Imagine a smorgasbord of Cab Calloway, circus sideshow, KISS, cabaret, Hee Haw and Robert Johnson served up at Andy Kaufman's bat-mitzvah. A joyous mixture of the absurd and sublime, the seven-piece ensemble gracefully blends a musical amalgam of Hokum Blues, Hillbilly Swing, Country and Hot Jazz. Make sure and check out the VIDEO section to see the troops in hot action...
White Ghost Shivers have won an Austin Music Award for five years running. Most recently, at the 2012 Austin Music Awards, the band won for the "Best None of the Above" category, placed second in "Jazz", and received various individual awards. Cella Blue placed third in overall "Female Vocals", Jonathan Doyle placed ninth in "Horns", and Westen Borghesi placed 4th for "Miscellaneous Instrument". Also, Will Wynn, Austin's Mayor, has deemed November 16th as "White Ghost Shivers Day".
White Ghost Shivers have toured Europe twice and have been deemed by many as "The Best Band in the World", due to their outrageously entertaining live shows coupled with crippling musical ability.
White Ghost Shivers opened for CAKE on New Year's Eve 2010 in Austin, and for "Kitty, Daisy, Lewis" on New Year's Eve 2009 in Berlin.
Exclusively represented for performing arts venues and colleges by: Auburn Moon Agency 800-566-6653
All other bookings: Booking@whiteghostshivers.com
Hot Thomas - Violin, Vocal, Tenor Banjo, Lunacy
Poppitticus - String Bass, Background Vox, Chillin
Smokebreak Slemenda - Vocals, Lead Guitar, Chain Smoking
Cella Blue - Vocals, Fun Havin', Dancing, Skirt Lifting
Shorty Stump - Vocals, Kazoo, Tenor Banjo, Ukuleles, Nose Flute, Baritone Horn, Tap Dancing, Antics
Duchess Doyle - Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Ukuleles, Jug, The Clap
Babyface Gray - Musical Saw, banjo-uke, Stride Piano
2003-"Hokum If You Gottem" Lp
2005-"Live on the Radio" Lp
2006-"Everyone's Got 'Em" Lp
2007-"Killing Tradition" Rock Ep
2007-"Flim Flam Follies" DVD
2012-"Nobody Loves You Like We Do" Lp
Best Band in the World?
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The White Ghost Shivers perform[ed] at SXSW 2009. The White Ghost Shivers jumped immediately onto ou...The White Ghost Shivers perform[ed] at SXSW 2009. The White Ghost Shivers jumped immediately onto our list of Best Bands Ever. That show was, hands-down, the best live concert I’ve ever seen. Period.
The Shivers are a seven-piece band, with an accordion, upright bass, banjo, trumpet, clarinet, violin, guitar. The music is an insane collision of ragtime, jazz, swing, bluegrass, cabaret, vaudeville, burlesque, Hostess Twinkie, caffeine and Tilt-a-Whirl. It’s about twenty different kinds of infectious; I was actually jumping around and dancing uncontrollably, which was fairly amazing considering that a) I don’t like to dance to stuff I don’t know, and b) I generally stand pretty still at concerts, the better to pay attention.
Just as enjoyable as the music is the stage show. It’s rare to see a band with such stage presence. The Shivers have been playing together for a long time, and it shows; they enjoy themselves on stage, and go to great lengths to make sure the audience has fun as well. Vocalist Cella Blue carries a bag of tricks, including candy, kazoos and whistles to throw to the audience. Banjo player Shorty Borgasm makes the most of his stick-on handlebar mustache and plays a mean nose flute.
Violinist Curtains and lead guitarist Smokebreak Slemenda take turns at the microphone as well, and when someone’s not singing or playing, they’re apt to be swing dancing or showing off their Charleston skills. It’s an infectious mix, and there are always people on their feet and dancing at Shivers shows. This is not music designed to be enjoyed passively. When the bar closed down at 2am after the SXSW show, the Shivers took their show out the exit door and into the street, performing their encore right there on the curb.
