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L.A. Beat

Big Rude Jake to blend jazz with blues and rockabilly and more at South Country Fair

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Toronto born, Hamilton based guitarist/vocalist Jake Hiebert aka Big Rude Jake blends jazz, swing and blues with a touch of punk. Big Rude Jake plays South Country Fair this weekend. Photo submitted
He has been performing his blend of blues, jazz, rockabilly, jump, gospel and punk music since the early ’90s.

He will be bringing all of that and more to this year‘s South Country Fair, July 16.

“ I’ve played Medicine Hat and Red Deer and Edmonton. I even have an Alberta band I use,” he said. He will be playing South Country Fair with his six piece band including  pianist Graham Guest,  saxophonist Dave Babcock and trombonist Audrey Ochoa and a bassist and drummer to be determined.
“In the ’90s we converted into playing jump blues. But we swing. We really swing,” he said.

“It’s going to be a nice, big loud, exciting show,” said Jake, who is sometimes described as the godfather of swing punk.
“ It wasn’t well documented, but in the early ’90s there was a big swing revival gestating independently in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles and Vancouver,” he observed, noting the participants had  a lot of rules to follow about dress and sound, which he didn’t like, so he infused punk attitude  and his many different  influences into his band’s sound.

“A lot of the bands were very political and others had more of a mainstream sound that moved from ska to swing to neo-swing,” he observed.
“ And you had swing nazis,” he said.


 He noted he has a lot of respect fro people like Brian Setzer, who always does things his way.
“He brought  rockabilly  and swing to the mainstream. He was always very steady. He had that  personality that was ‘ I want to experiment  and I’m going to do my thing. We wanted to do that,” he said.
“ I’m more of a blues musician rather than a swing musician,” he said.

“ My music is a mix of all the music that has been a fixture in America in the twentieth century,” he said.
 He has several different bands he played with  and released his third album until a car accident in 2001 sidelined him and  gave him time to focus on his more acoustic, fingerpicking sound influenced by Mose Scarlett.

“Mose Scarlett is my hero in life. He’s one of my strongest influences. And I‘ve played a couple of shows with him,” he said, adding he was influenced by Scarlett’s style of folk guitar picking.
 He is hard at work on a new CD, though  it is a slow process.
“I’ve literally got 20 new songs on different pieces  of paper. I need to sit down and add different artistic colours to them,” he said.
Big Rude Jake and his band will be playing South Country Fair, Saturday night, July 16 at 10:30 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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