It’s a match made in some sort of twisted musical heaven. Earlier this year, actor and comedian John C. Reilly announced he’d be joining forces with garage rock demigod Jack White. The pairing resulted in two noteworthy singles for White’s Third Man Records: one featuring covers of Ray Price’s “I’ll Be There” and Dolly Parton’s “I’m Making Plans,” the other containing covers of The Delmore Brothers’ “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar” and “Lonesome Yodel Blues #2.”
Not all that surprisingly, Reilly pulled off the role of frontman admirably. (As anyone who’s seen his portrayal of faux crooner Dewey Cox knows — the guy’s got chops.) And White, well, the man knows his country music, having worked alongside both Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson in recent years. But the best part of all this talent pairing: Reilly’s decided to take his new musical project on the road, full band and all. This Friday, New Noise Santa Barbara brings John C. Reilly and Friends to the stage at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club for a set’s worth of old-timey tunes.
For the live show, Reilly joins forces with collaborators and friends Tom Brosseau (Les Shelleys) and Becky Stark (White Diamond), and together the trio promises to deliver a set that’s as musically solid as it is conceptually alluring. A quick Google search uncovers a small but promising string of live clips, all of which find Reilly delivering deep-register croons with the smoothness of a seasoned vet. At his side, Brosseau injects a beautiful sonic landscape, replete with twangy slide-guitar sweeps and stand-up bass plucks, while Stark plays off Reilly’s masculine approach with her oh-so-high and pitch-perfect vocals.
Song-wise, you can expect a grab bag of country covers dating back to the 1940s, as well as a few twangy takes on some more contemporary material. (Rumor has it they dish out a mean take on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Go figure.) As for the funny stuff, rock star Reilly is just as good humored and affable onstage as he is on screen. In fact, this might just be the best actor-goes-rocker move in S.B. since Jeff Bridges played Solstice. In other words, get your tickets early.
John C. Reilly and Friends play SOhO (1221 State St.) on Friday, April 27; doors open at 8:30 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit newnoisesb.com for info.