Though the yelps and starts of a Carolina Wildcat or the sass of a roadside beauty queen are now de rigueur in rockabilly vocal performances (see: Wanda Jackson, Johnny Horton), it's tricky to pinpoint their origins. But regardless of source and influence, Jen Jones of The Camaros has mined the gravel pit for all it's worth.
Formerly a swing singer, Jones has pinballed to country, then punk and back to jump blues during numerous cross-country tours. Drawing from each genre to color her aggressively female rockabilly sound, The Camaros have developed a throwback style that manages to stay at once atomic and relevant. Jones' swagger and strut gives backbone to her delicate playgirl beauty on stage and in her lyrics, where she dashes the sexual repression of June Cleaver upon the rocks of 21st-century reality. Words like "I ain't waitin' for no prince charming/ I ain't waiting for the perfect man/ It's not that I don't believe in love/ but right now I don't give a damn./ Yeah, I'm pretty popular/ and I can tell you why./ 'Cause I'm the girl singer who's leavin the next day" or "Maybe I miss my baby's kiss/ But maybe not. What else you got" are wailed with Jones' hellcat southern first-smoke-of-the-day voice and rural riot-grrl attitude. She's as sexy as all get-out, but God help the man who disrespects this woman.
The Camaros perform one show only Friday night at Benny's Lounge. Admission is $5. Call 634-9309.
-- Kristen Sherwood