Follow That Trail of Dust Back Home
- Artist: Hooverville
- Format: CD
- Release Date:1/10/2006
About Follow That Trail of Dust Back Home: With the opening track 'Carrying This Heartache', the essence of Hooverville's sound - honest, intimate and infectiously foot tapping - is captured. To create this sound for Follow That Trail of Dust Back Home, Hooverville worked with James Mathus, whose raucous guitar playing and keen ear for roots music has led him to playing on Buddy Guy's Grammy winning albums and recording musicians such as Elvis Costello. Follow That Trail was recorded using vintage equipment, such as 1950's ribbon microphones, in a dusty farmhouse in rural Orange County, North Carolina. To capture the sound Hooverville envisioned, the pace was unhurried and the atmosphere was more akin to a front porch jam. Hooverville brought in renowned producer Chris Stamey (Whiskeytown, Tift Merritt) to mix and complete the you-are-there feel. In the tradition of the Band, and the Flatlanders, Hooverville has three singers and three songwriters and moves through a range of song stylings and sounds. 'Another Sweet Dawn' is a swampy call-and-response love song. 'It was written for my wife Amy,' says John Bemis. 'I played it for our wedding originally as a more high-lonesome bluegrass love song. Then when it became part of Hooverville's repertoire, it evolved into something else entirely.' Filled with swirling harmonica and accordion, 'Rain Song' shows songwriter-singer Greg Hanson's lush imagery and emotional punch. 'Honey', written and sung by bassist Paul Dowds, gets the cowboy boots shaking and has been a live show favorite. Hooverville brought in local musicians and friends not only to fill out the album musically but also to have fun. Drummer Nathan Logan has become a permanent member. 'Dirt Road' is one of several tracks that features Jason Cade's superbly tasteful fiddle playing. Breakneck bluegrass 'Oh, Kentucky!' has banjo player Carl Jones (Norman Blake), and on 'County Fairgrounds', Jen Gunderman (Jayhawks, Caitlyn Cary) joins in on accordion. 'There's an old dirt race track at the fairgrounds near where my parents grew up,' explains Greg Hanson, on writing 'Fairgrounds.' 'My dad raced stock cars there back in the late 50's. The danger in it and the lifestyle didn't sit well with my mom, though. I wrote the song from her perspective.' 'We wanted something rough around the edges, but at the same time interesting and catchy for the listener,' says Bemis. 'We're like brothers. We love singing together, harmonizing, and this is spotlighted heavily on the album. But behind that, we tried to find just the right instrument choices to surprise the listener.' Listen carefully to 'Wildwood Rambler' to hear Hanson playing bouzouki, and on the roadhouse two-step song 'Not Forgotten', Bemis and Cade join together for old-school twin-fiddle playing. While Hooverville crosses the vast terrain of American music '' bluegrass, old-time folk, blues, and roots rock '' their primary love of Classic Country shines at the core of Follow That Trail. The honky-tonkin' 'Blue Sedan' ends with the album's title, and 'Running' is bourbon-seeped in pedal steel and heartbreak. Dowds says of recording "Running", "While I love the sound of acoustic instruments, from a lone flat-top guitar to a symphony, for Runnin' there was something beautifully mournful and perfect about using pedal steel guitar that nothing else could quite evoke." 'Jefferson Davis Blues' takes a dark, ghostly visit to the country crossroads where the sins of the past still haunt. As Follow That Trail of Dust Back Home ends with the gentle meditation 'Old, Old River', listeners '' like so many Hooverville converts before '' will have been taken on a ramble over the great map of American roots music, and will want to follow that dusty trail back home again. About Hooverville: As shantytowns, or 'Hooverville's', sprang up across the American landscape during the Great Depression, there was much to lament. Yet the popular music of that era provides lasting inspiration even today. In 1997, John Bemis and Greg Hanson discovered a mutual love for this music. They picked up their guitars and blended their voices, and the musical duo Hooverville was born. Hooverville's debut album, Lucky Rabbit's Foot, showcased original songwriting and spare arrangements delivered through taut, brother act-style harmonies. The band created lasting hits in the North Carolina music scene with songs like the murder ballad "Alston Lynn" and the tensely waltzing "Fairly Good Man." Their songs have been covered by other recording artists and still see heavy rotation on WUNC Radio's weekly Americana music program, Back Porch Music. With the addition of a rhythm section, Hooverville's traditional sensibilities and vintage sounds have evolved into new Americana music territory. Classic country, bluegrass, blues, folk, and roots rock all find their way into the mix, along with a third voice and writing perspective, courtesy of upright bassist Paul Dowds. Completing the band's sound, drummer Nathan Logan finesses the mood with tasteful dynamic intuition.
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