JD & the Straight Shot band know a thing or two about a knee-slapping good time. Their Americana-folk sound blasts and blends with lead singer Jim Dolan—whose voice is reminiscent of a young Johnny Cash and Tom Waits. Backing him up on vocals are Marc Copley, who also happens to play a mean guitar, and tremendous violinist Alicia Enstrom. Other band members include bassist Byron House and guitarist JJ Appelton.
Following the release of their new all-acoustic album “Ballyhoo!,” JD & the Straight Shot also jumped on a bus with Jewel for her Picking Up the Pieces Tour this year and soon found themselves at CFCC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center on March 18. The band played to a crowd ready to see the headliner on Friday, but as the show got underway last weekend the crowd let their beers sit while JD and the Straight Shot brought the music.
Even listeners like myself, who are unfamiliar with Jim Dolan, knew when to hoot and holler along—it was instinctual. “Glide” was one of their first songs, which briskly set into place the care-free world of a man sitting at bar singing about his youth. It set the light atmosphere in the grand theater, with smiles cracking across faces and shoes tapping the beats.
“Perdition” was a slower tune, something individuals might see at the start of an old Western flick—or maybe it’s because the song plays right before sunset—either way the guitar makes sounds of spurs come to mind, and the violin is a sweet addition.
One of the big crowd pleasers of the night was Alicia Enstrom. Her violin would make the devil worry about playing the fiddle anytime soon. In their title track, “Ballyhoo,” she brings the flame that sets fire to the feet. As she and Marc Copley played, they built a back and forth between them that made the air reverberate. The crowd shouted, whistled and hollered until the hands of both playing were a blur, and with big smiles on their faces the violin screeched to a halt. Her mastery of the violin is pure bliss.
The “Ballyhoo!” album is stripped down, but nothing is stripped away from their performance. The velvet maroon coat on Dolan immediately introduced what type of band they would be: one that loves to play together, doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and they just care about the music. Projected on giant stage curtains behind them they had their band name, but it’s doubtful anyone who went will need any reminders as to who they are.