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The Center For The Arts Presents Merle Jagger Opener: Hellbound Glory

Saturday, August 20, 2022

7:30pm, Doors Open at 7:00pm The Marisa Funk Theater

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(Ticket price includes $2 facility fee for in-person events where applicable. Fees for online purchases may apply. Members:Login to receive your discounts at checkout.)

It’s often said that when it comes to summing up a person’s stance, it’s all in a name. If that’s the case, then Merle Jagger says all that needs to be shared about alt-country, rockabilly, swing and retro-loving guitar-based band Merle Jagger. Helmed by Mark Christian, whose own reputation as a top-notch axeman for hire provides considerable prominence, the trio also includes drummer Johnny Ray and bassist Gabe Davis. 

Given their influences — specifically, guitars greats Joe Maphis, Jimmy Bryant, Roy Buchannan, Danny Gatton and Merle Travis — their signature style is readily apparent. These musicians galvanize a style of guitar playing that became a standard for country Music in the many years to come.

That was a sound that first became embossed in the band’s debut, Rancho Los Angeles, a series of classic country-flavored jams and instrumental offerings. Now, with the band’s new album Trash Talking Guitars, Christian steps into the dual role of both singer and guitarist, while still retaining that instrumental acumen that inspired him and his colleague early on. Dubbing their new approach “Ranch Rock,” the songs echo a classic country style flush with tears-in-the-beers ballads flush with loss and heartbreak. Not that they’ve forsaken their earlier emphasis on instrumentals entirely; the album’s final entry, “Ranch Rock Revival,” delivers a robust work-out that’s certain to leave listeners dazzled.

Happily, Merle Jagger’s reputation has expanded into mainstream realms as well. Their music was incorporated into the soundtracks for “CMT Party Down South” and “Duck Dynasty.” Christian himself was featured in Guitar Player Magazine’s  January 2009 issue as one of ten guitarists chosen to perform at the magazine’s “Guitar Superstar” show presented at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

So what’s in a name? Quite a bit it seems. Nevertheless, in the ultimate scheme of things, it’s Merle Jagger’s music that matters most.


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