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It’s Alive!!! 10 Killer Retro Sounds For 2018

In an era of manufactured pop, so-called talent TV shows, and Auto-Tuned vocals, Vintage Rock celebrates 10 killer contemporary acts whose roots run deep into the fertile ground of rock’n’roll.

THE TROUBLED THREE / TAMI NEILSON

Frank Sinatra hated rock’n’roll…“It is the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has ever been my misfortune to hear,” he declared in 1957.

But it’s easy to see why Sinatra felt threatened by this new, raucous form of music that made the old guard of crooners suddenly look out of date. Six decades later, while Sinatra’s swing has been reduced to an identikit parade of Rat Pack tribute acts, the heart of rock’n’roll is kept beating wild and free by a new generation determined to stamp their mark on the music.

“Definitely not traditional,” says North Carolina’s Nikki Hill of her own approach. “I don’t force a style, as that would just be a farce. Music of the past is a great guide and the best influence, you have to know your history. I think that helps people find their own way eventually.”

“I always paint with the same palette of colours,” adds New Zealand-based Tami Neilson. “Those colours being rockabilly, soul, country, gospel and blues which all compliment each other, springing from the same musical origins.”

From rockabilly to rhythm and blues, surf guitar to blues shouters, from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, and Spain, the artists collected here may draw inspiration from the past, but they’re never imitators merely trying to recreate a past that mostly exists in the imagination.

“I would say I’m pretty traditional, but I also love to draw inspiration from bands like Ramones and B52s,” says Celine Lee, who has done more than most to provide a voice and platform for rockabilly and country with The Ameripolitan Awards.

Throughout the world, the rockin’ scene thrives in music festivals, specialist recording studios like Sugar Ray’s in Essex, and dedicated record labels including Spain’s Sleazy Records, Wild Records in California, Western Star in England, and Bloodshot Records in Chicago.

It’s not just the major festivals like the High Rockabilly and the Rockin’ Race that have provided Anita O’Night and the Mercury Trio with memorable gigs.

“There are lots of smaller rock’n’roll parties worldwide with crazy, funny, lovely, on-the-loose people that have made us feel great,” says O’Night. “From Big Rumble to Rockin’ Swarm, from Shake -A-Round to Vulcan Rockers, and obviously the place where we played our first Mercury gig – Rock The Joint R&R Club.”

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