Swing Shift

James T. Brown of the Lazybirds.

James T. Brown of the Lazybirds.

“Our song list is basically limitless,” drummer/vocalist James T. Browne once confessed to Bold Life. A four-piece retro act (with “Washboard Mama” occasionally sitting in), the veteran regional players favor selections from rustic folk and bluegrass and from the early-jazz songbook. And don’t rule out a gypsy tune from German-born fiddler Alfred Michels.

Once they’d nailed the harmony required of old-time singing, the Lazybirds were able to fly into other territories, including Big Band-era swing and blues from a thick cross-section of eras. It’s not about roots music as it’s commonly considered – it’s about finding the roots underneath those roots, and digging them up with panache.

Scratch all that: it’s really about shaking your booty. “I’ve noticed, playing out live, if there’s a lot of people dancing, it makes a huge difference on the energy of the band,” according to Browne. “If we see people dancing, we try to stretch it.”

The Lazybirds play the Purple Onion in Saluda on June 20 at 8pm. purpleonionsaluda.com, 828-749-1179.

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