Hooks & The Huckleberries
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Hooks & The Huckleberries

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2020

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Established on Jan, 2020
Band Country Rock




"Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries - So Far Gone"

Well, we haven’t had one of THESE in a while! I’m stoked to have a little more free time to write up what’s new and notable in my (Americana) world, and Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries’ debut album is certainly notable. I played “Brown County Blues” on last week’s podcast, and it’s giving me faith in the Sad Bastard corner of Americana. Hooks and his bandmates are punk veterans, but once they found themselves grounded by COVID they came together in their Albuquerque stomping grounds and made an Americana album. If you like this blog, you will love this album. There’s every evidence the pair has been studying some of the music that’s fueled me for the last 10 years: with an intensity and yowl reminiscent of Lee Bains III, the belting of Matt Woods, the soaring punk of Quiet Hollers, and the storytelling of BJ Barham, So Far Gone is appointment listening. (Also, if you listen close you will definitely hear some hints of Arliss Nancy and Two Cow Garage.)

The album’s opener, “Brown County Blues,” which you can hear on the podcast, is a searing ballad of teenage rebellion and living with its aftermath. It’s the perfect opener: one that showcases the band’s sense of adventure and purpose.

I would think that living in the shadow of Mt. Sandia does give one an Old Testament frame of mind. The band digs into an almost metal-like thunder with “Thy Will Be Done,” which as far as I can tell is about putting the outlaw in outlaw country. If you’re into heavy rock, this is the song you want to start with. Hooks and his Huckleberries use this one to flex their punk bonafides.

But the band has a lot of fun, too. Songs like “Bad News” and “Minor Villain” — an excellent turning the tables on a heartbreak song — show us their playful sides. The lyrics are funny and smart, and showcase the band’s storytelling strengths.

So Far Gone concludes with one of my favorite Americana subgenres: those songs that remind you to go at your own pace. As one of the last people in my friend group to get married, “All My Friends” gives me comfort even though I am decidedly settling down.

In short, this album is like the last 10 years of Americana never happened and, frankly, that’s a compliment! Jump in headfirst here on So Far Gone. - Adobe & Teardrops

"Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries releases new single"

Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries are a four-piece rock band from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Born out of the COVID-19 pandemic and a shared love of Country, Rock, and Soul, the band crafts songs in the vein of Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty.

In March 2020, all 4 members of the band saw their career as performing musicians grind to a halt. Having spent most of their adult lives on the road in punk, country, and rock bands, the sudden stop was jarring. Recognizing adversity as an opportunity, the band began writing and remotely demos and parts for the album throughout the following summer and fall. Starting in late November, they entered the studio and recorded the album that would become their debut, “So Far Gone.”

The band’s high octane live sound brings timeless rock and country aesthetics both familiar and exciting for the audience. The Huckleberries have already created a buzz that will only grow to a roar once they are back on the road, leaving it all on stage and connecting with fans.

On Friday, April 16 at 8 PM, Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries are performing at the Launchpad. The Launchpad streams their shows both on their YouTube channel and their Facebook page. While streaming is free to the public, you will have the opportunity to purchase “tickets” through their website, with proceeds benefiting the venue. Just head to the Launchpad’s website for more information. - NM Living

"If You're Still Up I'm Down"

Adam Hooks and the Huckleberries – “If you’re still up I’m down”
-I appreciate the sincerity of this track from start to finish. Everything about the song feels like tried and true Americana music. The instrumentation, the vocal, and even the lyrical theme are really great. They feel like good old fashioned common folk. Heck, even the electric guitar solos feel like they are perfect fills for that alt country style that has become so synonymous with Americana. This is precisely the kind of music we mean when we tell folks we like Americana music. A dash of country, a bit of gospel, and the gospel’s secular cousin rock n’ roll — and we don’t mind at all. It just works. - Ear To The Ground

"So Far Gone Album Review"

Review: So Far Gone by Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries
By August Edwards

What's exhilarating about Albuquerque music, and part of what makes it worth a damn to be invested in, are the powerhouses that continue to make it flourish. There are musicians here that are worthy of sycophancy (in an ideal world where sycophancy wouldn’t get in the way of musical integrity). Adam Hooks is without a doubt someone I’ll follow ‘til I can't any longer.

Hooks is a lot of punk, a lot of Grateful Dead, and in case there was any question, a lot of country. He’s someone who lives for the music that has built him, and he has been dedicating his life to creating similar experiences for whoever will listen by giving his all to whatever outlet he’s got. His latest project, Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries, is solid, secure country, and it contains some of his most authentic sounds.

