Tyrannosaurus Chicken
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Tyrannosaurus Chicken

Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Blues Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: Wakarusa Music Festival"

“It was with a band called Tyrannosaurus Chicken, a male-female duo from Arkansas. With both musicians skilled in more than five instruments each (and the ability by both to play more than one a time), the two petite players manage to create a backwoods blues that’s a genre all its own. Fans of The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band would have felt right at home hoopin’ and hollerin’ along to Bob’s slide guitar, Rachel’s vigorous fiddle playing, and their raw, soulful vocals.
As their set neared an end, Rachel talked to the assembly as though they were old drinking buddies… and with such a strong local T. Chicken following, it’s not unlikely that they really were old drinking buddies. “We only got ten more minutes!” she yelled without mic assistance. “15!” someone shouted back, begging for more. Rachel continued, “We’re just gonna go ahead and shake ‘em on down for the rest of the time.” Apparently, that’s Arkansas-talk for breakdown free-style jam.”

- NUVO Indy's Alternative Voice (Indianapolis, Indiana)

"Tyrannosaurus Chicken bests the rest, wins Showcase It's 'psychedelta!'"

"But of all the thrilling features of the band, it's truly amazing how they can effortlessly balance between such oppositional forces. They're primal and progressive, foreign and familiar, abrasively gritty and technically brilliant." - Arkansas Times

"Concert Wrap: Yonder Harvest Fest, Day 1"

This is a bluegrass festival, but there are no shortage of variations on that. The two-piece Tyrannosaurus Chicken, from Fort Smith, are very much on the blues side of that spectrum, and dirty Delta blues at that. Using fiddle, banjo, slide guitar and kick drum and little else, the group cooked up a tasty sound with a lot of oomph. - TunedIn

"Tyrannosaurus Chicken: Eclectic music, eccentric personalities, and jurassic poultry"

By Alex Stephenson

February 24, 2015

When one hears the name ‘Tyrannosaurus Chicken’, a very unique mental picture comes to mind. Smilin' Bob Lewis & Rachel Ammons pride themselves on this fact. The Fort Smith based duo, who describe their music as “blues, freestyle, trance” have two things in abundance: talent and character.

“We got our name from one time when Bob was watching a special on PBS about unlocking latent dinosaur genes in chicken embryos.” Rachel explains. “They were showing pictures inside the egg and he said it looked like a little tyrannosaurus chicken. I was like ‘That’s our band name!’”

While the name has given them their fair share of curious questions and funny experiences, it’s also helped bring their music to those who didn’t know they were looking for it. Rachel recalls one fan who entered a bar they were playing at in search of “monstrous chicken wings”.

Playing a multitude of different instruments at venues all over the country, the duo explain how they like to base their performance off of the crowd that they’re playing for:

“Everything we do has a hard drive to it,” they explain. “Even though we have real danceable music and a lot of bluesy songs, we’ll jam out in the middle of a song and just go on for who knows how long, easing our way back into the song when we’re done. Our music is very seldom the same.”

Both from musically inspired backgrounds, the duo first met when Smilin’ Bob played in a blues band with Rachel’s parents. Between singing hymns at church with her mother and watching her parents’ practices, she notes that she started her relationship with music at an early age.

“I would tear through their band practices, there were always instruments in the house. When I was about 13, my mom and dad got me started on the violin.”

Chuckling, Bob adds that he had a hand in that. “They wanted you to play something useful... like the oboe.”

“Bob was always a godfather type of character for me.” Rachel continues, “After college, I started to get to know him and sat in with his band, which went away. He always had this one man band blues show that he did though, and when I heard him play sliding guitar for the first time, I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever heard in my life - and I wanted to do that.”

Performing together now for 7 years, Tyrannosaurus Chicken have put together three albums so far (two studio and one live) with a fourth expected this spring.

When they’re not playing their numerous instruments for crowds ranging between 5 and 40,000, both can be found fixing instruments in their free time. “Bob’s a luthier.” Rachel explains. “He can put things together from splinters. Now, he’s taught me how to do it. I’m basically his apprentice.”

In addition to mentoring and helping forge the musical career of his bandmate, Smilin’ Bob has made a habit of collecting life experiences. From serving in the military, teaching karate, working on a railroad, owning a satellite business, working on dig sites as an amateur archaeologist, administrating a nursing home, and spending time as an artist, sign maker, and even a farmer - Rachel notes that Bob had already done more by 18 than she has at 29.

Tyrannosaurus Chicken is a duo unlike any other. With sheer talent and a flair for the unusual, they offer an auditory experience customized for each audience.

When asked how they would describe themselves to new listeners, Smilin’ Bob laughingly adds “Rachel is really beautiful, cool, and talented. Bob is just batsh*t crazy - that pretty well covers it.”

Upcoming album news and tour dates can be found on the duo’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/T.Chikn - reddirtnation.com

"Rachel Ammons and Smilin' Bob Lewis show True Grit as one of Mudstomp Records' premier acts"

"...Arkansas mountain bluegrass, delta blues, and historic folk, is blended into its own personality with an arsenal of instruments that include guitar, violin, banjo, kick-drum, bells, whistles, and noise-makers of all sorts.

