The members of the Tucsonics are all-star musicians Alvin Blaine (slide guitar), Nick Coventry (fiddle), Matt Mitchell (lead guitar), Evan Dain (upright bass) and Fred Hayes (drums). They play a vast array of early Western Swing from classics to forgotten legends, with many cowboy standards along the way.
For Tuesday’s show, the band will present a musical journey of Western Swing music from its origins in early fiddle and dance hall bands in Texas to chart topping hits in the 1930s and ‘40s, featuring the legendary music of Bob Wills, Tex Williams, Spade Cooley and Merle Haggard, as well as the not-so-famous works of Jimmy Bryant, Johnny Gimble, Milton Brown, Tommy Duncan and Speedy West.
Three of the bandmates are well known to Academy audiences as the engaging players of Hot Club of Tucson. Classically trained Nick Coventry has been playing gypsy jazz violin since the age of 12. Matt Mitchell’s University of Arizona degree is in classical guitar, but he plays jazz and klezmer styles as well. Bassist Evan Dain’s career has spanned all genres from jazz to rock, pop, bluegrass and country western.
Alvin Blaine is a highly sought-after sideman who plays lap steel, pedal steel, slide guitar, dobro, banjo and more. He performs locally with Heather Hardy, Peter McLaughlin, and the Scattered Grass bluegrass band, among others.
Fred Hayes is one of the busiest freelance musicians in Arizona. A drummer for the Tucson Jazz Orchestra, he performs with local and visiting national artists too numerous to mention.
Written by Leslie Nitzberg, Academy Village Volunteer