Star bandstand in the coming months.
“Just when I start to think that maybe Americans have given up and ceded all rights to authentic American music to the Europeans, a band comes along to restore my faith in my musician countrymen. The B-Stars out of San Francisco is one of those bands. If you love the sounds of hillbilly boogie, western swing, and Hank Williams style honky tonk, then you owe it to yourself to check out the band’s second record, West Coast Special.
The B-Stars, a five-piece combo with a few guests here and there, are a joy to listen to. The songs on this record—nine fantastically authentic-sounding originals and three great covers—explore several different styles of classic country. The recordings also sound exceptionally authentic. The record was recorded at The Wally Sound in Oakland on vintage analogue tape equipment through vintage microphones. Personally, I’m not sure how much difference that makes over digital recording methods, but if it helps the band capture the right mood, then more power to ‘em!
The record starts off with a cover of Groovey Joe Poovey’s “Careful Baby” which leads into one of the band’s fine original tunes, “Still Waiting” and with these two numbers, the band establishes that they can deliver original songs that stand right up against the classics.I think this record leans mostly toward western swing, but like I said, there are plenty of other styles represented here too. It’s mostly western swing right through to cut number six, where the band shifts into more of a hillbilly boogie sound with “Time is Money.” Rhythm guitarist, Greg Yanito wrote the song as well as about half of the other originals, and sings a duet with Lil’ Anne M. Yanito, and the two sound great together. They both have well-crafted hillbilly voices and they blend well together. And the song was a great choice for a duet.
Next, the band pays homage to the great Hank Williams with “When the Darkness Turns to Light,” another Yanito tune. Far from trying to pretend they’re not trying to sound like old Hank, the band outdoes itself making everything about the tune sound like a Williams recording. Really nicely done. They resurrect this sound on the last cut, another cover, “Honky Tonkin’ Rhythm,” which is also about as close to a rockabilly tune as you’re going to hear on this record, complete with a cool slap bass interlude by the band’s other lead vocalist and song writer, Eric Reedy. While Reedy usually plays a more laid-back bass, on this tune he cuts loose.
Rounding out the band are Billy Zelinski on drums, Pierre Laik on lead guitar, and Larry Chung on steel guitar and fiddle. Clearly these guys have done their homework and they master not only the sound, but maybe more importantly, the styles. They are all very talented musicians, but they feel no need to prove how good they are. There’s no showing off here (well, maybe just a little!) Instead, these guys play off each other perfectly as the style would dictate. The guitar weaves in and out to create space for the fiddle or the steel guitar, each taking their turn to handle the feature part. That kind of interplay makes this style of music so interesting to me. And it’s that kind of subtlety that is lost on so much modern music. Modern Rock guitarists seem to think that if you pile enough distortion onto a guitar solo, a million motes a second sounds great. But it’s just so much noise compared to the clean sound—and cleanly played guitar and steel parts on recordings like this.
The instrumentation and arrangements on “West Coast Special” are really great and very, very true to the genre. And the song writing is also very solid. There are some really fun songs on the record…oh heck, they’re all fun! Check out “Chicken Fried” for the classic slightly silly hillbilly boogie tune. It’s definitely one of my favorites. It paints a great picture and you can just see the guys sittin’ on the porch after the work’s all done not quite able to get all the way through the tune without laughing. It’s just such a fun song, and one which really encapsulates the joy of authentic country music as it was created before Nashville’s elites realized what a money machine they had in a gentrified country music.
All in all, this is just a really fine record. It’s a load of fun to listen to, and it tells story after story as only hillbilly music can.
My recommendation: Well, if you haven’t figured it out already, let me try to make it clear – you need to own this record!”
Ahh, summer in San Francisco… barbecue, beaches, corn on the cob, oh wait. Fog, cold, and scarves. Never fear, honky tonk fans, our summer lineup of gigs in northern california will keep you all warm and your feet busy as we once again return to Union Square, bring the honky tonk show to the Walt Disney museum in The Presidio, and a few other haunts as the Trio plays a number of gigs around the Bay Area including Forbidden Island Tiki Bar in late June. Our fearless fiddle and steel guitar player will be spending the summer up in the Pacific Northwest, but we will have a sub or two if needed and will welcome him back in time for the close of the official (for the rest of the country) summer season at Bluxome Winery right before Labor Day weekend.
Hello friends, and welcome to the still new-ish B-Stars home on the inter web range, make yourself at home!
We want to thank so many of you for supporting us at Great American Music Hall in early January, our debut at one of the most incredible live music venues in San Francisco with The Easy Leaves and Bootleg Honeys, what a time we had! Pics from the night are up on our facebook page, so cruise on over there, and find yourself in the crowd and please, tag your friends!
We have begun working on new material for the next record! You can probably expect it to drop late this year, but of course between now and then there will be plenty of opportunities to hear snippets here and there at our live shows, so keep an eye on our website for outings with the full band as well as shows the Trio.
First of all, thanks to all of ya for the overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new video, and for your help sharing it and getting the word out, we really appreciate it! If you haven’t shared it on your social media outet of choice (is there an alternative to Facebook yet?), please do, we’ll be ever-so-grateful!
As we wrap up a gig-filled summer, we can say we sure had a blast performing at Tiki Oasis “Hulabilly” 2013 and want to thank Otto and Baby Doe for having us. If you caught any of the shenanigans at the Clement Rhum room party, oh boy, that was something you won’t see very often. We’re regrouping this fall a little bit, in order to focus some attention on new material, and prepare for a big blowout show in January which will be announced soon, so stay tuned!
Finally, 10″ vinyl copies of “West Coast Special” are still available, but dwindling so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, contact us before they are all gone!