Bill Kirchen
Southland Ballroom, Raleigh
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

Bill Kirchen arrived in Raleigh last week with a two-piece band behind him and an artificial Christmas tree that illuminated with a foot switch. Complete with a Santa hat, the renowned Telecaster guitarist led the sparse group through a mix of holiday-related songs, as well as several of his own tunes.

Kirchen’s bread-and-butter revolves around the unique genre of “Dieselbilly,” a combination of rockabilly, honky-tonk and traditional country music. He ripped through one twang-rich number after another. “Run Run Rudolph,” which Kirchen labeled the “national anthem of Christmas” and which Chuck Berry first made popular, flowed perfectly as the large crowd at the Southland Ballroom applauded.

“Silent Surfin’ Night” showcased Kirchen’s considerable chops, as surf-rock is another genre in the guitarist’s performance arsenal. Stepping away from holiday music, Kirchen ended his set with a refreshing cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” to round out an enjoyable evening of just enough holiday music.

Bill Kirchen, “Run Rudolph Run”

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