Saturday, August 20, 2022

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Sound Stage

Stutterin’ Jimmy is Silky Smooth


Stutterin’ Jimmy playing at The Underground.

Stutterin’ Jimmy playing at The Underground.

I’m not going to lie. The Underground isn’t my favorite place to see a show. The seating is wonky, the sound is only OK and the lighting is nothing special. It’s clearly a venue where the music is a secondary experience to chatting with some friends or playing a game of pool. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not my favorite music-going experience. The Underground does, however, have two things going for it as a music venue: It doesn’t charge a cover, and sometimes it books acts like Stutterin’ Jimmy.

In a very short period of time, Jimmy has established himself as one of the nicest, most talented, most liked and respected musicians in town. All of this is warranted opinion. Jimmy’s voice and songwriting immediately conjure up images of Tom Waits, and the biggest complaint you’re liable to hear about Sutterin’ Jimmy and the Goosebumps is just that it doesn’t play often enough.

First up, however, was local country/blues solo act, Ben Wantland. Wantland’s set this night was far less than his A game, which was disappointing, even if it was completely by design. Wantland made it clear from the outset that he was just the amuse bouche before the main course, and offered up a set that was both short and full of new material that was not all fully rehearsed yet. Wantland is a gifted performer and none of it sounded terrible, but the set felt more obligatory than anything else.

Jimmy’s, on the other hand, was powerful and thrilling. Backed by drummer Jason Kampas and guitarists Jacob County and Dennis Bloodwater — and eventually joined on stage by Eric Brown and his incomparable trumpet — Jimmy and Goosebumps’ nearly two hours on stage showed everyone in attendance why it has earned its sterling reputation for putting on a first-class performance. CV

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