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BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA


BIO: Brian Setzer is one of those wild geniuses who keeps the Earth properly spinning on its axis – a consistent institution who you can count on while pretty much everything else comes and goes. If nothing else, he might be saving American history from the scorch of its own warped magnifying glass memory. We’ve screwed up the 50’s – reduced it into one giant goof cartoon of crummy over-fattening food, leather jackets and endless sock hops. And the 80’s showed up more or less mangled on arrival. But Brian Setzer, a punk rocker grinning across a gorgeous Gretsch splashed through the neon of the 80’s scene with a sound that channeled the earliest primal yelps of rock n’ roll. Then in the 90's when every guy within a fedora’s throw of Hollywood wanted to form a swing band, Setzer massed a bloody orchestra and launched a blistering assault on all the zoot-suited mannequins cruising the scene. With an astonishing consistency and quality of output, an honest reverence for the American musical tradition and an idiosyncratic swagger that is itself the kind of brand that defies all contrivance, Brian’s on that short list alongside guys like Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck, or, hell, Hendrix who inhabit their own crazy little islands where the waves around them may change direction but the guitar licks are scorching, the drinks stay cold and the circle remains unbroken. Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL! is another elegant affirmation of Setzer’s legacy and a beautiful betrayal of what we tend to expect from guitar records. Betrayal? Ok, look let’s admit something. Even people who buy guitar records made by guys who make guitar records for people who buy guitar records know that guitar records are often not all that much fun when you boil them down. Usually there’s a certain quota of “see, I can do this” fretboard pyrotechnics, a few “exercise in getting a certain guitar tone” kinds of exotic moves and then the inevitably boring retread of some song snatched from a different genre. As a guitarist, Setzer has basically nothing whatsoever to prove, so Instru-MENTAL! skips all of those games. Instead, it’s a richly lyrical spin through songs where Setzer (as usual) makes complex guitar figures sound organic with a delivery that’s alarmingly effortless. If anything, its instrumental-ness was something that revealed itself along the way. “I didn’t start writing an instrumental record per se,” Setzer says. “As a matter of fact I wrote 7 songs with lyrics and then all of a sudden I just took a turn and started fooling around with ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky,’ except without any vocals. I just started playing melody chords and thought, ‘wow, this is pretty cool! So the direction turned about halfway through my writing. I had never done an instrumental record, but I thought, well, now’s the time!” The result is a record that feels like a Sunday afternoon with one of the world’s best players of any given instrument fumbling around the living room, picking up a dazzling vintage ’63 D’Angelico acoustic guitar, a Scruggs banjo or a signature Gretsch and with a quick knot of knuckle-work chiming out one gorgeous piece after another. There are charming covers in “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Cherokee” alongside ripping originals like “Go-Go Godzilla.” As always, it’s the kind of stuff that he can hurtle outward as far as the room allows – music that’s equally at home in the low fog of a smoky jazz club, the chandelier pomp of a big city ball-room or the crisp zing of a festival night sky air. It’s music made with real love by a guy who just can’t help but grab a guitar. Taken as a whole, Instru-MENTAL! is a kind of a hot quickie Cliff Notes on the thing that is the Brian Setzer canon. There’s jazz without pretension, country without cowshit, swing without poses, an infusion of blues that is deeply honest and the most classic form of rock n’ roll that in Brian’s hands feels as fresh and vital as the day those other genres slopped it into being. Some of Setzer’s secret is his inherent understanding of the deep soul-level link between Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Joe Strummer, Jimmy Page, Cliff Gallup, Son House, Chet Atkins, Elvis Perkins, Elvis Costello, Charlie Christian, Les Paul, Johnny Marr and Johnny Rotten. Some of Setzer’s magic is the fact that he’s the guitar-toting lightning rod who soaked all that in and shoots it back at us in dazzling bolts that carry his own unique signature in every note. He’s Brian Setzer, he plays a mean hot crazy pretty guitar, and that, thank God, will never change.

