"It was all Patsy Cline and Hank Williams in my house," says vocalist and award-winning saxophonist, Shirley Jackson of her Alberta upbringing, "but as we grow as musicians, we develop our own tastes." Seeking deeper moods, she moved to the Maritimes in 1988 and found a wealth of untapped talent. "The east coast is a real incubator for the blues. Maybe the rest of the world just hasn't discovered it yet."
A junior high band teacher by day, Jackson leads Shirley Jackson & Her Good Rockin' Daddys, a seven-piece blues-swing big-band with a wall of horns. Named after an Etta James jive, The Good Rockin' Daddys release its third album, When the Money's All Gone, on Friday and Saturday night at Bearly's.
"New and old, there is still a trend for this style of music," Jackson says. The album has several covers of contemporary blues and swing songs from American and Dutch bands. The rest of the tracks are "Jackson originals," shaped by the band's contributions. With some members marking 10 and 20 years as Rockin' Daddys, there's a familial feeling. Her son, bassist Jef Wirchenko, joined when he was 16.
"Grow your own bass player," Jackson jokes. But a comfortable, well-rehearsed band means strong energy. At Echo Chamber Audio in Halifax last June, Jackson says, "We recorded all the bed tracks for the album live on the floor in one day," an experience that speaks to the band's practiced skill.
"A Rockin' Daddy must have a love for music."
Shirley Jackson & Her Good Rockin‘ Daddys
Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 at Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs, 1269, Barrington Street, 10pm