(Glass Onyon) If Rock N' Roll has an official birthplace, Memphis's Sun Studios is it, the place where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and so many other seminal figures made their most sublime and timeless albums, albums that continue to influence countless artists in subsequent generations. Witness, for example, a new collaboration that brings together some of the progeny, both literal and figurative, of those rock royals.
L.A.'s Them Guns have been quietly building a substantial following, not just locally but worldwide, all on the strength of the trio's unique blend of influences and powerhouse stage presence, rather than flaunting the fact that their lead singer, Navarone Garcia, happens to be the son of Priscilla Presley.
On this new single, Garcia shares vocal duties with a Finnish crooner whose lush baritone is frequently compared to Presley's, Jyrki 69 of metal band The 69 Eyes and its rockabilly offshoot The 69 Cats with modern guitar hero Danny B. Harvey, who is currently on tour with Jerry Lee Lewis's sister, Linda Gail Lewis, and married to Linda's daughter/Jerry's niece Anna Marie Lewis.
Together these two acts meet up with punkabilly champs The Brains and absolutely rip into a fiery version of the 1958 classic written and recorded by Johnny Cash. While Cash's version sets a minimalist stage to tell the sad and tragic tale of young Billy Joe, this new version launches a maximalist shock and awe campaign of distorted guitars, soaring keyboards and galloping drums to amplify the song's latent energy and swagger. It's truly a triumph of making old things new again and, in the process, both celebrating the past without staying locked inside it.