You only have to watch Mark Rubin rock his standup bass (or his tuba, for that matter) once to determine that the man is one of the great unsung gods of Lone Star music. It’s not often that virtuosity, impeccable taste, a rebel attitude, and a musicologist’s grasp of history come together in one mammoth frame, but that’s why Rubin is such a singular force.

S&F best remembers Rubin from his long stint with the daring, idiosyncratic Austin bluegrass trio the Bad Livers, who brought a folk sensibility to punk label Touch and Go, and gave Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” the Ralph Stanley treatment. Before that, he held down the low end for Dallas newgrass ravers Killbilly.

At any given time, Rubin has at least a handful of music projects percolating, but even by his high standards, the Ridgetop Syncopators are something special: a seven-piece collective that delivers high-spirited Western swing with plenty of room for fiddle breakdowns. The Ridgetop Syncopators will perform at Sam’s Burger Joint Friday, October 24, as part of the club’s weekly Honky Tonk Happy Hour series. The band will play on the patio from
6-8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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