Steve Kimock & Friends Welcome Datrian Johnson In Asheville

Check out the setlist, audio and videos from The Grey Eagle.

By Scott Bernstein Oct 7, 2022 9:32 am PDT

Guitarist Steve Kimock played a concert on his 67th birthday this past Wednesday at The Grey Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville’s own rising star, vocalist Datrian Johnson, helped Steve Kimock & Friends celebrate the occasion with a guest spot in each of the show’s two sets.

Steve Kimock took the stage on Wednesday with bassist Andy Hess, keyboardist/vocalist Jeff Kazee and his son John Kimock on drums. Audience members sang “Happy Birthday To You” in honor of Steve at the beginning of the concert. “If you know how old Jack Benny is, then you know how old I must be,” Kimock quipped before adding “I’m 67” and “It’s crazy man.”

The guitarist told the crowd how he wanted to spend his birthday. “I want to sit, play my Telecaster and hallucinate,” Kimock said. He started the night by doing so as Steve fronted his quartet on the beloved “Tangled Hangers” to launch the first set. Kimock was still on Telecaster for covers of Ernest Ranglin’s “Nana’s Chalk Pipe” and the Charles Mingus-composed “Better Git It In Your Soul.”

Steve Kimock & Friends returned to original material for “Mother’s Son,” a tune penned by John Kimock and first recorded by the KIMOCK project. Datrian Johnson then made his first appearance on the night in leading the group through “Deep Elem Blues.” Johnson, best known as frontman of The Fritz and frequent collaborations with both North Mississippi Allstars and John Medeski in Saint Distruption, showed off his powerful pipes on the traditional song. The four-piece went sans Johnson to close the set with “Five B4 Funk.”

Kazee stepped into the vocal spotlight for the “Lonesome Fugitive” that opened Wednesday’s second set in Asheville. Steve Kimock & Friends then worked elements of Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman” into Zero staple “You’re The One.” From there, the band jammed a take on Tito Puente’s “Philadelphia Mambo” into a stunning version of the Traffic classic “Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys” that spanned nearly 15 minutes.

Datrian Johnson re-emerged following “Butter” to belt out “House Of The Rising Sun.” Johnson’s dynamic range was on full display throughout the traditional folk song. Steve Kimock & Friends looked to the Grateful Dead songbook in ending Wednesday’s second set with “New Speedway Boogie” and capped the night with a memorable cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross” as the encore.

Stream an audience recording of Wednesday’s full concert taped by Gordon Wilson below along with fan-shot footage featuring Johnson’s guest spots:

Scott Bernstein
Steve Kimock (See 149 videos) and Datrian Johnson (See 2 videos)

Scott Bernstein
Steve Kimock (See 149 videos) and Datrian Johnson (See 2 videos)

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Setlist (via Aaron Kayce)

Set One: Tangled Hangers, Nana’s Chalk Pipe, Better Git It In Your Soul, Mother’s Song, Deep Elem Blues (Datrian Johnson on vocals), Five B4 Funk

Set Two: Lonesome Fugitive, You’re The One, Philadelphia Mambo > Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys, Butter, House Of The Rising Sun (Datrian Johnson on vocals), New Speedway Boogie

Encore: Many Rivers To Cross

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