Dan Baird and Homemade Sin
It was this time last year that the news hit: Dan Baird, one of the most jubilant rock ‘n’ forces on the planet, was calling a time out.
The founding chieftain of the always high spirited Georgia Satellites and current frontman for an equally boisterous rock troupe called Homemade Sin revealed, through a late July 2017 Facebook post, his impending treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). That called a halt to the rest of his touring plans for the year, including an August date at Willie’s Locally Known with his all-star side outfit The Yayhoos.
It was grim news, especially from an artist whose entire performance career has been fueled by boundless joy and vigor. But Baird was hardly down-and-out when he broke the news.
“Dern tootin I’ma gonna give it a fight,” he wrote in the post. “I got a good piece of stubborn in me, might as well put it to a decent use … I’ll find a way to get stronger. Skip the damn crying emoji, please. It makes it feel like a death sentence. It ain’t.”
Flash to this May and Baird is back in the rock ‘n’ roll saddle with a Homemade Sin tour that took him throughout Europe, where he has long maintained a strong fanbase, to America, where he finally lands again at Willie’s on Friday.
“I wanted everyone to know that I’m fine, that I feel like making some rock ‘n’ roll,” Baird said via a video message on his website. “I just wanted to make everybody aware that things are okay now. So quit worrying and come out and see us. It’s more fun.”
Well, that will be pretty much a given as Homemade Sin includes two longtime pals — guitarist Warner E. Hodges and original Georgia Satellites drummer Mauro Magellan. New bassist Sean Savacool completes the lineup. Fans of alt country rock ‘n’ roll will recognize Hodges as the veteran guitar force behind Jason and the Scorchers.
A flashback pertinent to Homemade Sin: one of the finest and absolutely one of the loudest concerts ever staged at the University of Kentucky’s Student Center Ballroom was a December 1986 double bill of Jason and the Scorchers and the Georgia Satellites. Both were extraordinary, but in terms of sheer audio combustibility, the Satellites were louder. The show capped off an era where the Satellites broke nationwide.
Within a year’s time the band played at two long defunct Lexington music clubs (Breeding’s and the Bottom Line), the UK show and even a Rupp Arena concert opening for Hank Williams Jr. Expect Baird and Homemade Sin to be focusing very much on their here and now, though, on Friday. The band has a new album, “Screamer,” ready for release on Aug. 10.
Wheels of Soul 2018
With: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Drive-By Truckers and Marcus King Band. 6:30 p.m. July 22 at PNC Pavilion, 6295 Kellogg Ave. in Cincinnati. $23.50-$86. 513-232-6220. riverbend.org, tedeschitrucksband.com/wheels-of-soul-2018.
Among the more inviting traditions of the summer concert season is the annual visit of the Wheels of Soul Tour. The brainchild of the Tedeschi Truck Band, Wheels of Soul is appealing in its sense of containment and camaraderie. It’s not a sprawling day-long event, but a show where TTB shares the bill with two established opening acts. From that, an atmosphere is created where members of each act frequently sit in on one another’s performance. In past Wheel of Soul visits to the PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati, such collaborative moments have seen Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady recreating the orchestral psychedelia of their 1967 Jefferson Airplane tune “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds” with TTB (in 2017) and the TTB’s three member vocal crew joining opener Los Lobos for a lusciously uplifting version of the Marvin Gaye classic “What’s Going On” (in 2016). Drive-By Truckers and the Marcus King Band share this Wheels of Soul lineup with TTB. Undoubtedly, more exhilarating collaborations will highlight the tour’s return to the PNC Pavilion on Sunday.