There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Given that the current “swing” trend owes next to nothing to the music that the name signifies, it’s doubtful that the revival’s principals are hip to swing’s Western strain—but Ray Price certainly is. The 70-something country music lifer earned his stripes working with Hank Williams (when Hank was too drunk to perform, Price used to do it for him, and after Williams died, Price claimed Hank’s backing band, the Drifting Cowboys, as his own), but he grew up on Bob Wills, the architect of Western swing. Price spent his formative years in the ’50s and ’60s grafting a honky tonk shuffle onto Western swing’s big band-country sound, and in ’61 he initiated what would be the genre’s first rebirth with his Wills’ tribute album San Antonio Rose. (I prefer Merle Haggard’s homage, A Tribute to the best Damn Fiddle Player in the World, if only for the name.) In the ’70s, Price foresaw country music’s sea change and reinvented himself as an easy-listening slickster, so there’s always the danger that he’ll show up doing his Linda Ronstadt thing. But tonight Price will front the Cherokee Cowboys, which is the name of the swing unit he used for rocking parties back in the day—so don’t be surprised if the old guy’s got his groove back. At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $25. (703) 549-7500. (Brett Anderson)