Rochelle and The Sidewinders – Live at the Live Oak Listening Room | Album Review

Rochelle And The Sidewinders — Live at the Live Oak Listening Room

Self-Release — 2023

14 tracks: 59 minutes

Live at the Live Oak Listening Room captured Rochelle and The Sidewinders performing at the Live Oak Listening Room in Nacogdoches, Texas on November 11, 2022. The Live Oak is a former church turned into an intimate concert venue in the heart of Nacogdoches, an East Texas town about three hours east of Waco and home to Stephen F. Austin University.

Based in Austin, Texas, the band has been together since 2015 and tours extensively throughout the Lone Star State, where they’ve built a reputation for high energy shows full of fun and flair. Winners of the Austin Blues Society’s “Heart of Texas Blues Challenge” and two-time semi-finalists at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN, Rochelle and The Sidewinders’ 2016 live album received honorable mention for a debut album by Blues Blast Magazine.

The Sidewinders are Rochelle Creone, lead vocalist, Tom Coplen on guitar and vocals, Jim Trimmier, saxophone, keyboards and vocals, Steven Campbell, bass guitar and vocals, and Arturs Reirs on the drums. Creone and Coplen are The Sidewinders’ principal songwriters and Live at the Live Oak Listening Room, the band’s fourth full-length album, contains several songs from their third album, 3rd Times a Charm. George Storey of LRK Studios mixed, mastered, and produced Live at the Live Oak Listening Room.

Rochelle Creone, the “Texas Songbird” has serious vocal chops, which shine on tracks like “Gotta Get Going,” a 1940s swing-styled number generating a great groove complemented by Trimmier’s outstanding sax lines. “Party Time” features Coplen’s dynamic guitar licks and is a dance-funky taste of that fun and flair The Sidewinders are known for in Texas. Both “Get Off (The Couch)” and “You May Be My Honey” are brassy funky tunes that exemplify the bands fun, no holds barred style—with more tremendous sax from Trimmier.

Live at the Live Oak…slows down a bit when the band covers several well-known tunes, including Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and a nice, smooth rendition of the Marshall Tucker Band’s timeless hit, “Can’t You See.” The best of the five covers on the album is “Put Your Records On,” the 2006 hit single by English singer and songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae. “…Records On” highlights the versatility and intensity of Rochelle’s voice.

“Good Love,” a true “foot stomper” with its bluesy beat, Rochelle’s booming voice, and a terrific guitar solo from Coplen, and “My Baby Came Back,” a rockin’ tune highlighting, once again, Rochelle’s vocal chops, are strong numbers to finish out a magical night in Nacogdoches, Texas. Both songs showcase what Rochelle and The Sidewinders do best—put on a party and have a fun time doing it.

The challenge with live albums in any genre has always been capturing the magic of a single performance, along with the interplay between the band and the audience. Successfully recreating that chemistry on an album is the ultimate goal of any performer and their production team. Live at the Live Oak Listening Room definitely captures the fun and flair of Rochelle and The Sidewinders. The band’s musicianship shines through on each song, and Rochelle can definitely “sing the blues”—and anything else she sets her sights on.

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