The Ladybirds
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The Ladybirds

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The best kept secret in music


CD Review - The Ladybirds
By Mat Herron
Copyright: 2007

“Billy, Billy, Billy won’t you come outside,” sings Sarah Teeple. Even if you could say no to a lady with a voice like hers, you probably shouldn’t.

Teeple’s pipes add the perfect amount of sexy, and Max Balliet sounds like he just downed a fifth of Jack, beat up some singer-songwriter, stole the electric and headed to the nearest honky-tonk bar for a raucous, raunchy night of hellified revelry.

Whiskey’s covers sound appropriate given The Ladybirds’ healthy affinity for blues standards and rockabilly, although they can’t outshine the “Grease” luster of “Dreamboat” and the jitterbug, clap-happy freak-out of “Dollface.” - LEO Weekly

The Ladybirds
'Whiskey & Wine'

Jaxon Swain has a name built for rock 'n' roll. Seriously, could you imagine someone named Jaxon Swain doing your taxes or fixing your garbage disposal?

Hell no.

A man named Jaxon Swain has but one purpose on this earth, and that is to rock, which he does so admirably as the bassist of rock revivalists the Ladybirds.

On their debut album, "Whiskey & Wine," the 'Birds -- Swain, guitarist Max Balliet, drummer Billy Bisig and honey-voiced singer Sarah Teeple -- administer sweet shots of '50s and '60s rock nostalgia.

Sprinkled with bits of doo-wop, gospel and early punk, you can practically hear Teeple's hips shimmy. She sings weepy over love lost in one instant and bubbles with teen glee in the next.

The piano keys pound like Jerry Lee Lewis on the Sam Phillips tune "Problem Child." The double bounce of the snare on "Dreamboat" was built for handclaps. "Magic Fingers" has the gutter shake of the Stray Cats and the tune "Whiskey & Wine" could kick off any make-out or break-up mix tape.

The history is thick with "Whiskey & Wine," which at times sounds like an audio tour of the first 20 years of rock 'n' roll. It's a little kitschy, but never tacky, and always a lot of fun.

-Joshua Hammann - Velocity Weekly

Album Review

Good rockin' tonight

By Jeffrey Lee Puckett
The Courier-Journal

The Ladybirds love rock 'n' roll so much that they actually play it — the real thing, without a complicated genealogy or a revivalist's self-consciousness.

If this were 1963, you might find bands like The Ladybirds practicing in every third garage, warming up by spinning a stack of Gene Vincent and Ronettes 45s — or anything produced by Phil Spector. It's all about girls, boys and possibilities.

The basic Ladybirds sound is post-rockabilly pop, with a generous dose of girl-group sweetness offset by Max Balliet's rambunctious guitar playing. There's a hesitant sweetness in Sarah Teeple's otherwise booming voice that channels the innocence of early rock without being too cloying, and Jaxon Swain's lyrics are clever without getting cute.

It all sounds familiar, but in a good way — as if you've stumbled across an overlooked gem from a time when irony was a dirty word and rock 'n' roll was going to save the world. Or at least Saturday night. - Louisville Courier-Journal

I know it’s flu season, but I’d like you to consider getting some mono instead. The Ladybirds recorded their new full-length Whiskey and Wine in mono, which isn’t out of step given the band’s rockabilly/old-school punk leanings. On Saturday, Jan. 20, you can see what vocalist Sarah Teeple, bassist-songwriter Jaxon Swain and guitarist Max Balliet cooked up last year. The Ladybirds (in a quintet format that came together since the record’s sessions) are going to be at Headliners along with Johnny Berry and the Outliers and Woodrow on the Radio. For the Ladybirds, it took a while to get the discs done and out, and they’re practically in a fever to get to share them with the crowd at the release party. (The album sells for $8 — same as the price of a ticket to the show.) Whether they’re adding new spins to Phil Spector and Chuck Berry (“Problem Child”), reinventing a bad-girl anthem (the MC5’s “Teenage Lust”) or coming up with their own combination of the two (“Magic Fingers”), this local act looks to the past with fresh eyes.

Now they’ve got Anthony Fossaluzza on a big Hammond organ pushed through a Leslie speaker, which adds to their onstage versatility. But any time they summon pure rock spark, like when the guitar and Teeple’s voice charge in on competing gallops through “(I’m Gonna) Spin Those Reels,” the Ladybirds make for the most danceable sound around. Now they’ve finally got the proof on disc. Call 584-8088 for ticket info. - LEO

The Ladybirds are a genuine throwback to a time when country music and rock were still in an awkward courtship. Ladies still wore dresses and men wore ties, but their songs roared with whiskey-fueled fire.

Saturday night marks the release of "Whiskey & Wine," a collection of Ladybirds songs that sound like a VW bus full of '60s surfers collided with a pickup truck loaded with rockabilly boys.

To make the Headliners show even more rowdy and rocking, Johnny Berry & the Outliers will bring their honky-tonk sound. Meanwhile, Woodrow on the Radio will work his magic on the turntables and the Derby City Rollergirls will skate.

WHAT: The Ladybirds, Johnny Berry & the Outliers WHEN: 9 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road COST: $8

INFO: or 584-8088 - Velocity Weekly


"Whiskey & Wine" Self-released 2007


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Ladybirds are a five-piece Rock & Roll band based in Louisville,
The group originally started as a project between vocalist Sarah Teeple and
bassist-songwriter Jaxon Lee Swain in 2004. The duo fine-tuned their songs and
future performances from home while searching for a full and full-time band.
Soon they connected with self-taught blues and rock guitarist Max Balliet.
Continuing to pinpoint the sound of The Ladybirds, the band played their
first show in Louisville in December of 2005.
Combining elements of classic Rock & Roll and Rockabilly, classic Country,
Punk Rock, Soul, Garage and Girl Group sounds, the band has shown its craft
to be unique indeed and has earned a healthy Kentucky following.
Since then, The Ladybirds have accomplished much in their hometown of
Louisville. In 2006 they recorded their first collection of songs, entitled
"Whiskey & Wine." In addition to successful shows in Bloomington, Indiana,
the band has performed in many bars and clubs in the Derby City.
Now a quintet featuring drummer/percussionist Sean Johnson and Hammond organ
virtuoso Anthony Fossaluzza, the band's live performances have become more
explosive each time they book a show. Teeple's voice (likened to those of
Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn) and onstage appeal mesmerize the audience
while the fiery guitar of Balliet leaves passers-by breathless.
In the past two years, The Ladybirds have shared the stage with The Greenhornes, Lucero, Murder By Death, Southern Culture On The Skids, Shooter Jennings, Unknown Hinson (May) in their hometown of Louisville Kentucky.