We’ve seen some tremendous acts come forth as a result of COVID-19; Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries is one such band. In a sweet swirl of country, rock, and soul, the band began recording So Far Gone in November 2020 after a summer of writing and communicating remotely. The quartet's music is timeless and is impelled by a duty towards smart lyricism.

The band is comprised of Hooks on vocals and acoustic guitar, Joshua Lee on electric guitar, Ry Warner on bass and a banjo feature, and Dustin Hoag on drums. The album was also made possible by a slew of other incredible musicians: Scott Gaeta on keyboard; Emily Anslover on fiddle; Dave Devlin on dobro and mandolin; Red Light Camera’s vocalist Amanda Machon; Sarah Rowe singing in “Samantha (Bad News);” and Eddie Brewer on backup vocals on “Pay No Mind” and “Minor Villain.” The passion and good-natured collaboration of So Far Gone is so easily heard upon first listen.

The album begins with “Brown County Blues,” which presents itself as gossamer but is as gritty and ironclad as they come. It contains some lyrical content that could have spawned from Hooks’s own experience growing up in South Dakota. The song provides a soft incline towards the title track, “So Far Gone.” Here we have a classic, slice-of-life portrait that only a country rock song could carry.

“If You’re Still Up (I’m Down),” featuring Machon, is going to make plenty of couples happy once it’s played in bars and breweries—the hard-fought love song is easy to relate to and is also guaranteed to make you reach for your phone to call that one person. This slides into the exciting opening riff of “Pay No Mind,” which is just plain fun.

“Thy Will Be Done” is a foot-stomping revenge song—which is essential for any country album—but it’s particularly poignant because it follows the heartbreaking “For Jacob.” “For Jacob” laments the loss of a loved one from the perspective of a childhood friend as well as a parent. “I heard they kept the porch light on / For 27 years, they never once locked their front door / I heard you finally came home,” Hooks sings in the song that he pushed his voice to a staggering peak.

“The Deed” is rollicking—a true get-up-and-dance-er. The album concludes with “All My Friends” which is absolutely ideal for staring far off into the New Mexican sunset.

The gorgeous thing about country is it can fill emptiness in your soul in a way that other genres can’t quite pull off. Still, it’s not totally easy to get right; it should be a delicate balance of word twirling, melody, and barrels of truth. And that’s what Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries has here. - ABQ Greenroom

"Adam Hooks and the Huckleberries"

The Responsibility of Creating Music: Adam Hooks and The Huckleberries
The term “local band” has confined Albuquerque artists to a predetermined standard that many of our musicians far surpass; Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries help erase the imaginary boundaries and reinvent the two-word term.

COVID-19 devastated families worldwide and tested governmental infrastructure. However, another truth is that it provided an opportunity for some artists to run with new projects. The summer of 2020, singer-songwriter Adam Hooks and guitarist Joshua Lee were able to play music together. The jam session quickly transpired into a situation that left Hooks asking Lee, “So, when are we writing the album?”Adam Hooks and the Huckleberries

“When we started working together, [Lee’s] influence musically showed me a completely different world,” said Hooks. “‘Cause even I, being a former punk rocker, as Dead Head-y and open to things as I wanna be, I still had that same outlook of racist, redneck, whatever. A part of that is just because I grew up around a lot of racist rednecks who listened to country music. But when we first started this band, Josh [said], ‘You should really rethink this and look at it as a possible way to show yourself musically.'”

Following the addition of drummer Dustin Hoag came their debut full-length, So Far Gone. The album was comprised of “Tears and weed,” according to Lee. After the album was recorded, a new bass player joined: Wyoming-bred JD Korpitz.

When asked what is behind the motivation to keep creating music after so much time and through so much difficulty, Hooks responded, “This is what we do.” Hoag added, “Yeah, because we can’t do anything else.” Though that may be a slight exaggeration coming from Hoag, it highlights something important about the country quartet: Not only are they near masters at their instruments, but they conduct themselves as professional musicians above all else.

Albuquerque has a prosperous music community of artists of all proficiencies. The result is an ecosystem; while factions exist, each smaller community helps one another, directly or indirectly. The ecosystem is the ‘local scene,’ comprised of ‘local bands’ and ‘local musicians.’ Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries enjoy being a local band, but they don’t necessarily like the label.

“I don’t like the term ‘local band’ because the term already pigeonholes you into ‘I only play within an hour of my home most of the time.’ Which isn’t the reality of most of the bands we look up to,” said Lee. “As much as we want to play in the local scene, which we totally do, I would hate to label us a local band because I feel like that gives us a title that shortens our reach or expectations.”

