By DJ Dave Hoffenberg
Uncle Si and the Sicotics are coming to the Paramount this Friday, Aug. 3. Many will know Si from Duck Dynasty, but what you don’t know is he has a pretty good country group. Joining him are his daughter in-law, Marsha Robertson; Bridgette Tatum, a singer/songwriter from Nashville; and a full band. I had the pleasure of speaking with all three of them, and as expected, the conversation was fun.
They have an EP that I enjoyed listening to. “As Seen on TV” is a fun song. “Huntin’ Somethin’” is classic country. “The Yee-Haw Song” is great with catchy lyrics, something I’ll definitely DJ. “Throwback Man” is Si’s song and it’s really good. Si said, “That song was custom written for me.” “Garrison” is really nice with great vocals by Robertson and “Chicken Puddin’” has great harmonies and made me want some.
Si talks about how the group got together. “Jesus looked down from heaven and said ‘I’m gonna take this lady who lives in Idaho and I’m gonna put her with this lady who lives in Nashville and then I’m gonna throw in this old man that lives in Louisiana’ and that’s how the Sicotics were born.” They’ve been together for two years. Tatum said, “We spent about a year trying to get everything together, figure out what we wanted to say in the songs, writing them and trying to figure our sound out.”
They’ve been on the road for the past six months. I asked what life with Si is like on the road. Robertson said, “Crazy, and Bridgette would say ‘Challenging.’” Tatum added, “Most of the time we have a really good time. Have you heard of Beyonce? We have Siyonce.” I asked Si if he’s drinking iced tea right now and he said, “Yes, I am. I got a glass full of it.”
Si cites Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty as his musical influences. “As far as I’m concerned nobody today can touch those guys.” Robertson said she likes Barbara Mandrell and Alison Krauss, “The good pure country that I grew up on.” Tatum was all over the road and said, “I love me some Garth, I love me some Ludacris, I love me some Aerosmith.”
Si said the reason they do so well is, “We have a good blend of modern day music, old time, old school, hip hop, whatever. All the cultures are kind of involved into what we’ve done so far.” They do some covers like “Wagon Wheel.” They cover George Jones and have a Barbara Mandrell song that hasn’t made it into the set list yet. Tatum loves to sing AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long.”
Robertson started singing in church when she was four and then sang in choirs and at home with her dad. “It’s in my blood and it’s something that I love to do. I couldn’t see life without it.”
Tatum started singing when she was six. “I was raised in a crazy household where I ended up joining a gospel group with my parents and there were tent revivals going on. My dad was a pastor, but he was also the abusive pastor and the alcoholic pastor so I had a very confusing childhood with Jesus growing up. Music was always my connection back to God and that’s how I got closer with Jesus in my life. That was the direction for the rest of my life. I moved to Nashville, cold turkey, didn’t know anybody. I worked my way through all the channels of this business. So at six I started with gospel music which I still dearly love. I started songwriting at 13, started playing the guitar at 15 and bam. I’m here sitting with Si and Marsha now.”
Si is a very religious man. “If you’re around me any length of time, five minutes or more, you’re going to hear something about Jesus, and that goes for the ladies, too.” Tatum added “If I say ‘Amen,’ the other two then said ‘Amen’.”
I asked Si what he likes best about performing live as opposed to being on television. He said, “Well, it’s really … what I don’t like about it. For me, TV was a walk in the park. It was easy for me. All I had to do was show up and be myself. Music on the other hand, I have to work really hard. Bridgette’s favorite term is ‘There’s a lot of working parts in this’ and she’s exactly right. I like getting involved with the band out there and having a good time and then just go dead on singing. She [Tatum] said, ‘You have to remember you’re a singing artist first.’”
Robertson said, “My favorite thing is the fans and the fun we get to have on stage. The energy that’s created.” Si added, “We were doing a signing and a fan came up with a mason jar full of cherries with some good shine mixed in with them. He said I had to try one and Marsha said I didn’t … I said, ‘Yes, I do, let me try these cherries.’ I said ‘Oh my goodness, this is shine that keeps on giving.’” Robertson added, “He doesn’t follow directions good.”
Photot courtesy of Dave Hoffenberg
Uncle Si (center), Marsha Robertson (right), and Bridgette Tatum (left) will make a stop in Rutland at the Paramount Theatre, Aug. 3.