We liked it so much that we made sure to catch the Shivers twice more before we left town, and discovered yet another awesome thing: the stage show isn’t only magnificent, it’s not always the same. Depending on the venue, the Shivers can be raunchy or clean, lewd or child-friendly. When we caught their free show at Central Market, they self-censored the raunchier songs (oh, yes, you can combine innocuous-sounding ragtime music with graphic sexual imagery and the F-word, to great effect) and concentrated on getting the kids present to dance. A month later, down at the classic dance hall in Gruene, the Shivers arrived in overalls and checked shirts and put on an enthusiastic hoedown, complete with a “jug-off.” Check out their YouTube videos and you’ll be hard-pressed to find them sporting the same look twice.
Lexie and I are thoroughly hooked, of course. We’ve got T-shirts, stickers, CDs, the whole gamut. The Shivers say they’ll be touring this summer: if they come within a hundred miles of you, be sure to catch them. Do it.
Everyone's Got 'Em Review
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Too bad HBO canceled Carnivàle, its supernatural drama wherein God and Satan used Depression-era sho...Too bad HBO canceled Carnivàle, its supernatural drama wherein God and Satan used Depression-era showfolk as chess pieces, because Austin's White Ghost Shivers would've been naturals for a cameo. Born in Storyville's hot-pillow houses, gangster-clogged Chicago gin mills, and backwoods hillbilly hoedowns of the last century's earliest decades, WGS' bawdy sound is Americana in the raw, with an appetite for sex and sin as lusty as their Dixieland-derived licks. Yet it's somehow hard to imagine the Preservation Hall Jazz Band breaking into "Orange Blossom Special" like the Shivers do on "Shivers' Stomp," or mouthing the X-rated lyrics of "My Land." (Somewhere in South Austin, the Asylum Street Spankers are smiling.) When the lights go dim, the frisky trumpet-clarinet-fiddle-banjo-kazoo-accordion-upright-bass interplay – there are seven Shivers in all – cedes centerstage to Cella Blue's cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof vocals, torching up ballroom belly-rubbers "Weed Smokers Dream" and "Strictly Ornamental." Best enjoyed with a shot of rotgut hooch and a puff or two of that old debbil weed, two subjects the Shivers are hardly strangers to, Everyone's Got 'Em is a hot-blooded tribute to a less constrained time and place, and a reminder that the vices that created such wonderfully boisterous music have hardly disappeared. (CD release: Friday, April 28 @ Parish)
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The Austin, Texas scene has survived and thrived for decades, outlasting brief artistic novae from ... The Austin, Texas scene has survived and thrived for decades, outlasting brief artistic novae from places like Athens, Minneapolis, Raleigh/Durham and Seattle. Another notch on Austins musical barrel can be attributed to decidedly irreverent 8-piece combo the White Ghost Shivers, who harken back to the string band days of the Roaring 20s while adding elements of bawdy cabaret, bluegrass, swing and raunchy blues. Not unlike a volatile batch of bathtub gin, the music is potent, dynamic, a little dangerous and, once youre properly acclimated, easy to swallow. And funny as hell.
The instrumentation on Everyones Got Em is period-correct: saxophone, prominent banjo, upright bass and acoustic guitar; theyre all played with equal parts precision and abandon. The title tracks jittery rag is chock-full of cheeky humor and old-fashioned vibe. My imagination instantly conjured up the singing frog from that old Looney Tunes cartoon, warbling as several monocle-wearing Monopoly bankers jitterbugged along, fingers wagging. That was during the opening song, mind you.
The bands mixture of pathos and humor shines on Mama Said which features brassy female vocals intoning morbid lines like In the end the worms will have their say, all the while inducing Happy Feet. Its certainly the peppiest rumination on death, the devil and retribution Ive heard in awhile.
The Ghost Song creeps along on a brooding clarinet line and trudging rhythm, while the narrators quavering, almost strangling vocal describes the haunting of someone who once performed a terrible deed. The staircase-climbing-and-falling accordion adds to the almost visual depth of the instrumentation, which effectively conveys a gothic oldness and coldness. Its still a hoot, though.
