Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish emerged about a decade ago with a sound that harks back to the days when many considered rock ’n’ roll to be “the devil’s music.” Their home base is Grand Rapids, so the “Carolina” part is a misnomer, but their name isn’t the important thing—their gritty rockabilly and blues would still be fun if they called themselves the Michigan Lake Trout or Betsy DeVos & the School Looters. Fronted by electrifying vocalist, guitarist, and harmonica player Jesse Ray Cahue, who has a silvery voice worthy of comparison to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent, the Catfish have cycled through several drummers; Paul Jensen currently holds down the beat. Though the pandemic curbed the band’s activity for a spell, they came back last year with a rollicking self-titled album that earned them a nomination for Best Roots/Americana Album at the 23rd Jammie Awards, presented by Grand Rapids radio station WYCE. Last month, Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish hit the studio to track material for their next record, and with any luck you’ll get an early taste here of what they have coming down the pipeline—and in any case, the show will give you a slug of rocket fuel to rev you up for the week.
Jesse Ray & the Carolina Catfish Old Grand Dad and Shukin & the Ramblers open. Sun 4/16, 7 PM, Reggies Music Joint, 2105 S. State, $15. 21+