This is the sophomore release of Columbia, MO's most favored sons, The Hooten Hallers. Their first record, Greetings From Welp City, was superb, so I had high hopes for the trio, formerly a pair from Columbia.
It had felt like some time since they had announced work on a new album and now, when it's finally in my hands to peruse, but this is a group that tours more than most of us go to work. As of this writing, they have about thirty concert days set for the next five weeks.
These folks are quite the hardworking band and they are not living the glamorous life on the road full of groupies, blow, and trashed hotel rooms, but driving themselves from gig to gig, and often times taking turns sleeping with the drums while someone else takes a turn at the wheel.
|One, two,... three?|
Well, they have added a third member to their group, which has officially taken them out of duo status. They are now a band or a group. New Hootie plays horns on the record and has a very light touch. He accompanies this music without blowing all over it, which could have easily upset the stripped down vibe that Old Hooties have cultivated over the past few years.
This record is a bit of a departure. To begin with, Andy's backup vocals are far less prominent which makes the band sound a bit more like they did in concert. The other change is that there is now far more structure to the songs than they have ever had before. Instead of just playing their instruments and melding it, they are meshing, writing 12 bar blues, ballads, but they did all of this without losing any of their groove.
As they're aging, their sound is maturing, but not mellowing. The vocals are just as impassioned (if not a bit pained) as ever. The drums are big and full. The guitar sounds like an overdriven buzz saw. The tuba and harmonica, et al, fill out the space nicely.
The progression between Welp City and Fireball is noticeable and leads me to think they're on the right path musically and vocationally.
Label: Big Muddy Records
1) O, Jolene
2) Hard To Trust Your Baby
3) I Know Everything
4) Trouble Is
5) Here Comes Authority
6) Garlic Storm
7) Grinding Up The Bones
8) Coming Down The Mountain
9) Used To The Truth
10) One More Heavy Mile
Purchase the record here!