When Josh Christina starts playing "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" with his band Good Old Stuff, he usually sees a whole lotta young people in the crowd get excited.
Kids who were born decades after Jerry Lee Lewis made the song popular in 1957 — who would likely be listening to One Direction or Macklemore — start to rock out to one of rock's great classics. Yep, Christina said, he sees it all the time.
"Young people are dancing to it," said the Cockeysville resident, who sings and plays piano, harmonica, tenor guitar and a little bit of drums. "It's not that people don't like this music; it's that nobody's out there playing it."
No young people are playing it, except Christina himself, who is 18 and graduated this past June from Dulaney High School.
With his boyish face and old soul, Christina has started to make a name for himself.
In November, Christina released an eight-song CD under his own name that includes "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and two songs he wrote himself. In addition, Christina and Jimmy Wall, Good Old Stuff's drummer, were inducted into Maryland's Country Music Hall of Fame in November. Christina became the youngest musician ever inducted into the hall.
His immersion into the music world started early. As a fifth-grader, Christina began singing and playing the harmonica in a Blues Brothers cover band, called The Junior Blues Brothers, with another 10-year-old pal, plus three grown-ups, who backed the boys with guitar, bass and drums.
Those grown men — Mark Elmore and Howard Brown, both of Carroll County, and Wall, of Ellicott City — now make up the band Good Old Stuff. Together with Christina, they have been playing around northern Baltimore County for more than a year.
"It's been nice to see the infancy of someone else's career," Brown said. "Josh has now developed into a full-fledged musician who can hold his own with anybody."
He agreed with Christina: not many people are playing this style of music, but there is definitely a market for it.
"We seem to be fulfilling a niche," Brown said.
The band's home base is Lee's Tavern in Parkton, where they will be playing again on Saturday, Feb. 8. They have also had gigs at the Maryland State Fair and some of local fire company fundraisers, like an upcoming bull roast in Boring.
New to their dance card are swing dance clubs, like the Friday Night Swing Club at the American Legion Post No. 22 in Towson, as well as the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. These gigs bring new audiences who want music "that's clean and pure — it's not overdone," Christina said. In other words, they want music that's great for dancing.
Christina and Good Old Stuff have played together for so long and so often — they play every weekend — that they don't practice much. Despite the age gap between Christina and the other musicians, he said they let him do his thing.
"They're not all over me, saying this is how I do it," he said.
Not surprisingly, Christina grew up in a musical family — his mother Patti has been singing since disco was popular, although her repertoire includes more rock and pop these days. His aunt was a jazz singer and his grandmother sang in the church choir, which helped Christina develop a fondness for gospel.
"It's my favorite music that I don't play," he said. "And I think Elvis Presley's gospel record is the best record ever made."
To hear some of Josh Christina's music or to learn more about Josh and Good Old Stuff, visit the website, http://www.mdparty.com/JoshandGoodOldStuff. Christina's original songs are available on iTunes, they are also available on CD Baby and are being played on an independent internet radio staion called myruralradio.com.