While many see no shame in the local band’s distinction, Lee, a decorated musician, has a point. He’s not advocating for the disparagement of the soil that nurtured you or the slandering of those in your community. Instead, he’s stressing the importance of respecting oneself as a musician and creator.

A kismet combination of character and experience has shaped the trajectory of Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries. Their individual similarities and differences have allowed their goals to align.

“We all come from somewhat different backgrounds, but we all have similar drives and motivations. The collaborative process has been really constructive and healthy,” said Hoag. “We’re all kind of veterans at this point. So, we’ve all got our eyes on the prize, and we’re not letting anything slow us down at this point in our lives.”Adam Hooks and the Huckleberries

Hooks concurred: “I know at least for myself, I put all my eggs into a single basket very young, so I’m gonna carry that fuckin’ basket as far as I can, is just what it comes down to. And I think that goes for mostly everybody [in the band].”

Not only is the band ready professionally, but Hooks feels like he’s at a breakthrough point with his songwriting. After a few years of feeling afloat creatively and not knowing where his passion might take him, a dam broke. “I feel like [songwriting is] one of the only ways I can properly deal with my emotions and experiences. Some people can go from something and immediately process it and move on. And I—I feel too much to be able to do that,” Hooks explained. “A lot of the times, I’ll write a song that I just needed so badly, and it’s this great cathartic experience of realizing when [I’ve] completed it, just like, ‘Aw, man, I apparently wasn’t talking about that stuff, and I apparently needed to be talking about it.'”

One keystone element of country music is storytelling. The music
is just the vessel to get the story to the people. Under that light, the band has a duty to a vocalist like Hooks to support that transfer. “It’s also an exercise in restraint because it’s all about supporting the songwriter,” Hoag said. “So, when you get a chance to write with a songwriter like Adam, it’s like, oh yeah,” he continued, emphasizing his regard for Hooks’s artistic capabilities.

Playing country music is also an exercise in doing the genre justice. “I played country my whole life. My family was into it. They all danced,” said Lee. “Just being a guitar player, it’s challenging. Country has more techniques than anything else, no question about it. It’s just three chords and the truth.” Hoag added to Lee’s notion that playing country is tough and ambitious if you do it right. “As

a musician, it’s rewarding because it takes an incredible amount of skill to match with these bands’ styles of music.”

“I grew up in Texas, and country [music] is like the wallpaper there,” Hoag continued. “It’s easy to take it for granted growing up there and thinking that everybody experiences it in that way. In high school, I kind of pushed back against the culture of country music and started playing punk rock music as well. But then later, when I moved to New Mexico, I became really fas

Adam Hooks and the Huckleberriescinated with it as a musician again and sort of re-embraced it, especially in the local scene.”

On the draw of country, Hooks said, “It’s music for the people in the same way punk rock i

s.” There is a notion—created by what could be considered jingoistic country music—that country music caters to a simple, restricted niche. In reality, like Hooks said, it’s a lot more ‘punk’ (dimensional) than that. One good example of this dichotomy is when Chris Stapleton surprised certain people by endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement. Another would be when The Chicks admonished George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq.

Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries are a part of a country movement that is, consciously or not, trying to dispel the notion that it can’t be enjoyed from a complex political or pop standpoint. Hooks expressed that the bottom line may be “Music is Music, and if it’s good music it’s good music… We’re about the songwriting; we’re about playing. We’re about making good art. We’re more of a red dirt Texas country, as opposed to a fuckin’, you know, mainstream thing.”

The band lets the music speak for itself in a way that is seemingly not hard to achieve in Albuquerque. Hooks’s mentality is that “There should be less importance put on genre and more importance put on good music.” If you’ve attended a show here in the 505, you know that a positive attitude and ample kindness can go a lot farther than mainstream-sounding songs. From ‘local bands,’ you can expect outside-of-the-box music.

“There are elements of New Mexico that are inseparable from the way we make music. Coming out of the pandemic, it seems like there’s a lot of enthusiasm about coming out again and seeing live bands,” said Hoag.

“I just hope that there’s a resurgence of people’s investment in local music. People support local bands beyond just being at the location.”

“We all fell in love with the desert and made it our home. But in general, this is a hard fucking city, and I think we have to go through a lot of shit to decide that you’re not leaving this place. At a certain point, that’s what we really connect with.
We’ve all been through some shit,” Hooks posited. “[Adam Hooks & The Huckleberries] is kind of a new chapter. Not only did Albuquerque build us, but we want to give back to it as well.” - ABQ Live


So Far Gone - Available 4.16.21