Keith Jones and the Makeshifts are a 1950's rock and roll/rockabilly band from Cincinnati that leans toward the style of Bill Haley, but also plays music by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, and more. Keith Jones and the Makeshifts dedicate themselves to not only the look and songs of the 1950's, but the showmanship, energy and subtle uniqueness of the 50's sound.
Keith Jones and the Makeshifts has a lot of experience playing at festivals, swing dances and concert in the park series events, but are at home just about anywhere.
I've kind of been missing for the past year or so. To my surprise, many people have speculated and came to erroneous and sometimes damaging conclusions on what has been going on with me. The best way I can explain where I've been is that I had been unable to perform on a level that I'm comfortable with due to illness and some environmental factors. Because of that, I was forced to take a break from playing music.
Though this has been the case, I'm happy to say that my health has returned in the past few months. I'm booking shows again, and I'm excited to bring the kind of performance to old and new fans the way that I used to, and hopefully even better. Keep an eye on the schedule, as I'm reaching back out again to old and new partners as well, and that list should continue to grow at a steady rate.
We just got back from our third trip down to Florida, and while it was our shortest trip yet, we feel that it was the most rewarding. Each show was incredibly well-attended, and our fan-base in those areas just keeps exploding. We're not even going to question why Floridians are such big fans of us 50's rock and roll guys out of Ohio.
In Gulfport, FL, we played a big swing dance that's held on a weekly basis. The room was full again, and there were no complaints from us. Oh, and we had a little reminder of our last visit there, too...
Backstage at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom in Gulfport, FL
The next stop was Panama City. We got to be on the news again, which was pretty fun. Greg from WMBB was pretty happy we were back, too. We heard that he had good things to say about our album, and Kelsey got this behind-the-scenes video of us playing.
Immortalizing your musical efforts is an important part of being a musician. Until recently, it's not something we had really spent time on, unfortunately. We had a lot of requests wherever we went to make an album, though, and while I will say that we have made terrific progress from nothing but word of mouth and poor quality cell phone Youtube videos, we've now finished and released a digital download of our first album.
I'm sure you're a fan of being able to hold an album in your hands though. Our CD is coming out on April 24th and will be available for sale at our shows and on our website. A vinyl version will be available soon too, for those of you who are really traditionalists. However, we don't currently have a release date for that.
As we've said many times, thanks to everyone who has helped us make this happen. We think it's pretty incredible that our fans have allowed us to help keep 1950's rockabilly and rock and roll alive. We want to make another album next year, so head on over to the "album" tab at the top of the page and get a preview of our tracks. You can purchase single songs or the whole album there, too.
Last Friday, (September 26th,) we played a show at the Boone County Library. Now, I know what you're thinking... "Did you guys switch to acoustic folk rock!?" Don't worry. We still play 1950's rock and roll and rockabilly. In fact, we were surprised to see a beautiful stage and pleased with the fantastic welcome we got in regards to our first year playing at the Boone County Library. Here's some video evidence of the event.
And I can prove it! Our new fan and friend Christine captured this awesome (though there's quite an echo,) video of lots of swing dancing and us playing, including some interesting things happening on the part of the dance floor that we ended up on.
We've hit our Kickstarter goal! Thanks to so many people who pledged at the $50 level... And a special thanks to Patrick Cunningham for finishing off our minimum goal by donating nearly $300. Needless to say, we were awe-struck by this. We'll be back in the studio soon to finish up!
Meanwhile, you can still pre-order our album and receive the digital copy as soon as it comes out. If you like 50's rock and roll, you'll like this album.
We have a home in Charleston. It's called Prohibition. The food is insanely good, the bartenders know their stuff and the owner promotes culture - Dancing and good music. He even has a 1950's rock and roll band called Keith Jones and the Makeshifts play as a preface to club-dancing. It makes for an interesting, but good time. On Sunday night, though, we play for Stephen Duane, who teaches and puts on swing dances at Prohibition and also puts us up while we're in town. Here are some pictures -
On the road!
Early show set up - Because we're punctual and that's how we roll.
Stephen Duane from Charleston, SC, (one of our long time supporters and a great dancer,) gave me some info on a TV show there that we might be able to play on. We didn't get to play on it, but something pretty cool happened anyway. Charleston gave a 1950's rock and roll band from Cincinnati a chance to share our version of a Bill Haley song with their city, along with some great dancing. Take a look.
There are things I like about every swing dance and every swing dancing scene that we play for. I have to say, though, SwingColumbus gets a lot of things right, such as their energy, openness to newcomers, consistent scene growth and their support of live music.
About 4 years ago, we played at our first SwingColumbus event on a Tuesday. At that time, we were pretty new, and their scene was much smaller. This was pre-sax, and sometimes pre-upright bass, depending on who I could get. They had a venue called The Shrunken Head with a pretty small dance floor and two big steel support pillars that got in the way. We played for the small but loving group several times, but the Shrunken Head eventually replaced their event with Karaoke because it brought in more drinkers.
I have to say that I was somewhat surprised last year when we were asked to play again and over a hundred people turned out. Keep in mind, this is a weekday and there's a cover charge. Not only was I impressed that the organizers kept us in mind after a couple years, but I was also impressed with the immense support of swing dancing and live music that they had generated. Wednesday (8/6/14) was no different. After the show was over, I was informed that we had 130 people.
Now, I have to say that I'm not only happy at the growth because I love swing dancers and swing dancing. I'm also happy because they're giving people something to do that's fun, takes skill and physical endurance and is something other than drinking to excess. They're combatting the white-washing and one dimensionalism that is so often disguised as counter-culturalism currently... But before I go too far with this, here are some pictures by Doug Kaufman and Tony Bentivegna.
Our ever-present logo.
This seems to be us.
Some of the fine dancers on that evening.
Also, thanks to the SwingColumbus committee for everything, and to Mark Calkins for keeping a strong line of communication open with me.
-- For some more 50's rock and roll from Cincinnati, go check out our music page for a little sneak peak of our album. We have two songs posted right now, but we're still working on the album, with your help of course. Take a look at our Kickstarter! We're 20% there already.