Written By: Jeff Markunas
I’m turning this column upside down (no don’t stand on your head and read this). The rock bottom line on this album – 4 guns – Buy it – Listen, enjoy the sound and the fun. H&H is truly an inventive, creative and talented band. I couldn’t love these guys anymore if I got a cut of the gross.
Now back to the top…
These guys come as close to being arrested for having too much talent as you can legally get and remain free. Read my interview with Hoots and get a sense of where this band is coming from. Just some boots on the ground, musical craftsmen who really get the job done.
As Americana editor, I’m taking this opportunity to illustrate some of the differences between Acoustic and Electric (Guitar) Music. I have the greatest respect for acoustic players such as Tony Rice, Earl Scruggs or Segovia, but this is AMERICA!
In America, everything is bigger, better, faster and louder. We didn’t invent the Guitar, we just turned it up to 20. Americans created the Electric Guitar and Amplifier, as well as effects, and the technology to record them in 24 track stereo.
Now I’m not talking Metallica or Pantera here; distortion can be used to great musical effect but it’s rarely used subtly. Les Paul is a much better example. Les imitated the acoustic sound of the Mandolin and Banjo very successfully using a solid-body, all-electric guitar. Using the right equipment, a guitar can be made to sing like a violin, grunt like a Bass or rip your head off like a Texas chainsaw. We play guitars because, electric or acoustic, they can be bent and shaped into anything we need them to be. That’s only fingerpickin’ on the surface when you consider the capabilities of the Midi-Guitar, Organ, or a Synthesizer
Which brings me back to Hoots & Hellmouth, who are skilled acoustic players. They create a wide variety of textures, feelings and percussive rhythms in their playing; this takes talent and intelligence. The ultimate musical instrument is after all the MIND.
Only a great mind (such as Sean Hoots) can create great music, the tools you use just give the mind its voice.