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    Mary Beth Richardson of the Banditos
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    Comparatively speaking, it was a sleepy Saturday night at Zanzabar the last weekend before Christmas, but the smaller crowd got an early holiday treat. While it may have been frosty out, the Banditos brought more than enough heat with a set that switched effortlessly and creatively between styles from rock to outlaw country to ragtime and blues. The Banditos are steeped in the classic genres that make up what we call Americana music, but they take each influence and stamp it with a sound and attitude that is uniquely theirs. 

    Banditos have a laid-back cool, and they are all excellent musicians. Jeffery Salter on electric guitar, drummer Randy Wade, and bassist Daniel Vines back up the front three who share vocals, awesome hats, and attitude. Guitarist Timothy Corey Parsons brings a low, backwoods growl to his leads in a nice contrast with  Stephen Pierce's southern drawl and a banjo that never sounds out of place on any of these songs, whether it's a soulful ballad like "No Good," a Waylon Jennings cover, or a kazoo-driven song about death. Welcome to the whacky world of the Banditos.

    Finally, Mary Beth Richardson, wielder of the kazoo and shaker of the tambourine, simply wows you with her vocals. She infuses every line with a fiery conviction that invites comparison to Janis Joplin, but also calls to mind the punk-rock intensity of Allison Mosshart (Dead Weather, The Kills). 

    Banditos are still flying under the radar, but a forthcoming album on Bloodshot Records may introduce them to a much-deserved wider audience. If that tour brings them back to Louisville, try to catch them the next time around. 

    Timothy Corey Parsons of Banditos

    ​Photos: Lee Burchfield

    Selena Frye's picture

    About Selena Frye

    I'm a writer and editor living in Louisville since 1996. I'm originally from the Blue Ridge of Virginia.

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