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Musician Jim Vegas will celebrate the release of his new album, "Shakedown City"

jim vegas.jpg
Courtesy photo
Jim Vegas recently released a new album, "Shakedown City."

Jim Vegas and band will perform Thursday at Barleycorn’s in Old Town.

“Shakedown City” is the new album from Wichita musician Jim Vegas.

In tune with classic ’90s music from the likes of Los Lobos and Morphine, the record finds Vegas on a pendulum between R&B, soul, blues and rock, a mixture that’s come to serve him well across a series of recent albums.

Vegas and band will celebrate the release of the album on Thursday, Sept. 15, at Barleycorn’s.

Interview Highlights

Tell me about “Jack Dorsey”; that tune is dark.

I think there's something, you know, very dark about saying someone's opinion is so harmful that it's not allowed to be spoken. I grew up with the opinion that if someone was saying something you disagreed with, you were more than able to voice your other opinion of that. And that also, there was no opinion that you should be afraid of because, ultimately, truth would rise and people would see, “OK, what I thought was once true isn't true, and some things that seemed like they were real, aren't real.”

It really seems like we're at a point now where there's this idea that speech is so harmful, and that it's that somehow everyone has to be protected from people's thoughts and opinions. And that scares me in a lot of ways.

Tell me about the Petty tune. [“Before I Am Gone”] It took me a second to figure out what it was about and then it hit me. How did you first encounter his music? For me, it just came flooding in the house one day via the radio.

There’s a lot of truth to that. When I was around 10, or somewhere around that age, I was listening to that first Run DMC album. I was listening to Van Halen records. I was listening to the Men At Work album. When I think back to that now, I think about what a great time for music it was.

The second concert I ever saw was Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Something just shifted in my whole brain about music at that point and what messages could be conveyed in music and the changes that music can cause for peoples’ lives. Tom Petty was almost undefinable because you don’t have someone putting out that good quality rock and also hitting the pop masses very often.

When “Freefallin’” came out it was everywhere. You know, it’s funny listening to him because of course one his biggest influences is Elvis. I don’t hear a lot of Elvis in Petty’s music but his impact on the world I feel like was very similar in that his presence was just everywhere.

Jedd Beaudoin is host/producer of the nationally syndicated program Strange Currency. He has also served as an arts reporter, a producer of A Musical Life and a founding member of the KMUW Movie Club. As a music journalist, his work has appeared in Pop Matters, Vox, No Depression and Keyboard Magazine.