Antsy McClain and the Troubs are coming back to town |

Antsy McClain and the Troubs are coming back to town

by Sam Bauman
Special to the Appeal

If you’re one of the hundreds of Carsonites who have heard and enjoyed Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours here in the past, no need to say more than that they will be at the Brewer’s Performance Hall Friday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

If you missed them when they appeared here before, now is your chance to buy a ticket and enjoy rocking music in the style of the recent past when the fathers of the Troubs were rocking the scene. Antsy McClain is a sometimes solo act, which makes the coming night all that richer. Plan now so the opportunity to see this unique performance doesn’t get swamped in the coming Halloween quagmire.

“Easy-going good fun” is the way most folk describe a night with the Troubs and Antsy.

Here’s the way Antsy looks at trailer park people and music:

“America’s Old West was tamed by rugged visionaries who crossed the fruited plains in covered wagons, carrying with them everything they owned, and rolling away in search of new horizons. These pioneers – fiercely independent and wildly creative – carved out a lifestyle still evident in America today … in our nations’ trailer parks.

“As country evolved, so did the covered wagon. Large wagon wheels and stretched animal skins gave way to steel belted tires and aluminum siding. Many of these mobile homes eventually rolled up to their desired horizons, and communities developed. Families grew out of these communities. Until today, millions of Americans count themselves among a proud and select group known as trailer park dwellers.”

One of these is songwriter and humorist McClain. Growing up in a small Kentucky trailer park called Pine View Heights, McClain had what he calls “a memorable and idyllic childhood,” filled with colorful characters and extraordinary events. Life in Pine View Heights has given McClain a wealth of experience from which to draw – and write. Penning the lyrics and music to seven Trailer Park Troubadour albums, as well as his own, critically-acclaimed solo record, “Time-Sweetened Lies,” McClain is fast becoming one of the most respected songwriters in Americana/Roots music today.

McClain grew up hearing all styles of music in Pine View Heights. His given name is Ronnie Joe – the nickname “Antsy” being pronounced upon him by a junior high school football coach. He devoured every kind of music he could find. He listened to everything from Bill Monroe to Aretha Franklin, from Steely Dan to George Jones, until eventually, he was more confused than most of his peers, who listened strictly to ’70s commercial pop radio. This confusion formed the basis for his songwriting, and explains the almost schizophrenic nature of his recording projects. Late nights listening to diverse radio programs like “The Grand Ole Opry” and Dr. Demento further cemented his unique outlook toward music and entertainment.

Antsy’s five-piece band, The Trailer Park Troubadours, is a skilled assortment of musicians who play in the rootsy, rock ‘n’ roll tradition of their blue collar forefathers. McClain calls the music “folkabilly.” Their live shows are a unique, critically acclaimed mix of masterful musicianship and self-deprecating humor for all ages. The Troubs, as they are called by fans, are committed to taking their unique blend of music around the globe, showing up wherever they’re invited – and then some.

Aside from being a singer and band leader, Antsy McClain is also a visual artist, whose drawings and paintings have appeared in magazines and books. Having lived in Japan in the early ’80s, McClain speaks Japanese, and worked as an interpreter for the automotive industry through Kentucky and Tennessee, while working on his songwriting and making music contacts in Nashville. Since graduating high school, he has worked as a construction worker, tree trimmer, factory worker, dish washer, tour guide, and teacher, which, along with singing his songs to friends, remains one of his favorite occupations.

Having co-produced the past six Troub albums, Antsy enjoyed his first role as producer on his latest collection of songs, called “Trailercana.” The album features Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Bobby Cochran of Steppenwolf, Tommy Smothers and Bonnie Bramlett, as well as other gifted musicians.

All this comes together when Antsy and the Troubs appear at the Performance Hall Oct. 31. See your neighbors there and enjoy a delightful night on the town.