Security teams didn't flock to the Ohio Statehouse when the Smoking Guns made an afternoon appearance on the downtown building's lawn on a recent Friday.

Security teams didn't flock to the Ohio Statehouse when the Smoking Guns made an afternoon appearance on the downtown building's lawn on a recent Friday.

It certainly helped that the Guns in question were a rockabilly/rock 'n' roll four-piece rather than, you know, actual piece-toting outlaws - not that the songs shied from exploring ethical gray areas. On one tune, for instance, singer/guitarist Matt Monta, who was joined for the hour-long lunchtime performance by bandmates Robert Thomas (guitar), Billy Cory (bass) and Brady Oxender (drums), embodied a character uncertain of the direction life would take him or her. "Are you going to meet the President?" he sang. Or would a propensity for lying, cheating and stealing lead to multiple stints in prison? Or worse?

The quartet generally favored a throwback rock sound most notably championed by legendary Memphis label Sun Records in the 1950s and '60s, and it peppered its set with songs popularized by era-appropriate artists like Johnny Cash ("Big River"), Elvis Presley ("Blue Suede Shoes"), Carl Perkins ("Gone, Gone, Gone") and Jimmy Lloyd ("Where the Rio de Rosa Flows").

Despite the balmy early-August temperatures and the prevalence of blue skies, the bandmates, dressed in jeans and matching black button-up shirts, occasionally allowed storm clouds to swell overhead, perching themselves at the bar to drown their sorrows in copious amounts of whiskey ("Make it a double," offered Monta on one Saturday evening pub-closer) and letting the tears flow freely, swelling Cash's "Big River."

For the most part, however, the Smoking Guns kept things light, fun and family friendly - a necessity in a setting where a good dozen or so tykes danced along to the band's loping grooves - and there was definitely some pleasure taken in watching Monta tailor songs to the all-ages audience. "I even talk to God every goshdarn night," he sang on one tune, briefly tripping over his G-Rated edit.

Though heavy on covers, the band spiked the set with a handful of originals that fit comfortably alongside the assorted classics, including the rockabilly-steeped "Thousand Miles an Hour," which kept up an appropriately brisk pace, as though it too were intent on evading authority notice.