Every music fan dreams of being called up onto the stage at a concert to sing alongside their favorite vocalist, and, in a carefree moment, lift their elbows in rhythm. Be free with this GrouponLive deal to see Wanda Jackson. For $13, you get general admission on Saturday, September 29, at 9 p.m. (up to a $26 value, including all fees). Doors open at 8 p.m.
As cohort Jack White explained, Wanda Jackson “was cool before they had a name for it.” And at the age of 74, the undisputed Queen of Rockabilly is still swivelin’ her hips, growlin’ like an alligator, and making records that turntables listen to when even their owners aren’t around. The title of her upcoming 31st studio album says it all: Wanda Jackson’s got Unfinished Business.
Critics and fans clamor for ways to describe her earthy yet unearthly sound. The Smithsonian Channel came close with its documentary title, The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice. Gruff as a pack of sailors, but unmistakably feminine. Comforting, but gutsy and cantankerous, like a goose-feather pillow with a wild goose inside. As fan Bruce Springsteen put it, “There’s an authenticity in her voice that conjures up a world and a very distinct and particular place in time. It’s not something that can be developed.”
Dressed in her signature fringe and armed with her guitar, Wanda transforms The Granada, a former ‘30s silent-movie house, into a roaring ‘50s chickenbilly sock hop where pinups of all ages swing their daddy-o’s across the floor. When she belts her signature rave-up “Let’s Have a Party,” that’s an order. When she sings her one-half rockabilly, one-half country twanger “I Gotta Know,” audiences are likely to propose. And when she snarls and hisses hits such as “Hard Headed Woman” and “Shakin’ All Over” (from the Jack White–produced album The Party Ain’t Over and heard on the soundtrack to Bridesmaids), she blows down the house quicker than a big bad wolf with a sinus infection. Canadian honky-tonk man Daniel Romano preps the stage for the queen’s arrival with a set of high-lonesome country songs in the vein of George Jones and Lee Hazlewood.