Lon Eldridge and Chris Ryan Casbarro comprise the Americana duo known as the Snake Doctors, who will bring their wide-ranging stylistic musical adventuring to The Office on Friday. The Snake Doctors are a particularly good match for this intimate venue, so it’s not surprising that they’re returning there after a fine show last month.
Eldridge and Casbarro both teach at the Folk School of Chattanooga on Forest Avenue. This past Halloween, they were jamming at a party hosted by Christie Burns, who founded the school, and realized that they should perform as a duo.
“We like to play pre-war blues, ragtime, swing, some country, hokum and jug band music,” Eldridge says, but no bluegrass, he adds. Most of these styles emerged from the late 19th century up into the 1930s. Think Leon Redbone and you’re on the right track.
The Snake Doctors approach their music with an infectious energy that gets audiences involved. Eldridge usually plays guitar, Casbarro mostly plays fiddle, although he will also pick up a banjo or guitar when the song calls for these instruments.
The music they play combines their instrumental finesse with humorous banter and a refreshing reacquiantance with music styles being reinvigorated. I’ve seen a wonderful jazz portrait of Charlie Patton, the Delta blues musician, and I’m grateful to the Doctors for playing his music.
As a rule, musicians count heavily among music lovers, and the Snake Doctors quickly won the support of Mark “Porkchop” Holder, who hosts a weekly open mic at the The Office. Holder’s musical understanding is both deep and wide ranging, and he stands as one of Chattanooga’s best performers.
Producer Jack Kirton of Lindsay Street Hall has also booked the Snake Doctors on Saturday, Feb. 18. The show will be filmed as part of their “Lindsay Street Hall Sessions” airing on EPB FiTV Channel 200.
Last summer, Eldridge released a CD of original blues recordings and he and Casbarro are developing original songs to meld with their current stylizations. Music lovers should take notice of the Snake Doctors.
9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10
The Office 901 Carter St. (inside Days Inn)