Like an old-time barn dance in downtown New Orleans, the Bumper Jacksons pull together a vast array of early American traditions into a deliciously cohesive sound that strikes you right in the heart. Country swing, old-time blues, brassed-up bluegrass – these high-spirit wonders do and love it all. Powerhouse vocals and a hard-swinging rhythm section are flanked by a dextrous pedal steel and a brassalicious horn section. At the center of it all, is an invitation to join in – be it a rowdy dance, a moment of soulful intimacy, or a movement to make a better world.
The Bumper Jacksons have a steadily rising list of honors: Washington Area Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Best Traditional Album, Best Traditional Group; Strathmore Artists-in-Residence (2015-2016); Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Touring Artists for 2016-2019. Both Jess Eliot Myhre and Chris Ousley are award-winning songwriters, and they pepper their original sets with reimagined arrangements of traditional American songs. Their success blossomed from their simple beginnings in 2012 as a country-meets-city duet between Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, vocals, washboard) and Chris Ousley (acoustic & electric guitar, vocals, banjo) in the backyards, living rooms and front porches of DC and Baltimore. They crafted a sound built from their time exploring the smoky jazz clubs of New Orleans and old-time fiddler’s festivals throughout the southern Appalachians.
After Chris and Jess established the roots of the Bumper Jacksons’ sound, the band grew organically from jams and music festival-meetings. Dave Hadley (pedal steel), Alex Lacquement (upright bass), Dan Samuels (drums), and Joe Brotherton (trumpet) masterfully amplify and diversify the tone, rhythm and power that defines the band’s signature sound. The success of the band’s last three albums – I’ve Never Met A Stranger (2017), Too Big World (2015) and Sweet Mama, Sweet Daddy Come In (2014)– demonstrate the ongoing refinement of their scrappy-yet-elegant sound that dives deep for the caramel core of Americana.