Jumping Hot Club
6th November 2015
Until Wednesday I’d never heard of Jerron ‘Blind-boy’ Paxton but as is the professional thing to do prior to reviewing a gig, I had a peep at him on YouTube. Two hours later I had to force myself to turn the computer off and get back to the job that pays the rent.
48hrs later I was thrilled to see Cluny II pretty full of excited fans of all ages; from 20yr old hipsters to 70 yr old hippies.
On arrival I asked who the support act was and the response was ‘Jerron’! Wow; the guy was so confident he was doing two sets – I liked him even more, already.
Wearing his best Osh-Kosh dungarees, Keds, white dress shirt and a beaming smile, Paxton spent a few seconds re-tuning his fiddle before setting the room on fire with a scorching instrumental that received some of the loudest applause I’ve heard in this venue for years.
As he changed instruments Jerron (pronounced Jer-Ron) asked if everyone present was from America, and a woman in the front row shouted she was from Alabama. The ever smiling singer flirted outrageously with her before asking which song she’d like him to play. The woman instantly got ‘brain freeze’ much to the crowd’s delight.
Now with guitar in hand he dedicated a song (possibly) called Sweet Ludella to her; then followed that with a dainty Alabama Bound.
My eyes were nearly popping out of my head as I tried to keep up with his intricate finger picking style on Mississippi Bound and the applause afterwards was even louder than the previous four songs put together.
As a newcomer to Jerron Paxton I wasn’t up to speed with song titles; but on a night like this that’s not really important; as it was all about the performance; and what a performance it was.
Of the songs I did recognise was An Ugly Woman Said No; which had a pantomime style introduction and combined with the song itself, raised more laughs from me than the last two times I visited a Comedy Club. Who says the Blues has to be miserable?
As well as being an expert guitarist and fiddle player the native of Watts, LA somehow managed to make the banjo sound almost Classical, and when he blew his harmonica time appeared to stand still at times.
Paxton started the second set with a lament on the fiddle (possibly) called the Washington March, that was based on a bagpipe tune; and he managed to recreate the drone of that much maligned instrument as well as using the wooden stage to tap out a rhythm with his feet. You had to be there’; and I recommend you do ASAP.
Afterwards I chatted to some friends as I eavesdropped on other conversations and everyone was excitedly chattering about what they’d just witnessed, with his virtuosity on all four instruments garnering glowing praise and his voice; well it was an absolute joy; deep, sweet and truly authentic – perfect for Country-Blues like this.
Then, of course there are the songs themselves; some were interpretations of Classics and some self-penned; and I’m not sure where one ended and the others began; such was the quality on show.
So, my friends Jerron Paxton is definitely a name to watch; even without national TV or radio coverage he is destined to be a star in the very, very near future.
You heard it here first.