Rockabilly at Riley's Roadhouse

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V8 Shakers, who played at Riley's Roadhouse in Tillsonburg on June 27th, are a local band with an unusual 'rockabilly' style.

Rockabilly dates back to the 1950s, sometimes blending country with rhythm and blues, or bluegrass with rock and roll, or other influences.

"It's kind of like the old 50s-60s music with a little twist to it," said V8 Shakers' Vince McGregor. "It's kind of like the same old sound, but with new words, new twists."

"We have a lot of fun with it," said band member Kim Ketchabaw, who was inspired by Bobby Harris.

"This gentleman right here," said Ketchabaw, nodding toward one the Riley's Roadhouse tables, just about filled for their June 27th gig. "His name is Rocking Bobby Harris. He's quite well known for his his rockabilly. He's in his 70s now... I met him back about six years ago, through my son. I was doing a little bit of the old country and I had never done rockabilly. He asked me to come and sing and play with him a little bit. I loved it, and ever since I've just been on the go, you can't hold me back. He's been a great inspiration. The rest of the band just wanted to do something different, too."

V8 Shakers started with Ketchabaw, who grew up in Straffordville, and McGregor from Booth's Harbour, hooking up with veteran musicians Wolfgang Beckman and drummer Paul Parliament from Tillsonburg.

"We formed a couple years ago, practiced, then we started going to events like Bayfest (Port Rowan)... for (Norfolk County Councillor) Noel Haydt down in St. Williams the night he got elected... we did an Education Open House last year. We've been playing just all over the place."

V8 Shakers want to see the growth continue.

"We want to expand and go and do whatever," said Ketchabaw, looking forward to a return performance at Bayfest on Labour Day weekend. "This year we're going to be the band right before the fireworks."

On Sept. 19 they will be playing at Ride-4-Kristopher, a fundraiser at the Drumbo Mr. Steak Truck Stop for eight-year-old Kristopher Power from Ayr who has a rare genetic gene mutation, 'THOC2'.

"Just kind of help out – help the little boy, as well as get our name out there. We're from the area, we know what it's like. We just want to be part of wherever we can go, wherever we can get rockabilly out there. There's not a lot of rockabilly. We hope to get the sound out there because people seem to be enjoying it, whoever's listening."

The June 27th show was the first time a live band has played at the newly renamed Riley's Roadhouse on Simcoe Street.

"We enjoyed being here," said McGregor. "It's a good place to start our summer tour.'

"Everybody knows Geordie (Dagg)," Ketchabaw smiled.

NEW RILEY'S PATIO

"It's in the process of being renamed right now," said Dagg, a business consultant at Riley's, noting the show would have been outdoors, taking advantage of their brand new patio – the biggest in Tillsonburg – but rain kept them indoors.

"We just went out and bought the (patio) furniture today. And it is the biggest patio in town."

Currently Riley's has jam sessions twice a month, and they will be scheduling live bands for the end of the month.

"They (V8 Shakers) will be coming back," Dagg nodded, "and we will have more coming in."

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