Back in May my cohort Christina and I heard this great band, The August, who were the winning contestants in the “Got Country Class” Competition, held in the lush surroundings of the Greenbrier Hotel. The last night of performances was the culmination of the contest, which had been pared down from the original 130 acts to the final 10. The August ranked as the best of the best from the challenge, competing against The Boatmen (one of my favorite bands on earth and performing at Wild Bill’s this March 23rd), Morgan Cornwell (local darling, now fronting a great band called The Weight), Wilson Fairchild (a group made-to-order from Statler Brothers legacy), and the Katie Admire Band, featuring their own little dynamo. The August brought their best game.
Though, admittedly, not a whole lot happened for them as a result of the contest, other than the obvious great prizes ($5000 and the opportunity to open for Toby Keith as part of the PGA’s concert series), but they did get to meet Toby Keith and his buddy/co-writer Bobby Pinson, which did lead to a couple of nice shows at Nashville’s Lucy’s. The August deserves a nice showcase engagement where fans can really hear them. They need the opportunity to show off their powerhouse vocalist Jacky Dustin, who blew the roof off the place with her killer rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” (a song often over-sung with shades of mediocrity in karaoke bars worldwide, but this was a different story, as she owned it, as did guitarist Cameron Clarke). So, they are very much looking forward to their upcoming gig at Carnegie Hall on March 22, which may be just the time and place to really hear them tear it up.
From “ Nashville , NOW!,” as they say about their location and history, they grew out of mostly a Chicago-based background, and the windy city did them right, musically. Members Jacky Dustin, bassist Wojtek Krupka, and drummer Tim Good moved to Nashville a little over 3 years ago, and shortly after found the gifted electric guitar player, Cameron Clarke, and the mix was made. The core group has been together almost 7 years, have 3 studio records, and have over 200 shows under their collective belts.
Having been called “the Nashville Machine’s voice of tomorrow”, these folks will blow you away.
This is not really a group who can be locked into the just the Country Music category; they are more of a mix of, well, soul and groove and twang and grit. One reviewer pegged them as, and I quote, “This is a band to watch. A new Outlaw Country. This is not Texas Charts or Nashville West; this Chicago band gone south is Nashville Windy City .”
They write many of their songs, great originals, but absolutely take charge of any covers they may choose to include in their repertoire, due hugely to the wildly original sound of Jacky’s strong vocals and her confident presence, combined with Cameron Clarke’s inventive guitar-playing style. Add to that a solid pairing of Krupka’s bass style (and main co-writing contribution with influences from Tom Petty, Neil Young, and other spiritual forces unseen) and the rock-solid groove of Good’s drumming, the two providing the backbone of the sound, and you’ve really got something. Having been called “the Nashville Machine’s voice of tomorrow”, these folks will blow you away.
This band provides an interesting fusion of the most timeless of the old and the bravest of the new. The Chicago Daily Herald says of them, “Listening to the August is like listening to old Johnny Cash tunes on modern radio: The sound is nostalgic-country complete with its own special twang.”
So March 22 at Carnegie Hall: Be there. Check them out at theaugust.com, where you can download their newest album called “Dear Chicago, Love Nashville”. This band is going places, climbing higher with each opportunity coming their way, and you’ll be happy to have been with them here on the ground floor, where you can look to the stars along with them.
– Susanna Robinson-Kenga, LBSPY #28 (March 11-25th)