The vocal range is tremendous, with Smilin’ Bob’s rugged lows, and Rachel’s soul-stirring mids and highs. Bob is an incredible blues guitarist, and Rachel is an excellent violinist; but they keep the audience amazed with each one’s ability to
play the instruments in this musical arsenal interchangeably.

Even though Tyrannosaurus Chicken’s musical
mainstay is this signature blend of genres and sound, they were perfect for the role of True Grit, 1880’s Fort Smith musicians. In addition to their constant touring
and performances, Smilin’ Bob and Rachel are Civil War re-enactors that participate with the National Park Service in the Fort Smith area. Bob and Rachel arrived at
Malco Cinema in full 1880’s attire. Bob, with his felt top hat, steel-rimmed glasses, and frock coat; Rachel, with her parasol, hat, full dress and bustle, complete with
a Rooster Cogburn eye-patch; looked as though they stepped right out of the True Grit movie screen. Utilizing violin and banjo, they performed acoustically, such
1880’s favorites as “Shady Grove”, “Deep Blue Sea”, “Sugar Baby” and “Train on the Island”. Tyrannosaurus Chicken truly exhibited their wide range of musical talent, and mastery of traditional music and instruments. They added a very authentic and
entertaining touch to the True Grit premiere." - Nightflying Magazine


teaser dance track from the new album...someone commented that this vid doesn't do us justice -- but that's okay! you get the idea - mudstomp


up jumped the devil, re-arranged. originally by Robert Johnson - at george's majestic - mudstomp

"2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One: Tyrannosaurus Chicken"

Both multi-instrumentalists separated by decades, Rachel Ammons and Smilin' Bob Lewis deconstruct the blues into a primal, raucous four on the floor attack of sawing fiddle, finger-picked guitar and trance-inducing bass drum. Shockingly tight one verse and gleefully atonal the next, the duo is definitely the most left-of-the-dial semifinalist of the whole shebang.

Think: Leadbelly acing the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. - Arkansas Times

"Tastes like T. Chicken"

"After Tyrannosaurus Chicken wrapped up a ferocious, rollicking set of rejiggered Delta blues, everyone from the mob in front of the stage to the barflies in the back stood as one massive, gobsmacked body of dropped jaws and pumping fists. The rambling duo stomped, hollered and slid through ... well, something nearly impossible to cleanly define. Post-primal blues? Delta garage rock? Electric hill trance?"

"Whatever the hell it was, Tyrannosaurus Chicken left with an invitation to the Showcase finals, not to mention a couple hundred new admirers to add to its already-exploding, well-deserved cult following." - Arkansas Times

"Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Judges commentary on Tyrannosaurus Chicken"

"Killer band, killer name. They love what they do and it shows. All that's great about southern everything. Refreshing as hell."

"Beautiful, authentic, original, kick-ass, wonderful, ARKANSAS."

"Cons: not much at all. Bad-ass and raw."

"So original! Love their rap/bluegrass context. Sexy, sassy and dexterous."
- Arkansas Times


Hillbillie Gothic (live)
Attack of the Chicken (studio)

from the band:

Some of our songs get played on the radio sometimes and we have had a few independent films approach us to use them.
we have also written specifically for movie soundtracks and we like that a lot.
We just love to play, we love making people happy and dance, and we Love our fans!



Tyrannosaurus Chicken is a duo unlike any other. With sheer talent and a flair for the unusual, they offer an auditory experience customized for each audience. 

When asked how they would describe themselves to new listeners, Smilin’ Bob laughingly adds “Rachel is really beautiful, cool, and talented. Bob is just batsh*t crazy - that pretty well covers it.”

Raw and (mostly) unscripted, TChiKN gets everyone in the room involved. after the more out-there jams fans have asked how they used backing tracks or loop pedals so well with all the changes they do..but there are no loops. "entrancing" and "epic" are the words many have used to describe their sometimes 3 (or more) hour long dance-floor-rocking sets.


Smilin' Bob identified with the Delta Blues from the very beginning, growing up in a small town where he was exposed to it by his coal miner father's African American friends on front porches and house parties.

After Rachel got back from college and 10 years of classical violin, she heard her family friend Smilin' Bob play some slide guitar and was instantly hooked. She lost some of the classical rigidity, they both stretched the limits and T-CHiKN (named for scientific research unlocking dinosaur DNA in the common chicken embryo) was born.

Their influences include jump blues, swing and piedmont blues, delta, rock, southern gospel, dance/trance.

Favorite artists include Robert Johnson, LCD Soundsystem, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Howlin' Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, Son House, Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin, Mississippi Fred MacDowell, ZZ Top, Bo Diddley, Bessie Smith, Ikey Robinson, Alfonso Trent, R.L. Burnside, Blind Willie Johnson...the list goes on...

Band Members