The jarring My Land is hilariously disorienting, as a retro-genteel rag is overrun by the ribald modernity of its lyrics, which (among other things) mention mullets, Camaros and liquor store robberies.
The White Ghost Shivers give the impression of a particularly aggressive 20s-era band transported to the present and realizing the ruckus they make is not only novel but also highly entertaining - so they naturally step up the energy level another notch. Yiddish fiddles rival modern guitar leads, manic banjos pump out feverish rhythms and horns leapfrog and argue throughout the faster numbers, leaving the listener more breathless than the players.
The album is hyper and dense but features a good amount of variety. Kazoos accompany an endless barrage of double entendres in Toot Your Whistle, which makes one wonder if folks were anywhere near this randy back in the day (maybe Princes great-grandpappy). Likewise, Shivers Stomp puts lots of sugar in the hooch at a would-be barn dance, where the band appears to be hosting a nihilistic mass hookup. The Shivers swing while the cows run off and nobodys in any shape to care. This music is serious fun.
Everyones Got Em contains more lyrical and instrumental tweaks than I can count, but everything coalesces to serve the songs. Its a clever, dark and comi-tragic ride made more palpable by the quasi-antique setting and arrangements, and, if the bio materials are any indication, the bands visual presentation rivals the music. Austin, watch out.
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Better than cozying up around the wireless with a jug of wicked moonshine, the White Ghost Shivers' ...Better than cozying up around the wireless with a jug of wicked moonshine, the White Ghost Shivers' Live on the Radio foxtrots between ragtime and rockabilly with gleeful vaudevillian energy. The seven-piece act, best consumed live, is rapidly emerging as a darling of Austin's music scene, thanks to the time-warping annual Halloween ball and the recent addition of a sultry-voiced Cella Blue to the lineup. The Shivers recorded their sophomore album live on -- you guessed it --Austin's KUT-FM and KVRX-FM radio stations. Though crisper and more confident than their 2003 debut, Hokum if you Got 'Em, this release treads the same peculiar path, shaking up a cocktail with two parts hot jazz horns and one part carnival accordion, with a dash of burlesque kazoos.
Austin City Limits Interview
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YourTexasMusic: What originally piqued your interest for this particular type of music? Cella: Li...YourTexasMusic: What originally piqued your interest for this particular type of music?
Cella: Lindsay, that's a great question!
Westen: For me, it was a mistake. I just stumbled upon some old 20's jazz music and just fell in love with it. I was sitting in a coffee shop, heard it, and said, "What the hell is this?" I just started digging and went further and further.
Cella: And mine's from my parents. They were just big jazz heads and went from there.
Jeremy: I like 40s Western swing.
Cella: He brings in the bumpkin part.
Curtis: These guys actually turned me on. Omar and I work together and he was bringing me stacks of CDs. He said, "Hey, man, you play fiddle! You outta come on out." I started lisetning to it, liked it, went on out, and started playing.
YTM: That was my next question. How did y'all meet each other?
Jeremy: me and Westen hooked up after we both got into town about 7 1/2, 8 years ago. Just happened to run into each other at Threadgil's one day.
Westen: I ran into Omar. Omar ran into Curtis. Curtis ran into Mike and then we all ran into Cella.
Cella: I was playing with another band and I stayed to hear the next band because I liked their album artwork and it was these guys. I saw them and just went, "I want to play with them now!" A year later I fell to the darkness.
Jeremy: We've been continually adding people throughout the years.
YTM: How important do you think the theatrical aspect of your shows is?
Jeremy: It sets us apart from everybody.
Cella: To me, it's everything.
Curtis: We don't sketch everything out beforehand, but we're just goofballs and it happens naturally.
Westen: Rehearsing twice a week for seven years will get you real familiar with each other and we're pretty goofy together. And like I always say, watching Looney Tunes brings it out for me. I wish we could be wireless, and that way I could jump around and be an idiot instead of playing into the mic.
