Jeremy Lyons and The Deltabilly Boys

Jazzfest

April 23, 2004

During the second to last song, Jeremy Lyons decided to climax the concert. Through their blues and rockabilly swagger, Lyons, bassist Greg Schatz and drummer Paul Santopadre had built up the crowd's interest and energy at the Popeyes Blues Tent Friday afternoon.

Then, Lyons decided to pull the trigger with a blazing guitar solo. The crowd went nuts, and my jaw dropped. I've seen Lyons play before, but if there's a place to up the ante and show what you're made of, I guess it's at Jazzfest. I was just happy the out-of-towners were seeing a once struggling New Orleans street musician succeed during a pivotal moment. The crowd gave Lyons a standing ovation after the song.

Lyons and his boys rocked fast with songs whose emotions ranged from haunting to playful. A highlight of the set was when the band played a song Lyons wrote for his young daughter. The upbeat, poppy song grew in swinging speed until it dissolved. Another highlight was when Lyons played a slow blues that was so beautifully dark I fell into its black spell.

Lyons and Schatz were great performers. Schatz's hip-shaking and playful sideman vocals worked well with Lyons' confident position as keeper of the songs. Add to that the gregarious and tight drumming of Santopadre and I had myself a good time.

These guys rocked. If only Elvis and Robert Johnson could see them now.


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