Sturgill Simpson’s current national tour has been selling out dates left and right, and has most everybody in country music talking about his continued meteoric rise. But something causing some fans quite a bit of curiosity was the inclusion of a DJ outfit called Electric Western to open some dates in the Midwest, Texas, and on the West Coast. Were Sturgill Simpson fans all of a sudden being asked to sit through EDM and hip-hop sets just to hear their favorite country artist? Was Sturgill Simpson trying to tell us something about the upcoming direction of his music?
But Electric Western is not your typical DJ collective. Jacob Jones and Reno Bo have been throwing what they describe as “Dance Parties” every Monday at The 5 Spot in East Nashville’s happening Five Points neighborhood for the last six years now, and feature real music from real bands, even if its in a pre-recorded, vinyl format. Sturgill, though a notorious recluse while home in Nashville, and his bass player Kevin Black, have been known to show up to said parties, and Dan Auerbach of The Back Keys (also a reported friend and supporter of Sturgill’s), has guest DJ’d in Electric Western before.
“Yeah, it’s funny. I think people are kind of freaking out like, ‘What are these guys going to be doing at the show?’ That seems to be the sentiment,” Reno Bo of Electric Western tells Saving Country Music. “But we’re just going to be like a good old fashioned rock and roll band playing, that’s what we do. We’re going to be playing Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Carl Perkins, and some soul stuff, some Stax [Records] stuff, and Motown. I’m not going to be jumping around or doing any major stuff. It definitely ain’t Skrillex, it definitely ain’t EDM in any way. I’m just going to be playing records, choosing records I like and playing them in a row, and having a party. Basically that’s it. Pretty simple.”
But still, why have a DJ instead of a real live band open for Sturgill?
“I know Sturgill’s been to our party here in Nashville,” Reno Bo continues. “We’ve been doing this party in Nashville for like six years now. I don’t know Sturgill personally, I’ve met him a few times, but I know his bass player Kevin [Black]. I just think he wanted something that wasn’t a band opening up for him to open the night and kind of set the mood. So that’s what our job is. And we’ll just create a cool atmosphere before he hits the stage.”
One of the appeals of Electric Western in Nashville appears to be the wide range of people their parties appeal to. And taking into consideration the diversity building into Sturgill’s fan base, Electric Western probably won’t change their approach specifically for the Sturgill Simpson tour.
“I think we’re just going to do what we do. People seem to be cool with that, so we’re probably not going to be playing any more country than we normally would. It’s funny, people will even come to our parties for the first time from wherever it might be like California or Oregon or wherever they’re visiting from, and they’ll say, ‘We asked out hotel concierge where to go, and they told to go to that dance party, everyone goes to that thing.’ So even the hotels know about it which is cool, and everyone has a great time.”
So yes, you can keep your glow sticks and sagging pants at home. Electric Western is old school.
The Sturgill Simpson/Electric Western tour dates:
- Mar 29 – Tulsa, OK | Cain’s Ballroom
- Mar 30 – Fayetteville, AR | George’s Majestic Lounge – SOLD OUT
- Apr 02 & 05 – Austin, TX | Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater – April 2nd SOLD OUT
- Apr 03 – Fort Worth, TX | Billy Bob’s Texas
- Apr 04 – Lubbock, TX Lubbock | Lubbock Memorial Civic Center
- Apr 10 – Santa Cruz, CA | The Catalyst Club
- Apr 11 – Bakersfield, CA | Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
- Apr 14 – Reno, NV Cargo | Whitney Peak Hotel
- Apr 15 – San Rafael, CA | Terrapin Crossroads – SOLD OUT
- Apr 17 – Sacramento, CA | Ace Of Spades
- Apr 18 – San Francisco, CA | The Fillmore – ALMOST Sold Out
- Apr 21 – Fresno, CA | Fulton 55
- Apr 25 – Tucson, AZ | The Rialto Theatre/Tucson, Arizona
- Apr 26 – Flagstaff, AZ | The Orpheum Theater