Imagine Sam & Dave meets A.P. Carter, and you've got the Hooten Hallers. The rambling band of three will release their first full-length album, Hooten Hallers, later this week. John Randall's vocals are rough and syrupy, and Kellie Everett's baritone saxophone only emphasizes his drawls and wails, making for an exciting mix of blues, punk, and folk.
If you really wanted to, you could call their style hillbilly punk. Each song captures perfectly the way a dive bar smells and feels on your fingertips, and how freeing and exciting it feels to eye a cutie across the bar where you're only a semi-regular. They're also just a lot of fun, with songs about alien abductions and wild, possibly dangerous hippies.
The Hooten Hallers are a trio of white people singing music that's directly influenced by artists signed to Chess Records in the 50s. Coupled with Rehm's falsetto and Everett's baritone saxophone, it's hard to believe they aren't consciously emulating a sound created by African-Americans but capitalized on and monetized by white people. Look no further than the opening paragraph of their bio:
In the olden days of American music, before radios, television, highways, and the internet homogenized everything, regional styles and traditions reigned. And yet, the rich regionalism of America continues today, fighting against the Walmart-ization of American culture. Columbia, MO trio The Hooten Hallers are out front of this charge, reclaiming the heritage of their Missouri roots.
To Randall's credit, he was gracious when I asked him what he thinks about how his style of music copy cats that of Big Maybelle, Etta James, and Ike Turner. He said he'd never really thought about it, which makes sense: If you're raised on that music, but you're not taught that you need to think about the history of who played the music (which is only an assumption I can make about Randall's past), you never do. Randall grew up with the music and emulated it in adulthood; not once during the conversation did it seem like he was doing it on purpose.The band just really loves this stuff.
Either way, this album rules when you feel like getting your Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse vibes together. Plus, have you seen the album art? Phenomenal.
The Hooten Hallers is out April 21 on Big Muddy Records. You can find tour dates below.
4-20 Paducah, KY @ Maiden Alley Cinema
4-21 Fayetteville, WV @ Cantrell Ultimate Rafting/ 35th Star
4-22 Wilmington, NC @ Reggie's
4-23 Pittsboro NC, @ The City Tap
4-26 Newport, KY @ Southgate House
4-27 Bloomington, IN @ The Blackhouse
4-28 Steeleville, MO @ MoRoots Music Festival
4-29 Nashville, TN @ The Basement
5-2 Milwaukee WI @ Boone & Crockett
5-3 Green bay, WI @ Lyric Room w/ Scott Biram
5-4 Hancock, MI @ Orpheum Theater
5-5 Chicago, IL @ Moonrunners (Reggie's Rock Club)
5-6 Springstead, WI @ Chico's North of The Border
5-9 Viroqua, WI @ Drfistless Books
5-11Minneapolis, MN @ The Viking Bar
**Ed. Note: A previous version of this story stated this is Hooten Hallers' first release on Big Muddy records. It is their third.
Annalise Domenighini is on Twitter, if there's anything you'd like to yell at her about.