Cowtown’s mix of western swing and hot jazz coming to NMT

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Swing dancers and hot jazz lovers are in for a treat when the Austin-based Western swing-band trio, Hot Club of Cowtown, performs at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center in a Performing Arts Series concert.

Courtesy photo: Hot Club of Cowtown returns to Macey Center for a show Friday at 7:30 p.m.

For guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana James and bassist Jake Erwin, it has always been about staying true to their roots. Purposely staying out of the musical mainstream, Hot Club of Cowtown has created an international following for their sonic personification of joy and a unique sound inspired by their namesakes: “Hot Club” from the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli’s Hot Club of France; and “Cowtown” from the western swing influence of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.

“You can’t get much closer to the roots of western swing music than Bob Wills and his band,” said PAS director Ronna Kalish. “Wills, who had a long career from 1929 to 1969, was known as ‘The King of Western Swing,’ and this young musical trio certainly honors that tradition,” she said.

“And, we have two special treats for the evening: Bill Giebitz and Jeanne Dixon, who perform under the name ‘Unplug the Couch,’ will perform a short opening set,” continued Kalish.

Giebitz, a charter member of The Vigilante Band and local luthier, plays guitar. Dixon, on fiddle and mandolin, is a natural health practitioner in Socorro who shares vocal duties with her spouse in performing original swing-folk music.

“Also, we’ll be carving out plenty of floor space in the Macey Center auditorium for swing dancers of all ages,” Kalish said. “I think it’s going to be a very entertaining evening for everyone.

“For those who would like a few hints on swing dance before getting out on the floor. We’ll have a free-with-a-concert-ticket, one-hour beginning swing dance class prior to the concert, 6-7 p.m., in Macey Center, given by New Mexico Tech student dancers Amanda Innis and Brian Senft.”

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $8 for youth, and are available online at www.nmtpas.org, or at the New Mexico Tech cashier’s office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.