Posts Tagged ‘ray lamontagne

21
Sep
11

Hoots and Hellmouth – Face First In The Dirt (2011)

This past weekend I decided to head downtown and check out an annual happening in my city, Larkfest.  Larkfest is a culimation and mishmash of various street vendors, artists, and live music.  In addition, it also sprinkles (or dumps) a large helping of obnoxious drunk college students who change the tone later in the day to something truly worth avoiding, especially if you have young children in tow.  Regardless, if you show up early enough it’s actually a worthwhile event; I always enjoy catching some of the random and obscure live musical acts that range from Alternative, Rock-a-billy, Emo-Folk, and Bluegrass, there’s a little of something for everyone.

While strollering my 4 year-old around and my teenage Chinese exchange student we checked out the random ethnic food samplings, tatooed cuties, and a variety of hipster artisans selling t-shirts , cupcakes, and graffitti artwork.  At one piont I passed a tent sponsored by a local radio station where the guy gave me a look and panned down at the plethora of scattered CD’s. It was truly a “come hither stare for free stuff”, and he was very cool about taking as much as I wanted.  The offering of free music was of bands I had never heard of and he knew that; jokingly he said “Yeah, I guess you just have to judge the music by the cover art and take a risk” and he was right.  It was like being offered a mystery free candy yet being unsure you really wanted to find out what it tasted like.  Plus, for most of us, avoiding anything that adds to our physical music collections we do at all costs, especially mystery music.  Regardless, I could not resist and grabbed two albums not wanting to pass up the opportunity for some fresh fodder to review and also not offend the guy offering free music.

I grabbed two albums, one was Jenny Dee and The Deelinqents (to be reviewed later this month), and a band called Hoots and Hellmouth out of Philadelphia, PA.  As with most albums you put in your CD player the first impression is rarely an “oh my god!” moment, and well, this wasn’t one of them either.  However, the band does have something going on in the right direction and I feel they may be one to watch in the future.  The album that I grabbed seems to be more of a sampler rather than a full fledged album and I wanted hear more.  I could find the album on Amazon and it to0 indicated this album was only 4 tracks; this contrasts in comparision to their two prior albums which featured around 10 tracks each; so perhaps it’s just a stripped down album to buy some time.  For what it is worth, it’s a solid sampling of their music and is catchy.

The band has the feel of something between a faster paced version of Dolorean and The Kingsbury Manx; with a twist of Ray Lamontagne without the raspy grit, and a wee bit of Old Crow Medicine Show and some Chatham County Line thrown in for good measure.  Basically, they have a kind of down home sultry folk / country type of sound that appears to making a come back in the underground alternative scene.  While I do like what they are creating for themselves, I’m not sure I’m a fan from the first listen.  It can be truly be said that this band is an “acquired” sound that not everyone is into from the get go;  like Iron and Wine’s sound or the late Elliot Smith’s music, some people pass it off as too mellow or sleepy tending to form automatic opinion’s about its worth or longevity as a something worthwhile to add to a collection.  I think it would be fair to say that Hoots and Hellmouth has a quality sound and feel that is not worth passing up, it’s worth giving a few listens and then forming your own educated decision. Unlike the meloncoly sounds of Smith and Iron and Wine; Hoots and Hellmouth are far livelier and faster paced, definitely some “feel good” music, yet campy.

In closing, I think I would like to hear more about what these guys have put out there and also would be curious if any of our readers have seen these guys live.  Being from Philly myself, I’m partial to liking these guys and giving them a chance.  As always, let us know what you think of this band if you have caught a show, or perhaps send us an opinion on the two prior albums and how they measure up to this release.

Hoots and Hellmouth’s 4-track Face First In The Dirt gets a 3 out of 5.

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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