The Hooten Hallers are specialists if it comes to hillbilly blues with a happy sound. The Columbia, MO trio are known for hard-traveling and wild, energetic live shows, criss-crossing their way through North America and Europe with their seemingly endless tour schedule. Last year they released their latest EP Mountain of Pain in 2016 and are back with a new record called “Hooten Hallers”.
The Hooten Hallers 2016 EP Mountain of Pain
“Methamphetamine Romance features some of the “finest New Orleans blues influences. You might think Dr. John visited the studio to record this song alongside the Hooten Hallers. Like most of their songs, “16 Gallons” also contains happy grooves. The lyrics are like most blues good songs about finding your woman with another man,
When The Hooten Hallers come to town, you know it’s gonna be a party!
Hit song “40 Oz to Memphis”
“Six Feet To The Ground” is maybe the bluesiest song you’ll find on Mountain of Pain. It may remind you of the slower songs Howlin’ Wolf made back in the day. The hit of this album for me is “40 Oz to Memphis” which contain unlike other songs a leading violin tune. The melodic duo vocals are most hearable in the catchy “40 Oz to Memphis” chorus.
Hooten Hallers Influences from blues to dark Americana
The band self-describes “the myriad of influences in their music range from pre-war blues to punk rock to dark Americana, with a thematic penchant for the strange and the unexplained. In the same vein, the Hooten Hallers’ music isn’t quite Americana and it’s not quite punk, but a bit of both, fused together in a drunken tangle”.
Green Mountain Rebels EP: A distilled a mixture of soulful elegance and raw emotion
Besides the great music of this band, the story about how these guys first met in the spare rooms and on the back roads of Eau Claire, Wis., makes you interested in the life of the Green Mountain Rebels.
Since 2004 the riotous Green Mountain Rebels are brewing a unique style of music in a wide genre. It is Blues, it is Roots, It is Americana and a whole lot more but let’s give it the name Americana Blues for now. I spoke with guitarist David about the band and their latest EP which is like good Bourbon sweet and smooth up front while strong enough to leave you with a fire in your belly and a swagger in your talk.
Using two Guitars over drinking cans of beer
Guitarist David Koenig and Jered Shaw developed a friendship using two guitars and conversation over drinking cans of beer and that is how we like it. I was surprised by the diversity of their songs and as a music lover you have to like the Green Mountain Rebels.
Blues and Swamp Influences
The arrangements remind me in a certain way of my favorite Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street. Think about tracks like ‘Stop Breaking Down’ and ‘Shake Your Hips’. On the other hand, you might recognize a touch of Swamp blues in the guitar and harmonica. Think of songs like the ‘Hoodoo Blues’. The voice of singer Susan Renee Thiede is soulful and confident, the other vocalist, Jered brings a Hill Country feeling to the arrangement. This combination makes the music, as David already told us smooth and strong, like good bourbon.
Well, we are all about making music that you can feel. We always strive to be authentic, raw, honest and real. And there’s no other style of music, in my opinion, that you can feel more than the blues.
Inspiration from Muddy to Dylan to the Rolling Stones
The Green Mountain Rebels were inspired by a whole lot of musicians in the blues genre. Guitarist David explains how he and Jered shared a passion for blues style songs: ” We listened to the old timers like Bill Broonzy, Howlin Wolf, Willie McTell, Buddy Guy/Junior Welles, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon as well as the more current renditions from the Stones to Zeppelin to Jack White/Black Keys. We love it all”.
With help from their other heros like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin and Muddy Waters, Koenig and Shaw established the basis for what would become their new adventure: the riotous Green Mountain Rebels.
Favorite song “Down & Dirty Blues”
From The Green Mountain Rebels EP, my favorite song is “Down & Dirty Blues”, which is in every aspect complete. The vocals rhythmically built up, the guitar is smooth in the solo tunes and in the riffs. The piano brings some gold old’ Honky Tonk. And then when the interlude starts you might think you have seen it all. But no. Next to come is the beginning of maybe one of the best finals in a song I’ve heard.