Latest Articles


The Imaginaries Premiere 'Thinking 'Bout You' Video Photo The Imaginaries Premiere 'Thinking 'Bout You' Video
by TV News Desk - November 18, 2019

Oklahoma husband / wife Americana duo, The Imaginaries, Shane Henry (guitar, vocals) and Maggie McClure (keys, piano, vocals), release the music video for their first single, “Thinking 'Bout You” today exclusively with DittyTV, the Americana and Roots Music Network. ...
Eccles Center Announces Cancellation Of Brian Setzer Orchestra Photo Eccles Center Announces Cancellation Of Brian Setzer Orchestra
by BWW News Desk - November 12, 2019

Brian Setzer and Live at the Eccles announced November 11th that BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA CHRISTMAS ROCKS! TOUR will not play at the Eccles Theater on December 10th....
The Imaginaries Announce Holiday Album 'Hometown Christmas' Photo The Imaginaries Announce Holiday Album 'Hometown Christmas'
by TV News Desk - November 05, 2019

Oklahoma husband / wife duo, The Imaginaries, Shane Henry (guitar, vocals) and Maggie McClure (keys, piano, vocals), announce holiday album Hometown Christmas just in time for their 25-date tour with The Brian Setzer Orchestra's “Christmas Rocks! Tour,” which begins November 15 at the State Theatre ...
The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announces 16th Annual 'Christmas Rocks! Tour' Photo The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announces 16th Annual 'Christmas Rocks! Tour'
by TV News Desk - July 22, 2019

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winnerBRIAN SETZER and his 19-piece ORCHESTRA will tour the country on their 16thannual 'Christmas Rocks! Tour,' presented for the fifth consecutive year bySiriusXM. The over 20-city annual and critically acclaimed holiday extravagan...
The Stray Cats to Release First New Album In 26 Years Photo The Stray Cats to Release First New Album In 26 Years
by TV News Desk - May 22, 2019

The STRAY CATS will release 40--their first new album in 26 years--this Friday, May 24 on the heels of three singles they've recently issued from the album: 'Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me),' 'Rock It Off' and 'Cry Danger,' the latter of which was premiered this past Friday at Guitar World. ...
The STRAY CATS Celebrate 40th Anniversary With New Album and Tour Photo The STRAY CATS Celebrate 40th Anniversary With New Album and Tour
by TV News Desk - March 07, 2019

All revved up and red hot, The STRAY CATS are back....
The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announce New Concert Film, 'Christmas Rocks! Live,' Out No Photo The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announce New Concert Film, 'Christmas Rocks! Live,' Out November 9
by BWW News Desk - October 29, 2018

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner BRIAN SETZER (and his 19-piece ORCHESTRA) has announced CHRISTMAS ROCKS! LIVE, the new concert film to be released on Blu-Ray Friday, November 9--just in time for the holiday season. Filmed inSanta Barbara at the historic Gran...
Stray Cats Mark Their 40th Anniversary With New Album and Tour in 2019 Photo Stray Cats Mark Their 40th Anniversary With New Album and Tour in 2019
by BWW News Desk - October 16, 2018

STRAY CATS will mark their 40th anniversary in 2019 with a new album and tour. Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom--original founding members of the acclaimed American rock and roll trio--are heading into a studio in Nashville to record their first new album in 25 years....
The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announces 15th Anniversary Christmas Rocks! Tour Photo The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announces 15th Anniversary Christmas Rocks! Tour
by TV News Desk - July 16, 2018

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner BRIAN SETZER and his 19-piece ORCHESTRA have announced the details for their 15th anniversary 'Christmas Rocks! Tour,' presented for the fourth consecutive year by SiriusXM. Hitting 25 cities, the annual holiday extravaganza w...
The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announce New 12' Vinyl Single '25 Live!' for Record Store Photo The Brian Setzer Orchestra Announce New 12' Vinyl Single '25 Live!' for Record Store Day
by BWW News Desk - October 30, 2017

The BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA--led by iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-award-winner BRIAN SETZER--have announced their exclusive Black Friday Record Store Day release...
Brian Setzer Announces 14th Annual 'Christmas Rocks! Tour' Presented by SiriusXM
by BWW News Desk - July 17, 2017

Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner BRIAN SETZER and his 19-piece THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA have announced their 14th annual 'Christmas Rocks! Tour,'...
Guitar Legend Paul Nelson Releases New Album 'Badass Generation'
by BWW News Desk - December 01, 2016

Much to the excitement of guitarists worldwide, guitar legend Paul Nelson has released his new album “Badass Generation” to critical acclaim! Grammy winning guitarist Paul Nelson was Johnny Winter's protege guitarist in the Johnny Winter Band....
Brian Setzer Orchestra to Perform Private 'Christmas Rocks!' Concert for SiriusXM
by BWW News Desk - November 23, 2016

SiriusXM announced today that iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner Brian Setzer and his 19-piece The Brian Setzer Orchestra will perform an exclusive invitation-only concert for SiriusXM listeners...
The Brian Setzer Orchestra's 2016 Christmas Rocks! Tour to Play the State Theatre
by BWW News Desk - October 21, 2016

The iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner and his 19-piece THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA will return to the State Theatre in Easton on Sunday, November 20th....
Brian Setzer to Release 'ROCKABILLY RIOT: OSAKA ROCKA! - LIVE IN JAPAN' This Fall
by BWW News Desk - September 29, 2016

Three-time Grammy-award-winner BRIAN SETZER's new concert Blu-ray/CD,ROCKABILLY RIOT: OSAKA ROCKA! - LIVE IN JAPAN--filmed on February 18 at Namba Hatch in Osaka, Japan--is set for release November 4, 2016 via Surfdog Records....
Pink Floyd Tribute, Gospel Brunch and More Coming Up at Daryl's House
by BWW News Desk - August 24, 2016

Daryl's House Club has announced its upcoming performances in Pawling. Details below!...
The Brian Setzer Orchestra to Return to State Theatre with CHRISTMAS ROCKS!
by BWW News Desk - July 19, 2016

?The iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner and his 19-piece THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA will return to the State Theatre in Easton on Sunday, November 20th....
Brian Setzer Orchestra Performs CHRISTMAS ROCKS Concert for SiriusXM Tonight
by BWW News Desk - December 01, 2015

SiriusXM announced today that iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner Brian Setzer and The Brian Setzer Orchestra will perform an exclusive invitation-only concert for SiriusXM listeners in New York City tonight, December 1....
Christmas Rocks! with Brian Setzer at bergenPAC Tonight
by BWW News Desk - November 28, 2015

Bergen Performing Arts Center located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey presents The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour, tonight, November 28, 2015 at 8PM....
Brian Setzer Orchestra to Perform CHRISTMAS ROCKS Concert for SiriusXM, 12/1
by BWW News Desk - November 20, 2015

SiriusXM announced today that iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and three-time Grammy-Award winner Brian Setzer and The Brian Setzer Orchestra will perform an exclusive invitation-only concert for SiriusXM listeners in New York City on Tuesday, December 1....
Christmas Rocks! with Brian Setzer at bergenPAC, 11/28
by BWW News Desk - October 17, 2015

Bergen Performing Arts Center located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey presents The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour, Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 8PM....
Tickets to Don McLean and Judy Collins, Fab Four & More at bergenPAC on Sale Friday
by BWW News Desk - August 17, 2015

New shows on sale this week at bergenPAC: The Brian Setzer Orchestra 12th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour – Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 8PM; Fab Four – Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8PM; Don McLean and Judy Collins – Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 8PM; New Jersey Ballet's Don Quixote – Saturday, April 23...