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Brian Setzer is one of the elite few recognized as the electric guitar’s all-time greatest players, Setzer’s trademark twang and fretboard fire are among rock ‘n’ roll’s most immediately identifiable. A consummate showman and preeminent musical reanimator, Setzer has brought contemporary power and his own distinctive vision to a stunning array of idioms, spanning rockabilly, swing, jump blues, boogie-woogie, classical, big band jazz, and countless variations on straight-up rock ‘n’ roll.
Setzer first captured the hearts of rock ‘n’ rollers everywhere as founder and frontman of the Stray Cats, introducing the scorching sound and attitude of pure rockabilly to a new generation. The band was among the 80s’ most popular and influential, spawning a string of era-defining hits like “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut,” and “(She’s) Sexy + 17.”
Setzer further developed his songcraft and lyrical vision on such solo works as the 1986 cult masterpiece, The Knife Feels Like Justice. Known for his daring approach towards diverse musical styles, he then founded the Brian Setzer Orchestra, singlehandedly resurrecting a second forgotten genre in swing. He proved its paramount practitioner, with 1998’s The Dirty Boogie earning two Grammy Awards, including a “Best Pop Performance” trophy for the worldwide hit rendition of Louis Prima’s immortal “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.” A third Grammy Award, for “Best Pop Instrumental Performance,” followed in 2000.
The BSO remains an unstoppable force, their every show a sweat-soaked, brass-blasting extravaganza. Setzer and the Orchestra have unleashed a steady streak of sizzling live recordings, capturing the big band’s rockin’ assault on the senses. As if all that weren’t enough, the BSO has also become a Christmas tradition all their own via a series of holiday-themed collections, live DVDs, and annual Yuletide tours.
The past decade has seen the always innovative Setzer venturing into new territories, including the stunning noir of 2009’s Songs From Lonely Avenue and 2011’s Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!, this exceptional player’s first-ever collection of vocal-free rock ‘n’ roll. His latest Surfdog Records release, Rockabilly Riot! Live From The Planet, catches all the fervor of Setzer’s hugely successful Rockabilly Riot! Tour, a lineup including two slappin’ stand-up bassists, two drummers, and an on-fire boogie-woogie piano! This album is an overcharged and thrilling attack of American rock n’ roll.
Setzer – whose extensive line of Gretsch Signature Models are among the best-selling and most highly regarded instruments on the market – has received innumerable honors throughout his three-decade career, including three Grammy Awards (plus seven total nominations) and Gibson Guitars’ prestigious Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. Truly an iconic American artist, Setzer has also made numerous appearances in a range of TV and film projects, including a memorable turn as Richie Valens in the 1987 classic, La Bamba.