Writing the “Sweatheart Dance”
From all the songs they recorded David picks one of his favorites: “The Sweetheart Dance”. “This song was always a crowd favorite at our live shows, with the emotional and at times hostile lyrical exchanges between a man and his woman. The music of that song came from a piece of music I had written years before I met Jered. When I brought it to Jered, he developed the melody and lyrics and the back/forth structure between the male vocal and female vocal. Jered gave that song heart and soul, it really came alive. You can still feel it, even after playing it time and time again. In my humble opinion, there isn’t another song out there like it. It’s a very unique blues song, it doesn’t really follow the typical blues structure and within the song two people are actively arguing and taking cheap shots at each other! It has a theatrical side to it when you see it performed live. This version, as with every version we ever recorded of this song, was recorded completely live”.
“What you hear on the EP is what we are, no more no less.”
Latest Green Mountain Rebels Blues “Move On”
Another song you will like is “Move On”. This song kicks off with hill country blues vocals. The combination of Jered and Susie makes this song peak very fast. The following Harmonica solo is nicely found. It is a newer blues song of the Green Mountain Rebels and doesn’t follow the traditional blues structure, but that doesn’t matter. While David tells he “was playing around with a lot of palm muting, sort of in the fashion that Neil Young would and found himself simply going between two chords (D & F) in a very “choppy” rhythm. When that got too repetitious he tossed in a G7 and held that to build the tension back into the main D & F progression. It is pretty much the entire song. Jered then gave it life with very loose, drenched in bluesman style vocal and bruising harmonica”.
For the Release of the EP The Green Mountain Rebels have strengthen their forces to the delivery of the songs, toward the power of a 5-piece band. Chuck Caldwell (drums) and Matt Staudenmaier (bass) were enlisted to protect the basic principles of the newly constructed music by driving the rhythm section.
It was a great pleasure to listen to the Green Mountain Rebels, I met David and the band as great musicians with a whole lot of love for the Roots genre. Their EP is available at Bandcamp and Amazon.
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Cedric Burnside Project Latest album “Cedendants of Hill Country”
Born and raised around Holy Springs in Nothern Mississippi Cedric Burnside was brought up with the blues. With no radio or TV, but with a grandfather who played blues on the porch of his house Cedric Burnside became inspired by the music we all like.
As his name suggests Cedric, is the grandson of Blues legend R.L Burnside. and like his grandpa he makes some fine Hill Country Blues. Under the name The Cedric Burnside Project he released three albums. His latest Album ” Cedendants of Hill Country” was brought in stores in February 26, 2015 and contains thirteen excellent electric blues songs.
Song after song “Cedendants of Hill Country” is a very rhythmic blues album full of steady guitar riffs. But above all it is a pleasure listening to the voice of Cedric Burnside.
Rhythmic Blues Drummer
Cedric Burnside is an excellent drummer, highly rhythmic with strong hip-hop and funk influences. On the other hand his music is recognisable for the old blues fan, more funk, more groove and more killer blues guitar riffs like you know from old R.L. Burnside. To compare the two you could say ‘If R.L Burnside was a 1960 Cadillac Coupe deVille, Cedric brings you home in an Escalade’, both top of the class.
Killer songs: Down in the Delta
Listen to songs like “Down In The Delta” y’all will like this killer guitar riff. “Tell Me What I’m Gonna Do” is a song which is more comparable to R.L. Burnside’s work. I also like the vocals in “Going Away Baby”, they drift perfectly along the music. The guitar grooves on a steady riff and the drum is like a moving train reaching home.
His inspiration come logically from “Big Daddy”, but Cedric tells: “I write about my life, my kids, and everyday things. I try to stick to the truth,” “My granddad used to play out on the porch, and we’d have house parties every weekend. Johnny Woods would come over and blow harmonica, and he’d drink two or three gallons of corn liquor. We just stomped up dirt.”
Black Snake Moan’
In 2006 he was featured in Craig Brewer’s critically acclaimed feature film Black Snake Moan, playing drums alongside Samuel L. Jackson. (The film is a tribute to R.L. Burnside, and gives many nods to the late bluesman.) (cedricburnside.net)
After years performing with numerous artist like John Spencer, Junior Kimborough and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears Cedric Burnside started collaborating with his younger brother, Cody Burnside, and his uncle, Garry Burnside, to create The Cedric Burnside Project in 2010. They created a new genre of music by infusing Mississippi Hill Country Blues, Funk, R&B and Soul that will keep your foot stomping all night long. The Cedric Burnside Project has brought new life and energy to the blues, it’s no wonder why it’s loved by fans around the world. (cedricburnside.net)
Following the untimely and tragic death of his brother Cody, Cedric has kept the flame burning, recording and touring the world with guitarist and lifelong friend Trenton Ayers.