Charleston’s Whiskey ‘n’ Ramblin’ is a primitive rock duo comprised of Southern boy Patrick Blake on vocals and acoustic guitar and former New Yorker Keith Clarry on percussion and vocals. They specialize in floor-stompin’ blues-rock with a sense of humor, a touch of hillbilly campiness, and a taste for the hard stuff.
Blake and Clarry recently recorded a five-song demo in the drummer’s bedroom and released it this fall, calling it a collection of “swampy, Southern, shitkickin’, hillbilly blues.”
The lo-fi demo doesn’t aim for fanciness. On their hilarious sad-sack blues tune “Smokin, Drinkin’, and a Dancin'” — a fan favorite in their live set — Blake (a native of Johnson City, Tenn.) sings in a raspy, nasally voice about chugging champagne, whiskey, and wine despite or, perhaps, due to the fact that his bills are unpaid and his rent’s late. He prefers the fun of having a “sleazy and greasy” old time to the worries of adult responsibilities. If he misses a few high notes or presses a few nasty honkers on the fretboard, he hits the loud burp right on cue as the final chord rings out.
The more rockabilly “Dirty Dog” sounds like Mojo Nixon covering the Stray Cats. Parker and Clarry chime in on the thinly veiled chorus, shouting in unison, “I’m a dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty dog/She’s a clean, clean, clean, clean pussycat … where’s she at?” Sounds naughty.
“I think you will understand the genre we created for ourselves,” says Clarry, who usually bangs a djembe on stage. “Whiskey ‘n’ Ramblin’ is this town’s good-time acoustic duo act serving up healthy portions of both originals and covers.”
With stripped-down renditions of familiar songs by Tom Petty, CCR, and Bob Marley, the duo hits some of the right targets patrons expect any decent local bar band to hit. But that’s just the same old stuff. If Blake and Clarry put their songwriting skills to use and conjure up a few more boozed-out comedic gems, they could become one of the more entertaining bar acts in town.