Bumper Jackson’s CD Release Show Review

March 21, 2014 at Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD

written by Cliff Tyler


On Friday March 21st 2014, The Creative Alliance at the Patterson Theater in Baltimore, MD, had a packed house on their hands.  The crowd that sold out the venue came to see Bumper Jacksons and their special guests Blue Moon Cowgirls.  With both bands having local ties and falling under the broad genre of Americana, this would prove to be an exciting night full of upbeat music and excitement.


Upon walking through the door, the feeling that this show would be like no other I’ve ever seen washed over me.  The Patterson Theater, located in east Baltimore, is quite the interesting place.  Offering a rotating gallery of art, a small restaurant/bar, and a quaint theater room, The Patterson was the perfect place for Bumper Jacksons to celebrate the release of their latest album, titled Sweet Mamma, Sweet Daddy, Come in.


Blue Moon Cowgirls were the first act to take the stage.  Based out of Washington DC, this four piece group features strong harmonies combined with acoustic instruments to create a nice take on the classic country sound.  Dressing in classic matching western style, this group pays great homage to the roots of early country while still adding elements of other inspirations along the way.  A great complement to the headliner, the Blue Moon Cowgirls got the crowd warmed up for a good time.


Bumper Jacksons are a wonderful group, also with Maryland and DC roots.  Showcasing the unique styles of core members Jess Elliot Myhre and Chris Ousley, the band has a sound and vibe that could easily be slipped into a time machine and delivered back to a speakeasy in the roaring 20’s.  Bumper Jacksons reflect strong  influences of Jazz, Ragtime, Blues, Swing and a hint of classic Bourbon St. style.    Jess handles the lead vocals beautifully while also adding kazoo, hand crafted washboard percussion, and quite possibly the finest clarinet work I have ever seen.  Chris holds down the rhythm on acoustic guitar.  His style reflects bluegrass inspirations and is a major contributor to the band with his harmony and lead vocals.  The latest band instrumentation also includes Alex Lacquement who adds harmony vocals and perfect low end with his stand up Bass, Brian Priebe also on harmony vocals and rounding up the horn section on his trombone, and Dave Hadley who’s pedal steel and dobro work is an incredible addition to the group.  Dan Cohan provides the percussion on perhaps the most interesting kit I’ve ever seen.  While occasionally turning to a classic snare drum and crash cymbal combo, the majority of the show was performed on a creation of his called “The Suitcase”.  Aptly titled and indeed consisting of a suitcase, this travel accessory goes far beyond the capabilities of your average Samsonite.  Adorned with various percussive surfaces including a washboard, a tin can, a bell, a set of house keys, and a tambourine, the case emits a kick drum style sound when struck on the side with a padded mallet and its various accent sounds create the perfect, easy to travel with drum set.  Dan plays it in an incredibly talented manner only attainable on a self made instrument.


As the sold out crowd cheered the bands arrival on stage, folks began to dance as the first chords were struck.  The small theater is mostly seated but along the side there is also some standing room and the fellas were swinging their ladies around with a welcomed reckless abandon.  Attendees both young and old contributed to a scene like no other I’ve ever experienced.  Very different from the concerts and festivals that I regularly attend, this venue, this music, and these people provided me with an interesting and mind opening experience.


Bumper Jacksons are a group of insanely talented multi-instrumentalists that provide a refreshing throwback to a time when music may have been more pure and less driven by radio and record sales.  Their recordings are tight and well made and their live shows are a spot on re-creation of them.  For more information on Bumper Jacksons tour schedule and music head over to their web site at www.bumperjacksons.com.   You can also find information on the Blue Moon Cowgirls at www.bluemooncowgirls.com.