Debut Studio Solo Album from JD Wilkes of Legendary Shack Shakers
JD Wilkes, the vibrant front man of the Legendary Shack Shakers and the Dirt Daubers, releases his debut studio solo album, Fire Dream. Bruce Watson of Fat Possum Records produced, calling upon his Mississippi hill country cadre of stellar players, including fellow Country Fried Rock alum, Jimbo Mathus (also of Squirrel Nut Zippers), Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers), and Dr. Sick. Fire Dream whirls like a sideshow fire dancer, with a circus feel, and a touch of Threepenny Opera. You are not completely sure if this is a beautifully crafted satire or intensely serious. The songs in Fire Dream find influences from gypsy music and klezmer as much as old time.
Hillbilly gypsy, klezmer, and solo tour with band
Wilkes’ upcoming tour begins as a duo with his long-time bass player. On several dates, Wilkes opens for musician and performance artists, Unknown Hinson. By March, the JD Wilkes band tour starts. Members of the Shack Shakers will back Wilkes, but not as a Legendary Shack Shakers tour. This is a solo album, with a live band that knows how to keep up with Wilkes’ antics. Additionally, they are playing acoustic and often around a single mic for much of the show — definitely a departure from a LSS show!
Tom Thumb joins the band
Finally, the fifth member of the band joins JD Wilkes — a Tom Thumb piano. Wilkes bought his Chinoiserie 64 key piano on EBay. The 100-year old instrument tinkles from the side stage. These smaller pianos (versus the standard 88 key instrument) often resided in restaurants and speakeasys because they were easier to move around. Sometimes, traveling salesmen used them as demonstration pieces. Wilkes discusses their use in Tin Pan Alley songwriting in the last century.