Musical duo Mad Tea Party to mix styles in show today | SteamboatToday.com

Musical duo Mad Tea Party to mix styles in show today

Margaret Hair






Jason Krekel and Ami Worthen, of rockabilly and folk duo Mad Tea Party, are scheduled to play a free show at 9 p.m. today at Ghost Ranch Saloon. Worthen describes the band's style as fun, irreverent and rocking.


— Holding her ukulele with intent to attack, Ami Worthen has barreled into rockabilly music with a wry sense of humor and lots of instrumental power.

As the leading voice of Asheville, N.C.-based duo Mad Tea Party, Worthen puts an amplified ukulele to work on songs that draw heavily on a variety of musical styles and cover topics from love to zombies. Her band — which also features multi-instrumentalist Jason Krekel on electric guitar, fiddle and drums — plays a free show at 9 p.m. today at Ghost Ranch Saloon.

When Mad Tea Party started playing about six years ago, the band was taking a more folk-oriented, early jazz direction, Worthen said. That kind of music fit her choice of ukulele as a main instrument, and it worked with her throwback-molded singing style.

There still are traces of those early influences in what Mad Tea Party does today, but the band evolves with its tastes in music.

"There are so many different kinds of music, so we have a lot of different incarnations as far as what genres we've focused on over the years," Worthen said.

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As classically danceable rock 'n' roll from the 1950s and '60s worked its way into Worthen and Krekel's record rotations, those jangling rhythms also worked their way into Mad Tea Party's musical mind.

"I play a really driving rhythm that's almost like a snare drum or a Jerry Lee Lewis keyboard rhythm. … So I'm keeping the train going along rhythmically but also adding a chordal element to it," Worthen said. "It fills in a space in the music that really helps it all gel."

Krekel added a bass drum, marching snare and hi-hat cymbal to his stage setup, and Worthen applied her ukulele strumming to the newfound surf-rock sound.

"Through our desire to rock out more, we just figured out what we could do to make a fuller sound, and people are really surprised when they come see us — they can't believe there are only two of us," Worthen said.

After finishing a two-week tour of Colorado, Mad Tea Party plans to do a run of shows with fellow North Carolina-based, honky-tonk-influenced showmen Southern Culture on the Skids. Worthen said the two bands share an approach to making music.

"If somebody knows about them and their show, there's a similarity to what we're doing with our live show — just kind of fun and irreverent and rockin'," she said.

If you go

What: Mad Tea Party

When: 9 p.m. today

Where: Ghost Ranch Saloon, 56 Seventh St.

Cost: Free

Call: 879-9898

Online

Learn more about the band at http://www.themadteaparty.com.

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