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KIM LENZ and Her Jaguars
Nominated for: Rockabilly/Swing
Lenz is a bit upset she wasn't nominated in the female vocalist category — which she won only last year; she takes the slight with good-humored hurt, but she has a point — after all, who the hell is Shara? (He writes, meaning no offense.) But Lenz shouldn't take offense at the nominating committee's silly oversight. Besides, wouldn't she rather her whole band get the nod rather than just her alone? Indeed, Lenz's music is about the entire package — not just her retro good looks and 1950s fashion and Wanda Jackson pipes, but the old-school band behind her kicking a yesterday sound into tomorrow.
On the band's just-released self-titled debut, Lenz and the boys strive to recreate a music that died the moment Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran got banged up in their infamous car wreck; rockabilly lived and died so quickly, it remained the most intact sound in rock and roll history, and Lenz's Jaguars keep hope alive by playing it so straight, you could use it as a level. Indeed, the record, with all the instruments recorded at the same time direct to one-track, sounds as though it was recorded from a distance. It's the work of fetishists who abhor modern technology and clean sound, who adore songs about kissin' and tellin', drivin' and dancin', and havin' a ball in the back of a 1957 Chevy. Lenz can sing, but more importantly, the band can play, and that's what turns a novelty act into art.