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A Visit with Hot Club of Cowtown

Whit Smith performs live at NPR's Studio 4B.
Paul Schomer/NPR News
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Whit Smith performs live at NPR's Studio 4B.
'Ghost Train' CD cover
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'Ghost Train' CD cover

The group's name draws influence from guitarist Django Reinhardt's Hot Club of France and the classic Western swing style of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. But Hot Club of Cowtown — guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana Fremerman, and bassist Jake Erwin — is alive and swinging in the 21st century.

The band members recently stopped by NPR's Studio 4B to talk about their music with NPR's John Ydstie and play some tunes from their danceable repertoire.

Fremerman and Smith met in New York City in the mid-1990s. Now based in Austin, Texas, the trio added Erwin as a replacement for a former bass player three years ago.

Hot Club of Cowtown has five albums to its credit, including its most recent CD, Ghost Train. A live CD, Continental Stomp, is due in stores later this month.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.