Cella: Wait a minute...you don't have to jump around to be an idiot!
YTM: Is there anything special that you do in the studio to recreate the feeling of your live act?
Jeremy: We play live in the studio.
Westen: We keep the mistakes, if there are any.
Cella: Wait! You forgot the dancing girls, the beer, the sex.
Curtis: We wanna do an album where we have a bunch of people in the room with us yelling and screaming.
YTM: What do you have in store for the Halloween Ball this year?
Cella: Dun dun DUN! Be there, or beware.
Curtis: There's a great band from Fort Worth coming down called Theatre Fire. They're one of my favorites.
Jeremy: As always, it's just a great excuse to party.
Westen: Lots of surprises for when people get there. But we CAN guarantee absolute fun and madness. Mayhem!
Austin Statesman Review
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White Ghost Shivers is made for dancing. This seven-member band combines jazzy vocals with a cor...White Ghost Shivers is made for dancing.
This seven-member band combines jazzy vocals with a cornucopia of musical instruments to create upbeat rhythmic music that encourages the listener to get up and shake something.
It is impossible to pin down White Ghost Shivers to a specific genre because their music encompasses a wide array of styles. Their songs incorporate elements from ragtime, western swing, bluegrass and country, and are each delivered with a bit of vaudevillian twist.
The Shivers are native to Austin and can be seen playing at various clubs around town. Besides their latest, they have released two other albums "Live on the Radio" (2005) and "Hokum if You Got’Em" (2005).
Their most recent album titled "Everyone’s Got’ Em" was released in (2006). The songs on this album deal with the Shivers' usual preferred topics of sin, sex, and spooks. The band prevents their music from sinking because of its darker themes through the use of fun rhythms and sexy vocals. For instance, the lyrics in the song, "Mama Said," contain very dark imagery, "Mama said everybody's gonna burn someday / Cause everybody gots those wicked ways / It doesn't matter if you try to hide / In the end we're all gonna fry, but the seductive alto voice of the Shivers’ female vocalist combined with a crooning horn and upbeat tempo of the drums, bass, and ukulele lighten the weight of the dark images, creating a swinging song that celebrates sin rather than warning against it.
White Ghost Shivers are musically versatile and the songs on the album are exemplary of their ability to switch easily from one genre to another. For example, "Mama Said" and "Little Kisses" are swing style songs, which incorporate the use of crying horns, rhythmic beats, and ragtime crooners, while "Slaughter the Hog" and "Shivers Stomp" use fancy fiddle work, piano, clapping, and stomping to create music reminiscent of a country hoedown.
However, no matter what genre they represent, all the songs on the Shivers' latest album make for a fun listening experience.
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Played Austin City Limits Festival Released "Everyone's Got 'Em" CD Won 1st Austin Music Award...Played Austin City Limits Festival
Released "Everyone's Got 'Em" CD
Won 1st Austin Music Award for "Best None of the Above" band.
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Released DVD "Flim Flam Follies" Won Austin Music Award for 2nd year, placed in 8 other categorie...Released DVD "Flim Flam Follies"
Won Austin Music Award for 2nd year, placed in 8 other categories
Released rock ep "Killing Tradition"
Track listing "On Dreams
Headlined 3 week European Tour. Won 3rd Austin Music Award
White Ghost Shivers is capable of playing any event in the world.
You name it, we play it...
* performing arts centers
* colleges and universities
* birthday parties
* private functions
* community concert halls
* theatrical productions
* baby showers
* and yes, your event, too!
We can be adult oriented, kid-friendly, or both.
Our services are available anytime from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
We are here for you!
To book the White Ghost Shivers, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Auburn Moon Clients:
Exclusively for Performing Arts Centers, Colleges and Universities:
Auburn Moon Agency
For New England, Mid Atlantic, Central and West, 877-566-6656
For South, Midwest and Plains 800-566-6653
Auburn Moon Agency
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There are no upcoming dates at this time.