Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Levee Town - Kansas City’s Rocked Up Blues Band

Written by  January 31, 2006

For this month’s band review I decided to go with the band we spend most of our summer Sunday afternoons with. We eagerly ride the 40 miles to the Kansas City River Market to join our friends for the “rocked up blues” of Kansas City’s own Levee Town. If you follow the Kansas City blues scene at all, you have no doubt heard of this band. If you have never heard Levee Town, you don’t know what you are missing.

Levee Town is comprised of Brandon Huspeth, Jan Faircloth, Jimmie Meade and Jacque (pronounced Jack) Garoutte. You may recognize the names of Brandon and Jan from their previous band, The Cobalt Project. Brandon in fact wrote several of the Cobalt Project’s original songs. Originally from Oklahoma, at the ripe old age of 19, Brandon relocated to Kansas City. A testament to Brandon’s substantial skills, he is the first call sub guitar player for many big-name Kansas City acts. While Brandon cites Freddie King and Buddy Guy as his influences, his raw emotion makes his playing style all his own. (Brandon also can add to his resume his ability to keep up with me on the old Jägermeister.)

Kansas City’s music scene lured drummer Jan Faircloth from Garden City, Kansas in 1999. Any successful band is only as good as its rhythm section, and Jan is rock solid with his beat. While he may have begun honing his skills in country music bands, his college experience in everything from jazz bands to symphonic ensembles have molded him into a very talented drummer. Jan lists Art Blakely, Elvin Jones, John Bonham and Buddy Miles as his influences. If you see Jan, ask him about the squirrel shirt Stephanie and I got him for his birthday.

Jimmie Meade began his harp playing after receiving a Little Walter record. Growing up in Chicago gave Jimmie the chance to study with Joe Filisko at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Jimmie further honed his skills playing with masters like Little Mack Simmons, Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, and John Primer; of course he had to sneak into clubs to do it. What better way for a blues harp player to pay his dues. Jimmie has also studied with KC favorite Lee McBee. Jimmie’s influences include Little Walter, Big Walter, and Little Hatch. It has been a great pleasure to watch Jimmie come back from a bad accident to be the hoppin’ around harp player we all love.

Jack has to be the elder statesman of the group. With 26 years of playing experience under his belt Jacque’s steady bass riffs combine with Jan’s beat to provide the rock solid backbone of Levee Town. On top of impressive bass skills Jacque is one hell of a vocalist also. With experience in everything from punk to gospel Jacque has a broad base of music to draw from. The list of acts Jacque has toured or gigged with is impressive, to say the least, including big name blues performers like Ace Moreland, Smoot Mahuti, Baby Jason & The Spankers, Randy McAllister, Glenn R. Townsend, Smokin' Joe Kubek & Benois King, Andrew 'Junior Boy' Jones, Smilin' Willie Guiedon and Wes Jeans. Paul Greenlease of the Mickey Finn Band calls Jacque one of Kansas City’s greatest bass talents.

The guys have their own website at www.leveetown.com where you can keep up with their schedule. A new CD is on the way also featuring all new original songs. Recording is due to begin in February. You can check out the guys out at Blayney’s in Westport on most of the Thursdays that they are in town. They invite all musicians since it is an open jam. Once again they will be hosting the Sunday Blues Jam on the patio at Winslow’s Barbecue in the Kansas City River Market this spring and summer. Come on out and join us for a cocktail and some kick-ass blues.

Story by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson