Turntable Matinee is framed by “Power Of The 45″, a sprightly paean to the magical allure of music. Between the opener and its reprise, a dozen songs roll along, each shaped with the casual ease and grace of timeless jukebox favorites. Which is not to say this is backward-looking music; rather, it’s in a tradition. Several traditions, actually: Rockabilly, western swing, and country weepers rub shoulders in a way that only a modern ensemble could bring together.
The songs, delivered by Big Sandy’s friendly vocals, are connected by lyrics that utilize either overt narratives or finely wrought small details. The rhythm section is a finely tuned engine, solid enough to be the foundation, supple enough for elastic give and take. Ashley Kingsman on guitar and steel guitarist Lee Jefferies have a breadth of voicings that add surprise, punctuation, orchestration and color.
Toward the end of the set comes “Slippin’ Away”, a strutting, Stax-inspired number punched up with guest horns. Then, like a bandleader reading the mood of the room, Big Sandy slows things down for the sweet, Buddy Holly-like “I Know I’ve Loved You Before”.