James Leg cranks the ivories at Will's Pub Wednesday night


Coming from the swamp-boogie branch of the blues family tree, Nashville’s James Leg pounds out raw, growling odes to drinking, fighting and fornicating on up to two electric keyboards at a time, accompanied by a live drummer. But even though there are only two people in his act, the show is anything but minimal. As our own Bao Le-Huu said the last time Leg rolled through town, “As soon as he hits the keys, it’s with the sizzle and splatter of fatback on a hot pan. With hands that move like hexed tarantulas, no one cranks the ivories as hard as this guy. And because he can wield a different keyboard with each hand, he really fills the speakers with Rhodes piano, organ and bass keys. Few musicians balance edge and artistry like this.” Add in smoke- and whiskey-ravaged vocals that ape Tom Waits’ most “Big in Japan” moments, and this should be a must-see show for any fan of the darker, seedier corners of Americana.

with Slim Walker & His Orchestra, Obliterati | 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17 | Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $5-$7

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