ameripolitan awards country swing

Hot Club of Cowtown Review: Unique Blend Creates "Beautiful Music, Dangerous Rhythm"

Saturday, February 21, 2015 Cora

A night with Hot Club of Cowtown is something special. The lyrics from “The Continental”, a song they played that evening, summarized the event: “beautiful music, dangerous rhythm”. It was held at The Club MAC, an intimate and friendly space at The McAninch Arts Center. The floor was littered with cabaret tables and listeners sat under the soft glow of paper lanterns.

Hot Club of Cowtown at The MAC l-r: White Smith, Elana James, Jake Irwin Soon after the trio of Elana James, Whit Smith and Jake Irwin took the stage, the world melted away as we were immersed in a timeless energy and transported by the voice of the violin, guitar, and standup bass to an evening of romance and imaginings. We could have been in the 1930’s. It was a treat for all ages, perfect for a family night out or date night. Fans got hear favorite tunes live and hear classics they never thought they’d hear live.
Hot Club of Cowtown at The Mac The group doesn’t have a set list for their high energy show, but it’s a mix of classics, like “Ida Red” and “Slow Boat to China”, originals like Elana James’ “Reunion”, and new material. It truly is a unique blend of music, a balance of rustic and elegance. One tune sounded like the theme to “Jeeves and Wooster” if it had been recorded today, another was a boot-stomping, skirt-swinging dance song. There was nod to gypsy violin with “Fuli Tschai (Bad Girl)”, a spunky, flirtatious melody. Then the audience was treated to something slower, but full of old world feeling, so we could catch our breath and dream. During the second half, they handled a deluge of requests. Their last number was “Orange Blossom Special”, a whirlwind of notes showcasing Elana’s skill, leaving an awed audience knowing they have seen something great. The band announced after playing together for eighteen years they have won their first award. They won Country Swing Group of the Year at the Ameripolitan Awards. Elana James also won Woman of Country Swing of the Year. After receiving a standing ovation, the trio was joined for their encore by the fourth member of their band, Eva, the beautiful band dog with a dazzling smile and stage presence. She curled up at the foot of the stage and enjoyed the songs with the audience.
Elana James after the show as Eva watches from stage Hot Club met with fans after the show, chatting and signing programs, albums, and tour schedules. They spread out to handle the hoards: Elana at the merch table, Whit stage right, and Jake stage left, fielding questions about his bass and set up. Fans waited patiently to share stories with the trio. One couple first saw them in 1994. Another first saw them at a festival and were absolutely mesmerized by their playing. Their passionate music and performance evokes loyalty and a cult-like following. The love and appreciation is reciprocated by Hot Club of Cowtown. Hot Club of Cowtown plays again tonight at the Mac. For tickets visit or for Hot Club’s tour schedule visit

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