Philadelphia-based Hoots & Hellmouth (MAD Dragon Records/Ryko/WEA) embodies a feisty, independent spirit churning out new music for old souls. Their shows are like traveling tent revivals; their audiences are like congregations. And while the emphasis has always been on the live experience, H&H’s eponymous debut studio album (April 24, 2007) is shaping up to be one hell of an adventure.
Produced in collaboration with fellow Philadelphian Brian McTear (Capitol Years, Matt Pond PA, Bigger Lovers) at his Miner Street/Cycle Sound Studio, the album gives powerful evidence that the band has concocted a musical blend of roots/revival sensibility with a healthy dose of rock n’ roll energy that is all their own. Starting with the core instrumentation of two guitars (Hoots and Hellmouth), mandolin (Rob Berliner), upright bass (Tim Celfo), three-part harmony vocals and foot stomps, the band worked in conjunction with McTear to flesh out each song, adding drums, organ, additional voices and the occasional accordion flourish.
From the gospel fury of the opening track, "Want On Nothing," to the subtle understated beauty of "Backwoods Don't Lie," Hoots & Hellmouth's self-titled debut presents a startling range of musical depth. Dedication to the craft of songwriting is the common thread that connects songs such as the folk-inflected “Forks & Knives,” which leans heavily on the more traditional aspects of Americana, to the modern soulfulness of “West Of Where The Sun Goes Down” as it incorporates a swirling mélange of psychedelic organ and walls of vocals that leave the listener enraptured, enveloped, enamored. Hoots feels that “working with Brian really helped us to hone in on what each song demanded of us…we became mere channels for the greater power of the music.” The resulting record speaks for itself in exuberant tones.
Sean Hoots and Andrew “Hellmouth” Gray first collaborated in early 2005, when they began creating a collection of distinctive original songs based around their acoustic guitars, a departure for the two as they had both previously been involved with loud rock bands. This record is a joyful product of that process of discovery. "We want to create music that is alive. It's about bleeding, sweating, crying, rejoicing... it's raw soul," Hoots says of their work.
Since their inception, Hoots & Hellmouth have been on a mighty roll. Their travels have taken them all over the Northeastern region as well as down South for several runs. Their 2006 Philadelphia Folk Fest appearance was a watershed moment for the group, exposing them to thousands of enthusiastic folk aficionados, lifting onlookers to a frenzy and earning them a standing ovation. During an appearance at WXPN’s “All About the Music Festival" (featuring Citizen Cope, Josh Ritter, My Morning Jacket, Grace Potter, Amos Lee, among others), a dozen audience members jumped the stage to join the band, stomping, singing and clapping along on their closing song, “This Hand Is a Mighty Hand” – one of the more “live” tracks on the soon to be released record.
Hoots & Hellmouth are headed back out into uncharted territory with their upcoming release and extensive touring plans, bringing their music to more and more people. In the words of Hoots, "it is at once a celebration and mourning...championing the human potential to feel deeply and come together as a unified whole, while bemoaning the fact that much in modern life seems to work against that sense of community and bonding. It's a catharsis for 21st Century humans...it’s new music for old souls."
sean hoots: vocals, mandolin, guitar, foot stompin';
andrew gray: vocals, guitar, wood block;
robert berliner: vocals, mandolin, banjo, plywood, tambourine;
ramon sender: double bass
"Hallelujah for Hoots & Hellmouth", September 2005, self-released 7-song demo (featuring "New Shoes" and "Asleep On The Couch," both of which have enjoyed regular rotation on AAA leader WXPN/Philadelphia).
"Song for Solstice", December 2006, included on the Mad Dragon Records Holiday Sampler and used as the background music for WXPN's Christmas E-card (sent to their 45,000 members)
and coming soon from Mad Dragon Records...
Hoots & Hellmouth Self-Titled Debut LP ... April 24, 2007
Show Preview by Jeffrey Barg
[+ Show ]
Hoots & Hellmouth believe in the washboard. The tambourine, woodblock and cowbell too. Sure, the epo...Hoots & Hellmouth believe in the washboard. The tambourine, woodblock and cowbell too. Sure, the eponymous debut EP from these West Chester-based folkies has your standard guitar and singing too, but it's the shouting and frenetic percussion that really elevates them from sleepy acoustic strummers to crazed psycho-billy punk-out. Their harmonies are of the everybody-sing-along variety (as opposed to overly precious note-perfect precision), making the whole affair hot and hopped-up, even when tempos are slowed to a crawl. Come ready to dance-if you're really nice, they might even let you play the spoons.
Show Preview by Michael Harrington
[+ Show ]
Hoots & Hellmouth find the rugged backbeat in old timey music and pound it out in a harrowing yet ge...Hoots & Hellmouth find the rugged backbeat in old timey music and pound it out in a harrowing yet genial way.
Give A Hoot
[+ Show ]
Visit The Village Tavern tonight for an evening of music from Hoots and Hellmouth that will have you...Visit The Village Tavern tonight for an evening of music from Hoots and Hellmouth that will have you stomping your feet and hollering out a good ole' "Yee Haw." What does the music of Hoots and Hellmouth sound like? Well the band calls it, "black lung coated with raw honey."
But don't take the group's word for it. Listen to the band's tunes at myspace.com/hootshellmouth, then pick up your tickets online at www.village-tavern.com. The Bridges kick off the evening's festivities.
Happy Anniversary Philly Local
[+ Show ]
Hoots And Hellmouth are blazing some pretty crazy and unique roots music trails and are a blast in c...Hoots And Hellmouth are blazing some pretty crazy and unique roots music trails and are a blast in concert.
we have enough material to fill a whole evening with our originals, although we usually do 30 to 45 minute sets when on tour. we often include a few covers from the traditional americana songbook ("samson & delilah," "cocaine," "babe, it ain't no lie," and a few others) as well as a stirring original take on leonard cohen's "hallelujah." typically, the shorter the set, the fewer covers we'll do (~1 for every 7 originals).
There are no upcoming dates at this time.