Westport Roots Festival 2018 Artist Spotlight: The White Ghost Shivers
We’ve all seen our fair share of bands that attempt to pull off the music of some whimsical period of American history. You’ve got your Prohibition-era swing bands, Appalachian folk artists, Ozark Mountain bluegrass acts, and so on. And while many of these projects can be a treat to watch a few times, many of them have a short shelf life. There’s a nice novelty to them, but if there’s not much substance or originality, there’s also not much staying power.
Enter The White Ghost Shivers, from Austin, Texas – this year’s Westport Roots Festival headliner.
At first blush, this may look like your average old-timey swing jazz outfit – clad in flapper hats, zoot suits and an old-fashioned allure. But with almost two decades together, The White Ghost Shivers possess something those other bands sufficiently lack — an ability to thrust you into its world.
That world you’re swiftly transported into is a hazy, rollicking speakeasy in the wee hours of the morning — during a time before modern technology, where the gin was copiously poured, the dice were always rolling and everybody was wild, wide-eyed and doing the jitterbug until their bodies gave out.
One of the most eclectic bands at this year’s Westport Roots Fest, this vaudevillian string collective has been mixing cabaret, ragtime, Dixieland jazz and hillbilly swing music with a cantankerous tongue-in-cheek charm since 1999. The White Ghost Shivers have a red-hot energy that rivals any hardcore punk band, and it shows. Beloved in their music-centric hometown, the group has received armfuls of Austin Music Awards, including the Best “None of the Above” category in 2016 and 2017.
On May 18, The White Ghost Shivers drop “Need To Shake It” on vinyl, CD and digital formats, with release parties in Austin, Houston, Wichita, and Kansas City. Its headlining appearance on the Westport Roots Festival outdoor stage – on Saturday, May 26 at 10 p.m. – will serve as its KC release show.