Herring/Ridgers/Sipe, Exit In, Nashville, TN- 6/1
As if a line-up consisting of Bobby Lee Rodgers, Jimmy Herring and Jeff Sipe was not enough to excite a Zambi enthusiast, throw in Fiji Mariner bassist Neal Fountain and Mark Van Allen on pedal steel. These talented musicians created a splendid vehicle for Bobby Lee Rodgers songwriting. Vintage Rodgers material like “Lighthouse” and “Going through the Motions” peppered the evening’s set. Each song overflowed with inspired play from Rodgers unique Wurlitzer guitar sound and Jimmy Herring’s astonishing guitar work. This band configuration also found Rodgers playing his electric banjo; an instrument that has been shelved from The Codetalkers performances as of late. Paired with the banjo and Mark Van Allen’s pedal steel, many of the songs took on a very outlaw country influence. Most notably the troubadour offering of “All We Wanna Hear.”
The solid rhythm section of Neal Fountain and Jeff Sipe demanded attention, which was hard to part with given the amazing coalition of sound coming from Van Allen, Herring and Rodgers. Sipe, a seasoned veteran of the jam scene from his work with amongst others; Aquarium Rescue Unit, Leftover Salmon and Susan Tedeschi Band created the perfect backbone behind the kit with innovative and precise beats. The symmetry between these guys was really exciting, and numbers like “Blow My Brains” and “Get to Know you Better” were filled with an adventurous nature and electricity. Under the influence of Jimmy Herring’s guitar the band created a frenzy of energy that at times hushed the crowd, while throughout the whole performance the band moved flawlessly from backing Rodgers vocals to outright jamming.
As the show moved toward a close Herring and Mark Van Allen created some unparalleled moments, weaving the smooth sound of pedal steel with some of the most reverent guitar work in the business. “Get to Know you Better” provided a springboard into the deep end and some of the nights most connected jams. As they took turns playing well crafted solos it seemed impossible for this band to have only performed together for a handful of shows and one can only imagine where they will be a few months from now as they take it all further.