Low Cut Connie's Rise Is 'The Essence Of Rock And Roll' Low Cut Connie have always made music for the motel-bound Beverlys and diner waitress Connies of the world. Dirty Pictures (Part 2) is no different.
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Low Cut Connie's Rise Is 'The Essence Of Rock And Roll'

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Low Cut Connie's Rise Is 'The Essence Of Rock And Roll'

Low Cut Connie's Rise Is 'The Essence Of Rock And Roll'

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard were rock 'n' roll pioneers who brought the fire of a Pentecostal preacher to their pianos. That same spirit is alive and well in the work of a band from Philadelphia called Low Cut Connie.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LOW CUT CONNIE: (Singing) I feel like a slimeball, baby, just to tell you the stakes. Got to get my mind out of the gutter.

MARTIN: Our producer, Phil Harrell, has this profile.

MARTIN: Adam Weiner treats his piano like a pommel horse. He plays on top of it. He plays underneath it. He'll play one-handed. He'll play no-handed with his feet.

ADAM WEINER: I need to have my arms free. I need to hug people. I need to slap people fives. You know, I need to mess up people's hair. You know, and then of course I get a bunch of hair product in my hands, so by the end of the show, my hands are just like slimy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LOW CUT CONNIE: (Singing) Don't entertain me. Don't entertain me. I can entertain myself.

PHIL HARRELL, BYLINE: NPR Music writer Ann Powers started hearing the rumors about their wild live show a few years ago.

ANN POWERS, BYLINE: Within a week, about four different people said to me out of the blue, there's this band - they're the greatest live band in America. You have to see them.

HARRELL: And what she saw in that audience made her an instant convert.

POWERS: Everybody is in this sweaty mass, you know. Everybody's dancing. Everybody's connecting. It's just the joy and sensuality of the rhythm and the music. To me, that's the essence of rock 'n' roll. That's what makes it great.

HARRELL: Adam Weiner knew his band had taken off when then-President Barack Obama posted a Spotify playlist of his favorite summer songs.

WEINER: And there was Aretha Franklin and Sly and The Family Stone and The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder and then Low Cut Connie. People were very confused.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BOOZOPHILIA")

LOW CUT CONNIE: (Singing) We're on the South Side of Chicago, down here in the groove.

HARRELL: And in case you're wondering about the name, Adam Weiner says Low Cut Connie is based on a character he imagined.

WEINER: Connie had a kind of rough life, a lot of family issues. And it's a sort of fantasy of a diner waitress that, on the weekends, no matter what's going on in her life, she just puts on her tight outfit and her dancing shoes and she goes and has a good time and has a smile for everybody, and it's sort of a metaphor for our band.

HARRELL: Weiner gravitates to the stories of Americans on the fringes. The first single from the New Low Cut Connie album is a song called "Beverly." Weiner says she's a composite of some of the women he's met on to tour staying in some of the dingiest motels imaginable.

WEINER: You meet all these interesting characters that hang out in these motels and in the parking lots and at the bars and especially meet a lot of moms who, for whatever reason, have ended up living in these motels.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEVERLY")

LOW CUT CONNIE: (Singing) I'm down on my knees. You read a paper and watch TV. Don't even say a single word to me. Talk to me. You're slipping away.

HARRELL: Weiner says this new music is more emotional, more about the interiors of the characters he's created. Again, Ann Powers.

POWERS: I think he's trying to talk about women in a way that's yearning and that's vulnerable. That's an interesting twist on that kind of boozy rock 'n' roll they usually do.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEVERLY")

LOW CUT CONNIE: (Singing) To try...

HARRELL: The new album from Low Cut Connie is called "Dirty Pictures (Part 2)." It comes out tomorrow. Phil Harrell, NPR News, Washington.

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