Here in Kalamazoo Michigan we don't have many local bands that have even heard of Red Dirt music or even know what Americana music is let alone playing it live. Ninth Street Bridge is one such band that we have here and having passed on information in the form of a CD and a press kit to the owner of Joe's Bar i was thrilled to find out they were chosen to be the opening act for Jason Boland & The Stragglers on August 26th.
The Robbie Jay band from Youngstown Ohio started the night off with their hard driving Red Dirt influenced rock and country with good harmonies and guitar shredding. Ninth Street Bridge was ready to play next, its a bit of work to get five guys who play twelve different instruments situated and there is a lot of tuning going on between songs but they pulled it off perfectly. Lead singer Brett Riggins handled the time between songs very well and the band sounded better than ever especially with local drummer Tommy Ufkes and his amazing rhythm skills. It was only a half hour set but it went over really well with everyone and Roger Ray, Brad Rice and Grant Tracy were hanging out listening and said they really liked the music.
Jason and the Stragglers were next, Noah, the Stragglers fiddle and mandolin player had to take a few weeks off so the very capable Chris Whitten filled in for him on the tour. Chris is an imposing figure, i am 6' 1" and Chris towers over me but he's one heck of a nice guy and has a great resume of experience with all sorts of musical genres. Jason started out with a great Waylon Jennings song that i had heard them rehearse in a space in Austin a while back and "Outlaw Bit" was a great starter. They played all the fan favorites and came back for an encore that ended the show with a cover of Billy Joe Shaver's song "Thunderbird Wine" that blew me away, Roger Ray was shredding away on that song like i've never seen him do, i know he can but that was amazing. I filmed the entire set from Ninth Street Bridge in full HD and you can watch it by clicking here.