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Dustbowl Revival at Sweetwater Union High School

Jim Worsley By

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Dustbowl Revival
AMSDconcert series
San Diego CA
October 7, 2017

To my knowledge there is no All About Jazz All About Rock All About Roots All About Americana All About Blues All About Country All About Folk All About Funk website. So I hereby claim Dustbowl Revival for All About Jazz!

A genre defying and highly entertaining eight-piece band, Dustbowl Revival was founded in 2008 by singer/songwriter/guitarist Zach Lupetin.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing and hearing a live show in San Diego as part of the AMSDconcert series. They weaved seamlessly between all of the aforementioned genres with mostly original music written by Lupetin in conjunction with the other band members. They were tight, polished, and sincere in their delivery.

From the infectious beat of "Call My Name," through the blues tinged "Wrapped Up In My Arms," to the horn section jazz growl in torch song "Leaving Time," Dustbowl Revival put on a delightful and enthusiastic performance.

An ardent singer, Lupetin was clearly the glue that bound it all together. Having two lead singers certainly added to the depth and dimension of their music. Sharing leads with Lupetin was vocalist Liz Beebe. To say that she had it going on would be an understatement. In addition to her great voice and range, Beebe had tremendous stage presence and just the right amount of sass.

The horn section of trumpeter Matt Rubin and trombonist Ulf Bjorlin were at home with any and all of the genres. They kicked and punched when they needed to and were particularly effective in the jazz element.

Drummer Josh Heffernan and double bassist James Klopfleisch were as steady, in the pocket, in the groove, or whatever cliché of that sort you like throughout the two 45 minute sets. They were certainly at the core of the many smooth tempo changes and progressions.

Then there was fiddler Connor Vance. Or was that Eddie Van Halen? Through his floor processor Vance treated us to what sounded like guitar solos, keyboards, orchestral fill, and yes, sometimes even sounding like a violin. His diversity was quite impactful on the overall depth of the band.

This show was just five days after the passing of music legend Tom Petty. Lupetin spoke with evident reverence for Petty. The band then launched into a brilliant version of "Mary Jane's Last Dance." It was sung and played beautifully in a respectful heartfelt manner. To unexpectedly hear a Petty song performed live just days after his death was moving and memorable.

Still, it was their original music that set the show apart. The rousing New Orleans style "Whiskey In The Well" and the Brian Setzer flavored "Drop In The Bucket" brought a lot of life to the party. They bared their soul side with the backbeat infused "Good Egg" before closing with the funk drenched "If You Could See Me Now."

I didn't know much about Dustbowl Revival before attending this show. We have all been there in that situation where the unknown might be disappointing or perhaps you stumble on to something good. This was indeed very much the latter.

Dustbowl Revival is a well-oiled and cohesive ensemble of jazz, blues, roots, folk...

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