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Like your rockabilly straight up—no frills, no nonsense? You could do a lot worse than catch HOT ROD LINCOLN on Saturday night at the Foothill. (Full disclosure: Hot Rod Lincoln is signed to Hootenanny Records, for whom I also record.) This San Diego-based trio have come a long way from their unassuming origins; when they first started out about six or seven years ago, Hot Rod Lincoln were so incompetent that mentioning their name elicited snickers among local fans.
No one’s laughing anymore. On the heels of their third album, Blue Café, Hot Rod Lincoln have been touring the nation, picking up fans wherever they perform. While no one’s ever going to accuse them of being blazingly original (even their choice of covers sometimes seems rather obvious—we do not need to hear any more versions of "Folsom Prison Blues" or "Lonesome Train on a Lonesome Track"), they have become among the solidest blue-collar ’billy bands on the circuit. It’s almost impossible to reconcile snazzy, chop-slinging guitarist/singer Buzz Campbell with the rank novice he was a few short years ago; rarely has any musician evidenced so profound an evolution in such a short time span. Guess that’s what you call learning on the job. Bassist/ singer Johnny G. d’Artenay has always been rock-steady, and with the addition of drummer Dave Bernson (ex-Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs and the Blazers), Hot Rod Lincoln seemed to finally coalesce. The group’s recent performance at Hootenanny (Del Mar version) was among the highlights of the day. Also, these are just about the nicest bunch of guys you’re ever gonna meet, and you can’t help but root for them as they continue to exceed expectations every year.
by Buddy Seigal