Posts Tagged ‘mountain jam

22
Apr
10

The Hatters – Madcap Adventures of the Avocado Overlord (1994)

Once again I’ve felt compelled to enlighten readers about a band that you most likely have never had heard and as a result is a simple low down dirty shame. 

Although one reason you may not have heard of these guys is due to their first album taking the award for “Worst named album in history” the aptly entitled The Mad Cap Adventures of The Avocado Overlord (1995), the album name and album cover were (and still are) simply unappealing and completely failed to hit the target audience that this band would have appealed.  The only reason I was able to discover these guys was due to a friend who worked as a college DJ at SUNY Plattsburgh and pushed their CD my way begging me to give it a listen.  Honestly, I would have scoffed at listening or buying this album if using the proverbial “judging the book by the cover”.  

However, thanks to my friend this truly has remained one of my favorite albums.   In turn,  I’ve turned many an audiophile into a fan as well.   You should be able to find this album for about $3 used these days, trust me you won’t regret your purchase.

The album begins with the song Sacrifice, a soulful song that establishes a deep groove and does a very good job introducing the bands sound.  It is the perfect opener and preps the listener for the next song Bring That Wagon Round.  Wagon is a mellow song that has a nice bass line that compliments the piano along with Adam Hirsch’s vocals.  All three compliment each other and the song just flows just the way it should; the listener can tell right away that these guys work well together and clearly everything seems to be just happening naturally. Dig The Ribbit was the one song that seemed to gain the most amount of noteriety for the band, the bass line and the mellow Hammond B-3 organ just create a groove that makes you shake your head to while enjoying every note, again, the lyrics are well  placed and the song is just absolute fun to groove along with every note.  Madness of The Green takes us back to slower pace, with mellow and smooth tempos and an organ in the background that just keeps things together.  Found With Your Drawers Down brings us right back to where Dig The Ribbit left off and gets the listener back into album at full momentum once again, the bridge in the song is a clever mix of classic jam band, background party noise, and even a twist of some Latin influenced rhythms, the guitars at the end take us out with a good Allman Brothers feeling.  The middle of the album features songs like I Could Be The One, For Tomorrow, and Bad Side; although good in their own right they are more filler for the album, but nothing specifically mind-blowing persae.

The album picks up with the song Empty Handed, this is all Allman Brothers influenced.  The beginning does a great job of setting the tone slowly and builds into a great song.  You Ain’t Comin’ Home brings us back into a mellow setting with some steely guitar and slow soulful vocals once again by Hirsch, the song eventually picks up tempo and really establishes this album as solid, well written, and a keeper.

The highlight at the end of the end of the album is Sip Of Your Wine with featured guest cameo by Blues Travelers’ John Popper.  The song is fun and goes on for awhile, I’m sure this was awesome to see live and I’m sure they took it in many directions when they toured together.

The Hatters were a culmination of both Allman Brother’s and Black Crowes influenced southern rhythm and blues.  They would be catagorized with bands like Blues Traveler, The Spin Doctors, Government Mule, The Tragically Hip, and the long forgotten and short-lived band Xanax 25 (where are you guys?).  Avocado Overlord is a solid album that is one of those rarities where nearly every song is a winner, the album is still as fresh today as it was when released over 15 years ago.  The second album You Will Be You is decent as well however, Avocado Overlord is just such a fun and clever album.

If you would like to learn more about The Hatters there is a nice piece by band member Billy Jay Stien (keyboards) that reflects his thoughts and feelings about this incredible ride with the band, click here.

If you catch word of a reunion, please contact us here at HiFi Central!

17
Apr
10

Mountain Jam VI – 2010 Line Up

Ah yes, as the spring birds make their voices heard and the flowers begin to peek out from their long winters nap it’s time once again for the summer festival announcements and this year seems off to a very impressive  start. 

I am a self-admitted jam band fan since high school loving any project involving Warren Haynes and/or Dickey Betts; so I’m sure that the 6th Annual Mountain Jam Festival will be well worth the trip. 
This year’s line up is very impressive and also focuses around the 70th birthday of Levon Helm has been contributing the music scene.  Helm will be joined by a who’s-who of musicians ranging from Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Ray LaMontange (If don’t know who this guy is you need to, very talented!), Steve Earle, and many others.

On other stages or at other times during the festival the line up is equally as impressive and I’m pleasantly surprised at the assortment and variety of artists appearing.

Alison Krauss & Union Station
Les Claypool (Primus, Oysterhead)
Matisyahu
Dave Mason
Toots & The Maytals
The Drive-by Truckers
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Yonder Mountain String Band

These are just some of the bands performing that weekend, there are too many bands to list so check the line up link on the main page.  The Mountain Jam website has a nice free player that lets you listen to an assortment of the artists performing, so if you’re not familiar them initially you can get a better idea of what to expect.  The headling act is Warren Haynes’ Government Mule.  I saw Government Mule and Black Crowes about 10 years ago at The Orpheum Theater in Boston, personally I was not impressed but I would imagine that over 10 years they’ve developed their sound. 

Yes, the pricetag in this economy for the plain old one-day ticket is a costly $79.00; tough if you married with kids like me, but perhaps worth the cost for a full day of music and sunshine (if the weather cooperates, always a risk with outside festivals!).  If you are in the New York City area or from Upstate New York where HiFi Central is located, Hunter Mountain (where the Mountain Jam is held) is a very easy drive up or down I-87  and is nestled in among the sleepy Catskills Mountains. 
I am still hoping that one year a reunion of The Hatters (an Allman Brothers-esque band that faded away in the mid-90’s) might happen at Mountain Jam, but I’m not holding my breath.

If you would like more information about this fun summertime festival check it out by clicking here: Mountain Jam VI




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