I had a very pleasant shock at work yesterday. It was quiet and we were fishing for subjects to talk about when one of my co-workers brought up this neat band he'd recently seen on a DVD at a friend's house. It was a style of music that was new to him, though quite musical, he said. "They're called the Time Jumpers." It was a revelation to discover that there was anyone left in the world who hadn't heard of Western Swing before; I grew up so near Bakersfield that I guess I was unconsciously convinced that, not only did everyone know the style, but that everybody harboured a not-so-secret desire to be a piano player in a band like that (not that the Time Jumpers actually have a piano player). The chord progressions tend to be a good deal more complex than what you find in most country-ish music, but even better, Western Swing is very music-oriented. The vocalists do get their share of attention, but the musicians are given a good deal more to do than is usual in many other styles, and, oh, do they do it well, whether it's filling out a chorus with an breathless run of backup fiddle that spans most of the instrument's range, or wandering through a nice-and-easy steel solo where every note is carefully placed.
Anyway, here are a couple of clips from the Time Jumpers DVD, and by all means go over to their website, where you can read about them (some mighty impressive bios, there) and hear plenty more clips from their CD's.