Concert preview: Bill Kirchen, “Titan of the Telecaster,” is a legend to be reckoned with

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From the June 20, 2013 edition

Dubbed “The Titan of the Telecaster,” Bill Kirchen fronted Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen and founded a genre called dieselbilly — rocket-fueled rockabilly with an ounce of outlaw country.

There’s the vital stats, but what about vital music? It’s easy to recoil at retro rock greasers in gussied-up cowboy shirts, what with all the tepid tributes daddios have dredged up over the years, but Kirchen is legitimately great, a master of tremolo-laden fretwork and wild, weathered narration.

More than four decades into his career, the Ann Arbor native can still invigorate forms that feel tired in less talented hands. Wednesday at Woodlands Tavern, Kirchen will do just that.