Dex Romweber Duo
9 p.m., Nov. 6, Cafe Nine, 250 State St. $8. (203) 789-8281, cafenine.com.
Guitarist/vocalist Dexter Romweber is at home in North Carolina, relaxing between tours as he anticipates the next string of dates and reflects on the ones he and his older sister, drummer Sara Romweber, have just finished. Given that the Dexter Romweber Duo is playing to a relatively narrow spectrum of music fans, the difficulties that the pair face on the road these days are understandable.
"The shows were good, the money was bad," says Romweber with a wry laugh.
From his first two-man group, the lauded Flat Duo Jets, to his current Duo, Romweber has spent the better part of the past two decades perfecting a freewheeling, raucous garage-a-billy twangfest with traces of surf, blues, and an elemental roots rock that suggests a Cramps tribute to Screamin' Jay Hawkins. That specifically diverse sound continues on Romweber's latest Bloodshot release, Is That You in the Blue?
"The studios really make a difference in how it's going to sound," says Romweber. "But it's generally just pulling songs together to hit the deadline and pulling songs together that we like. That record was recorded in six days with a few days of adding stuff on it. That's pretty quick."
The studio that made the difference on Is That You in the Blue? was Kudzu Ranch, owned and operated by Southern Culture on the Skids guitarist/vocalist Rick Miller, who also produced the album. Clearly kindred spirits, the Romwebers and Miller worked well together on Is That You?
"He would suggest drum beats for Sara, and he thought different guitars would get good sounds," says Romweber of Miller's input. "Generally I use a '63 Silvertone, but if the tuning was off, he always had guitars around that we could use. And he had ideas about the mix and what we should do, but the primary sound is me and Sara."
The stylistic diversity of Is That You? is certainly no surprise to Romweber's rabid fan base. The Duo's all-encompassing sound, hardly a reflection of Romweber's personal preference for classical and jazz, may be headed for a shift, as evidenced by the band's last two releases.
"Our fans are like weird old married couples."