Joe's is all country on Tuesday

At my age, the only time I see white people dancing is at weddings or on YouTube but a little bar in Burbank may soon change my frame of reference. The place I'm talking about is Joe's Great American Bar & Grill, and every Tuesday night this long lost tavern on Magnolia Boulevard has live music and dancing from 9 p.m. until closing.

The night I visited Joe's, the headliner was a beautiful young female rockabilly singer named Karling, and a huge hard-drinking crowd came out for her CD release party. Karling and her impressive band played the entire evening while star-crossed lovers in 1950s attire overflowed the expansive dance floor.

When Karling sang her new songs that night, even the toughest hell-raisers at the bar got a soft spot and put down their whiskey glasses to enjoy the stimulating sounds of an entertainer that someday may give Patsy Cline a run for her money.

When you first walk in the door at Joe's on a Tuesday night, you feel like you've been transported to the set of a new "Back to the Future" movie because most of the patrons are dressed up for the swing era. Half the fun of my night was checking out the poodle skirts and slicked back hair of the patrons as they swayed to the sweet sounds of Karling.

If you have two left feet, you can catch up on your dance skills because lessons begin at 8:30 p.m. before the show starts at 9. Since I was there to observe and report, my date and I just watched. I promised her dinner, but the kitchen closed at 9:30 p.m. for some strange reason. Therefore, my date went home with an empty stomach but got her fill of vintage music. If you decide to visit Joe's on a Tuesday night, be sure to fuel up on grub before the show. If the crowds continue to grow, that policy will surely change since people getting down tend to get hungry.

To be honest, management didn't anticipate the crowd that Karling would bring in, and I felt sorry for the poor bartender and waitress that had to serve the entire audience. If you have restaurant or bar experience, I suggest stopping by Joe's to fill out an application. Maybe they'll expand their payroll before the next show.

I was completely shocked to learn there was no cover charge to see Karling, and the band makes money the old-fashioned way by "passing the bucket." This brought back fond memories of my childhood when I used to travel across the Midwest with my uncle's band and he'd send the "cute kid" into the audience with a paint bucket to get gas money for the van. The incredibly friendly people watching Karling's show all chipped in what they could when the bucket came their way. Bottom line: Bring some cash to the show to help out the cause.

There is a two-drink minimum at Joe's but if you can't stay for two drinks, you don't deserve to leave your house or hear the great music. Some of you will remember Joe's as the old Crazy Jack's. Wipe that memory from your brain because Joe's was completely remodeled back in 2005, and the new clientele is old-school hip and wonderful to hang out with.

Some mainstream media outlets say rockabilly music is a dying genre but don't tell that to Karling or the fine folks that frequent Joe's. Her art form is alive and well, and I lived to tell about it. I can't wait to dust off my boots and go dancing this summer.

MATT BELLNER is an actor and freelance writer from Burbank.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World