|The Neva River Rockets, Trio from St. Petersburg
Neva River Rockets hillbilly trio was formed in summer 2000, yhey hail from St.-Petersburg, Russia. Members had played in various jazz and rock bands and that defined the high professional level of the trio from the very start. The band decided not to copy other local rockabilly bands in choice of repertory and style of playing. Instead the main attention was given to lesser known songs. However later some 'standards' were added to the program.
In the autumn of 2000 Neva River Rockets started to actively perform in various clubs. Soon the young band was playing on a constant basis in such renowned clubs as Money is Honey Saloon, Billiards in Blues, Neva-Da, Shamrock Irish pub and so on. Unconventional approach towards repertory and performing were warmly welcomed by the fans of authentic rockabilly as well as by lindy-hop and swing dancers, who became the major part of the band's audience.
In spring of 2001 two tracks by Neva River Rockets were issued on a compilation of Russian rockabilly 'Rockabilly Girl'. These were the song 'Rockin' All Time' and country style instrumental 'Rockets' Roll', which became a hit among connoisseurs of American guitar music. As a result NRR got essential advertising, and according to various references the band joined the list of the best Russian rockabilly bands.
During 2001 musical addictions of the band's members were somehow changing. Kirill was more and more interested in the US Southern traditional music: hillbilly, western-swing, authentic blues, barbershop singing and so on. Peter's music interests also went in the same direction. Moreover, since Kirill had jazz education he spent much time with his friends - jazz and academic musicians. Because of this NRR's repertory started to change. Simple rockabilly songs were replaced by various jazz and pop standarts of 1930-1950's. Arrangements combined Chet Atkins finger picking style, swing riffs of 1930's, classical harmonies as well as different jazz-rock techniques. There were too much experiments and finally musicians decided to take a rest in spring 2002. It lasted till autamn when Neva River Rockets came back with a new line-up. The drummer was replaced by a rhythm guitarist.
Electric solo guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar and an upright bass, this is the most classical combination to perform southern traditional American music: hillbilly, western-swing as well as country blues and Dixie bop. This is exactly the music that is performed now by Neva River Rockets and its members constantly try to make their sound more authentic. The majority of NRR's gigs take place in smaller-size jazz and blues clubs where this traditional American music is warmly welcomed by the audience. Often NRR's concerts are visited by foreign tourists, among them from USA. They listen to the band's performance with great enthusiasm, and this gives the reason to state that despite of Russian and American cultural differences Neva River Rockets manage to successfully perform this kind of music.
The Neva River Rockets are:
Courtesy of Nadja Viahhi, 2004