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It’s rockabilly time with Reverend Horton Heat at Fulton 55

Texas rockabilly band Reverend Horton Heat plays Thursday, March 17 at Fulton 55.
Texas rockabilly band Reverend Horton Heat plays Thursday, March 17 at Fulton 55. Special to The Bee

The Reverend Horton Heat’s Fresno tour stop on Thursday, March 17, at Fulton 55 is just one of more than two dozen dates the Texas rockabilly trio has planned over the next two months, and is a good representation of the band’s modus operandi.

“It’s just a lot of touring. We tour and play music irrespective of any album,” says the Reverend, aka Jim Heath, who started the band in 1985 and saw popularity during the 1990s rockabilly revival.

Within the past few years, though, the group has traded some touring shows for more one-off fly-out gigs on the festival circuit. It’s good money for an hour’s work, Heath says. The band can make as much playing a festival as it would doing a six-week tour. Plus, Heath gets to stay close to home.

“I like being at home more now,” he says of Texas. “Where we live, there’s kind of a lot of musicians.”

One of them is part of Reverend Organdrum, the guitar-organ-drum band Heath started as a side project in 2008. It also featured Asleep at the Wheel organist (and longtime friend) Tim Alexander. The band’s debut was released on YepRock Records.

Heath is diversifying his talents, it seems.

The guitarist recently started his own record label and has partnered on two annual music festivals – Horton’s Hayride in Southern California and the Elm Street Music and Tattoo Festival in Dallas. Both festivals fit Heath’s passions.

The Hayride, which celebrated its second year in August, started as a Grand Ole Opry-styled rockabilly show. The first year, Reverend Horton Heat served as the show’s headliner and the house band for its guest artists. It’s been a labor-intensive venture, Heath says. The band would have to work up a dozen or so new songs each year.

With the Elm Street festival, Heath partnered with tattoo artist and competition show judge Oliver Peck on a weekend-long celebration of tattoos, music and hot-rod culture. The festival celebrates its fourth year May 20 and 21.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

Reverend Horton Heat

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, March 17
  • Fulton 55, 857 Divisadero Ave.
  • Tickets: $20-$25
  • 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
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