By Jocelyn Turner
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST – 1950s feel-good music is coming back in style!
The Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown is coming to Victoria Square Park Sept. 7 to 9, bringing to life the music from the time of Elvis.
“It’s a free event to the town, which is a cool thing. We’ve got some key people coming in from out of town,” said Dave Goode, guitarist for the Shakedown Combo, one of the Rockabilly bands playing that night.
“We’re presenting bands from the Maritimes and we have a couple of guys coming in from the States, and a band from Ontario.”
Although Rockabilly may be a term that not many people of heard of, Goode said most people have heard some of the music.
“It’s epitomized by use of an upright bass, playing in a heavily percussive way, a guitar and basically vocals, it doesn’t really need a drum kit. It’s a raw form, an early form of rock and roll.”
Goode said the Rockabilly trend started back in the early 1950’s. In fact, Elvis Presley’s first album released was a rockabilly record.
“In 1954, a lot of people were merging blues and country together and came up with this energetic style of music,” said Goode. “And I think that’s a key point as well with Rockabilly. It’s full of energy and presented with energy. It’s very danceable.”
Although Rockabilly is an older style of music, the trend and love for the style has never really gone away, Goode said.
“You find that all around the world there are festivals in places like China and Japan. There are thousands of people that go to these things and always really have been. A lot of people think, ‘Oh, that music died like 60 years ago,’ or something. But it never really did.”
Goode said anyone who listens to the music can get into it and dance to it.
“It’s a feel good type of music,” he said. “When people hear it, they like it. It lends itself to people finding something about it, even if you like the rap of whatever.”
Goode and his wife and daughter will be performing together at the festival in their band called The Shakedown Combo.
“It was a natural progression there into Rockabilly so I got into Rockabilly,” said Goode’s daughter Kim, the upright bassist in the band. “I had a bit of a rebel period where I went to Punk but no, you always go back to Rockabilly.”
The youngest Goode said she started out playing rhythmic guitar but when she started playing the upright bass, she instantly fell in love.
“I kind of just took to it just like that,” she said. “So Dad plays guitar and Mom sings, it just seemed natural to create a band. I get sick of them a little bit now and again but I’m super excited (for the festival.) It’s going to be great.
The Shakedown Combo promises an evening filled with old time good music and even a few stage tricks.
“I stand on (my bass) and I lift it up in the air,” said Kim. “I beat on that poor thing.”
“I think Kim’s bass becomes a very abused dance partner,” said her father.
“Yeah, I’m not very nice to it.”
Goode said he hopes the town will embrace their event’s theme and come out and listen to some of their Rockabilly tunes.
“We want to get as many people into the square as possible. We have a beautiful square there and it’s just great for people to come out, and if they’re not familiar with the music, to come out and find out what it is. They may very well enjoy it. It’s a full family event.”