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Jackrabbit, Colt Kraft and Deception Past Rocked Seattle's Tractor Tavern

Once again, Seattle's Tractor Tavern was set ablaze with some smolderin' country last Saturday.

Jackrabbit opened the show with a short set of tunes from their two current albums and a handful of new songs, worthy of a future EP.  The trio haven't played together since December last year, except for an intimate, private function the night before as kind of a dress rehearsal to work out the kinks.  It was great to see them together again.  Jackrabbit's joyous energy lit up the room, and they smiled through their entire set.  Tony Fulgham, on lead guitar and vocals, was especially humorous this night.  After the first song from their 2011 EP called "Throwing in the Towel", he quipped that he felt "syllabically challenged".  To his credit, the song does have quite a few lyrics.  I'll give him a break tonight; Tony's had a busy schedule.  Not only is he fronting Jackrabbit, but he is a director for World Famous Inc. He wrote and directed a movie called Box Walk last year, which is now showing at independent film festivals (most recently in Nashville).  He also directed the trailer for the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.  The man is prolific.

Fulgham also teased about the infamous "Seattle Circle" phenomenon--that large, semi-circular gap between the edge of the stage and the first row of people.  The gap closes in as the night wears on and more dancers show up. He encouraged the crowd to move up and fill the gap.

Moe Provencher and Aimee Zoe, (Jackrabbit's bass and drums) have had their share of busy days.  They spent the first quarter of this year in New Zealand and Australia, bicycling to various locations and playing music in local clubs and house parties.  Since they traveled only by bike upon their arrival Down Under, they packed only one snare and a 3/4 scale guitar with minimal belongings. Truly, an adventure of a lifetime.  They were on their game, tonight, though.  The girls kept the beat, belted out fantastic harmonies, and kept Tony in line, most of the time. He did mention that he felt like he was watching them play five feet in front of him, "...not rhythmically, but spiritually."

Jackrabbit blasted through their bluesy rock crossover, "Around The Bend" from A Better Place for their finale.  I look forward to a new album from them in the near future.

The Colt Kraft Band took the stage looking like a country band, but played some seriously psychedelic music.  My husband Pat coined it "Ganja Country".  There were definitely country layers to their sound, especially in Kraft's cowboy lead vocals, acoustic guitar and pedal steel.  But the kicker was a very cool instrument we'd never seen before called a guitar synthesizer.  It looked like a cross between a plastic Guitar Hero gaming instrument and a keytar.  The synth added some floaty, atmospheric elements to their sound, which reminded me of The Shins Colt Kraft has a new EP out called High School.  Check it.

Finally, Deception Past, a robust, 8-piece country band loaded in. Out to celebrate their latest EP called They Say That Stuff's The Devil, the band delivered and made sure we celebrated right along with them.  With a song called "Ode To Whiskey", how could they go wrong?  They even announced that some lucky winner will receive a Golden Ticket, good for a free bottle of whiskey with their CD purchase tonight.  My husband made sure to pick up a copy before we left. 

Three brothers, Andrew, Joey and T.J. Pettersson (shown above on accordion), share the stage and the writing credits for Deception Past.  The brothers took turns at solos and sweet harmonies that kept the crowd energized the rest of the long night.  Each brother has a unique vocal style, but the three-part harmonies are what really stand out and make them sound so powerful. Their lead guitar player, A.J. Heap played complex, jangly solos on his Gretsch hollow body, which gave the band some traditional country depth. 

Deception Past played their EP in its entirety, sandwiched between songs from two other albums.  They have quite a following for such a young, fresh band, and the fans already knew the words to songs from the EP.  In a big- finish move that seems to be their trademark, they brought up members of the other bands on stage to sing some covers. Tonight it was "Big River" and "The Weight".  The crowd, fully primed, shouted and sang along in joyous celebration.

Monday morning, before heading off to work, I opened up my copy of They Say That Stuff's The Devil. Lo and behold, there was a little piece of gold foil rolled up and stuffed in the crease of the cardboard case.  "You Win!" it said.  "This golden ticket is good for one free bottle of whiskey, courtesy of Deception Past." 

Deception Past will play Seattle's Folk Life Festival on May 26.