The Asylum Street Spankers, clockwise from left: Wammo, Dave Long, Christina Marrs, Morgan Patrick Thompson, Shawn Dean, Nevada Newman, Mark Henne
The Asylum Street Spankers, clockwise from left: Wammo, Dave Long, Christina Marrs, Morgan Patrick Thompson, Shawn Dean, Nevada Newman, Mark Henne Todd Williams
For 15 years, Asylum Street Spankers' members have been tearing it up in their hometown of Austin, Texas, and around the country. They perform a quirky blend of acoustic blues, string-band swing-jazz, folk and even a few kids' songs, all approached with wit and panache. Now, the group has turned its talents to gospel music with a modestly titled new album called God's Favorite Band.
More than 30 members have come and gone in the course of Asylum Street Spankers' career — only Christina Marrs and Wammo remain. As they recall it, the two met at a party.
"Out in Llano, Texas, there's a place called the Dabbs Hotel," Wammo says. "They have something called the Llano Bolano Show. It's an artist-only party, and you had to perform something to attend. And [Marrs'] talent was she twirled a fire baton to Primus. It was amazing."
In NPR's Studio 4A, the band performs the traditional "Wade in the Water" and the soul-stirring "Last Mile of the Way." But Asylum Street Spankers' members also play one of their many new gospel-inspired originals: a song about the kind of car God might drive if he wanted to keep his anonymity on Earth, titled "Volkswagen Thing." Click on the audio link above to hear the entire session with Weekend Edition Sunday host Liane Hansen.