The January 6 evening with Victor & Penny was an absolute rollicking blast. The duo, whose not-so-secret identities are Erin McGrane and Jeff Freling, play "antique pop", the titular music of their debut album. We'd gathered at cozy Katerina's for the CD release party. (Having just enjoyed an intensely garlic'd and delicious meal of eggplant parmesan and lemon chicken directly before I got up to introduce myself, I consider it a testament to the kind of people they are that they didn't once wince or grit their teeth as I proclaimed how smitten I was with their "Santa Baby" video.) The striking, knowing Erin, with her light-up-the-room smile, has a lissome voice that plays drolly with Jeff's. Her ukelele and his red-hot jazz guitar put the swing, the jump, the dance and the roll in their early 20th-century rock & roll. These are deep cuts discovered down the more playful byroads of American music. Special guest Scruffles McThompson sat in, thumping out some groovy upright bass. As the set drew to a close, lindy-hopping dancers swung round the floor, helping V&P bring it home.
Put "Antique Pop" on the shelf next to Louis Armstrong and Bob Wills as music that it's impossible to be down while listening to. For me it's a souvenir of a memorable night of music, food and wine.