“Absolutely one-of-a-kind… a powerhouse of emotion, grit and wit… the savior of country music?” – The Bluegrass Situation
(Press Release) You walk into a western saloon. Doors creak, the bartender glares at you, and windows are covered in dust kicked up by the wind. But the band in the corner is utterly spectacular, the best you’ve heard. In that David Lynch meets Quentin Tarantino setting, there’s only one band that could possibly live up and it is led by a western Canadian man named Petunia. Petunia & The Vipers are a crack band that take rockabilly, western swing, surf, honky tonk, gypsy jazz, and film noir music, and wrap it up with a beat-poetry and punk-attitude twist. Their new album Dead Bird on the Highway is their most eclectic to date. In support of the new album, out May 20th, the band has announced a west coast tour hitting Washington, Oregon and California. See dates after the jump.
What can one say about Petunia & The Vipers? Imagine Hank Williams on acid… Tom Waits meets Elvis at Woody Guthrie's Hobo junction… Avant-Country night club scene music out of a David Lynch movie… hillbilly-flavored-swing inflected-ragtime-goodtime-thunderously rolling-one-of-a-kind-you-don’t-want-to-miss-this-sort-of-a-show… Phil Alvin says, "One of the best bands in the world today, of any kind…" A new music that springboards off of music of the past and jumps into the present day, left with only echoes of the past.
If one wished to talk about the birth of the blues, one would need to dig into the influences that preceded its birth. The same is true about Petunia & the Vipers. If they followed a recipe and added musical styles as ingredients, it would start by simply adding country and blues. Bring to boil while stirring in a dose of ragtime, some Dixieland jazz, a hint of bebop, some western swing and old time cowboy music, a bit of jug band & string band music. Flavor with a significant dose of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, and a bit of Blind Willie McTell and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Bake on high with the dotted rhythms of Cuban, Mexican, Peruvian, Romanian and African folk music. Ice the whole thing with some punk rock hot sauce and you’ve got a delectable musical concoction…part old-time, part new times, part no time at all, part all-of-the-time…
Petunia himself is more than an entertainer, he's a modern musical enigma. He’s an adventure seeker, a poker player, and a mysterious stranger. He’s been referred to as “The Savior of Country Music,” and a man who exists in a different era, bringing the past forth as something new to be celebrated and not forgotten.
Petunia grew up in rural Quebec, in exactly the sort of surroundings that a country musician would find idyllic, with old dilapidated barns, secret forts, and acres of unspoiled land. As an adult, the wandering spirit took a firm hold on his life, so he set out on the road, playing every major street corner across Canada and throughout the NYC subway system, before graduating to full fledged touring musician. When he’s not on the road playing shows, Petunia is also involved in the theatre world; building side projects, writing scores, acting, or collaborating with theatre artists. He currently resides in Vancouver BC.
May 20 - Shanty Tavern - Seattle, WA
May 22 - Old St. Nick's - Eugene, OR
May 23 - Arcata Playhouse - Arcata, CA
May 25 - Don The Beachcomber - Los Angeles, CA
May 26 - El Cid - Los Angeles, CA
May 27 - Alex's - Los Angeles, CA
May 28 - Don The Beachcomber - Los Angeles, CA (w/ Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys)
May 31 - Riverwood Inn - Phillipsville, CA
June 1 - Johnny B's - Medford, OR
June 2 - Axe and Fiddle - Cottage Grove, OR
June 3 - Skyway Bar & Grill - Zigzag, OR
June 4 - Bubba's - Sultan, WA
June 24 - Boundary Bay - Bellingham, WA
July 1 - Conor Muse - Conway, WA
July 2 – Voiceworks - Port Townsend, WA