These 'old hippies' are full of 'firepower'

By Thaddeus Miller / tmiller@losbanosenterprise.comFebruary 1, 2013 

American roots music will be at the center of a concert later this month from Bay Area-based Houston Jones.

The band is set to play the Ted Falasco Arts Center, 1105 Fifth St., at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16.

"All of us are pretty steeped in traditional music of all kinds," said Chris Kee, who primarily plays standup bass.

Houston Jones fits somewhere in the Americana genre of music; the genre's a combination of folk, country, blues, bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll.

Kee is a classically trained cellist who has recorded with Norah Jones and opened with the likes of Jerry Garcia, Lyle Lovett and Los Lobos.

"The temptations of popular music were more seductive than the temptations of classical music," Kee said, adding he keeps his classical skills sharp on his own time.

Houston Jones began in the late 1990s as a duo of lead guitarist Glenn Houston and lead vocalist Travis Jones, hence its name. The duo added percussionist Peter Tucker and a bass player, who was replaced by Kee. The latest addition was Henry Salvia on keyboard.

Individually, the members have played with or opened for artists Waylon Jennings, Bo Diddley, Warren Zevon and Earl Scruggs.

"We're a bunch of old hippies," Kee said with a laugh, adding Houston Jones is sometimes compared to The Band or Little Feat.

"It's a five-piece band, we've got a lot of firepower," he said.

Kee said the band plays regularly within a 200-mile radius of the Bay Area, and this year will venture to festivals in Wyoming, Arizona and along the East Coast.

Kee said the quintet performs best in front of moderately sized audiences of 200 to 500 concertgoers.

"It's very much a value-added experience when you're playing in front of an audience," Kee said. "The Grateful Dead used to call it the sixth member of the band."

Tickets are available at the door for $20.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanosenterprise.com.

Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos enterprise.com.

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