He stood on stage, fingers dancing across the fret board of his Gretsch guitar. His eyes were closed, savoring the music, enjoying the pulse of the crowd gathered to watch him and his band perform. Sweat trickled off his brow, gathering in the neck of his Panhandle Slim label western shirt. He opened his eyes and looked to his bassist; a nod was all he gave.
Reading the nod, the bassist, Jimbo, moved his large string instrument to the front of the stage. With an overdramatized nod of his head he tilted the bass onto its side, his hands still working across strings, slapping, keeping time to the music.
The Reverend Horton Heat, with guitar blazing, walks to the bass. He looks at the crowd. A fervor is building. They know something is about to happen and they want it. They want it bad. One foot, then two, and push of leg muscles and he stands on the side of the bass. The crowd explodes. His Gretsch continues to churn. For almost a minute he stands their, grinning, whipping the crowd up. Sweat still pouring, lights intensified.
He steps down and moves to the mic and continues to sing. He acts as if nothing happened. At least nothing out of the ordinary. And in truth it wasn’t: this is every day business for him.
The crowd at the Outlaw Saloon in Cheyenne, Wyoming, thought differently though. This was an experience and they were loving it. Their beer and booze mixed with the music to create a state of euphoria: A high that they didn’t want to come down from, at least not for a couple of hours.
Reverend Horton Heat is an exciting act to watch. Hailing from Texas, lead singer Jim Heath, a/k/a Reverend Horton Heat, has been performing live for many years. He officially formed this band in 1985 after giving an impromptu performance of “Folsom Prison Blues.”
The band’s non-stop touring schedule had rocketed them into the top of the underground music scene. Everywhere he goes fans of all ages pour out of the woodwork to see him.
His performance this night was old stuff garnished with some of the new. In fact, at the back of the room at the merchandise table, the Reverend had for sale his newest album, Laughing and Crying with the Reverend Horton Heat. This is the first album of completely new songs in five years. The album is not as hard driven as previous ones. Instead, it is more of a pour yourself a glass of whiskey, light a cigar, press play, and enjoy type album. It is a more mature version of his style and a welcome addition to his already spectacular collection.