Arty Hill

Arty Hill

 Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Make room in the Honky Tonk for Arty Hill, driving high lonesome country into the 21st century and down the new lost highway.


"If Honky Tonk has a future, hopefully it will sound a lot like [Arty Hill’s] 'Driftin' In' or 'Bring out the
Bible (We Ain’t Got A Prayer)' -- Houston Press
Baltimore, Maryland, a hotbed of Honky Tonk? Thankfully, with Arty Hill in town, it’s becoming just that! Arty’s songs marry the soul of classic country with the wry storytelling of Townes Van Zandt, and have been recorded by Austin’s Texas Sapphires, the Grammy-nominated Kenny and Amanda Smith Band, and award-winning Alt-Country pioneers, Jason & the Scorchers. He sings with an "'everyman' quality…reminiscent of Johnny Cash." Vintage Guitar Magazine. And with his recent recordings topping the FAR chart, it's no wonder calls him "a country songwriter of the first order." His new tribute to Hank Williams (including three new original tunes about Hank and his music) further cements Arty’s standing as a confident new voice in real country music.
A native of Cambridge, Maryland, Arty played bass with local bands at VFW and American Legion halls while still in his teens. Though Nashville was solidly rejecting steel guitars and fiddles in favor of a more pop-oriented sound, the music of Hank Williams and George Jones remained popular in Arty’s hometown. He spent hours learning the country "canon," and reveling in the joy and pain heard in the music of his singing and songwriting heroes.
Arty later moved to Baltimore, and recorded two solo CDs of original songs – "Based on Real Life" and "Baltimore Reasons" - and his first full-band effort, 2005’s "Back on the Rail." Recorded with the original Long Gone Daddys lineup of Dave Chappell on Telecaster and Craig Nachodsky on drums, "Back on the Rail" is a stripped-down, raucous, song-centered gem: 11 original tunes, ranging from the Sun-era rockabilly of "Jackson Shake" and "Big Daddy’s Rye" to the stone country "Based on Real Life" and "Me & My Glass Jaw." "Drenched in sawdust-on-the-floor feeling and smarty sequenced, this entertaining release is what country music used to be all about." (Country Standard Time). And from Blue Suede News: "This self-released jewel is much too good to be overlooked. In fact, it's awesome...a great, mature release."

"Back on the Rail" soon garnered the attention of Bill Hunt's upstart country label, Cow Island Music. Arty and Cow Island joined forces in 2007, along with a re-vamped version of the Long Gone Daddys – including Jack O’Dell (Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun, The Twangbangers) on drums, Steve Potter on upright bass, Dave Giegerich (The Hula Monsters) on steel guitar and dobro, and Arty on Telecaster. Their first Cow Island release, 2008’s "Bar of Gold," spent two consecutive months at #1 on the Freeform American Roots (FAR) Chart. Jason Ringenberg approved, proclaiming in the liner notes: "I doubt there is a better country album put out this year...the ghost of Buck is truly honored." It received 4.5 out of 5 stars from San Antonio’s Third Coast music, which raved "The whole album is tremendous…" At year’s end, Arty and the Long Gone Daddys made four of the FAR Chart’s "Best of 2008" lists: Best Songwriter, Best Male Artist, Best Group, and Album of the Year, while Cow Island took the FAR Chart’s "Best in the Industry" award. And "Bar of Gold" was named one of the Top 20 Albums of the Year in the 2008 No Depression Reader’s Poll.
In April 2009, Cow Island re-released "Back on the Rail," and it climbed to #9 on the FAR Chart. As one blogger noted: "If you’re like me and are wondering who the hell Arty Hill & the Long Gone Daddys is and why their 5 year old debut record Back on the Rail is in the top ten of the Americana Charts then let me explain. The band’s debut has just recently been re-released. And apparently this 5 year old honky-tonk is better than most of the stuff coming out at the moment." Around the same time, Arty played four showcases at Third Coast Music's renegade NotSXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. He and his backing band of Austin pickers, the Pearl Dusters, consistently brought the house down, filling the dance floor at every show.
"Montgomery on my Mind; The Hank EP" is Arty's latest recording with the Long Gone Daddys. WZBC’S Cousin Kate raves: "The combination of Hank Williams classics and authentic originals reminds us all why we're still in love with 'ol Hank. There's a dead-on version of 'I Can't Help It if I'm Still in Love with You' (reminiscent of Hank's confessional duet with Anita Carter) and a boppin' treatment of 'Take These Chains from My Heart.' The originals are strong too: 'Church on Saturday Night,' a celebration of the Grand Ol' Opry's golden era, and the title track, an ode to Hank's hometown. And I really love 'Don's Bop,' a swinging tribute to steel great Don Helms! Timeless covers, and soon-to-be-covers...all in one nifty EP!"
Arty is currently touring the east coast, southeast and Texas. Meanwhile, have a listen and we’re sure you’ll agree that Honky Tonk’s future is still


Tore-Up Junction

Written By: Arty Hill

Tore Up Junction

I'm goin down to Tore Up Junction
With a paycheck in my shoe
I got a dry throat and a Dear John note
That I won't bother reading to you
I wanna be high and rising, flying the black and blue
Goin to Tore Up Junction, I don't mind if I do

Well I got off work, had to break into my own house
I read the note she left, kicked the windows and her little dog out
A bad day's good for living the gentleman's code
But a bad day's better when you run it right off the road


Well there's sinnin and shoutin and there ain't no closing time
And I've lived for weeks on the chicken and Kijafa wine
They wash the streets down Sunday, sing a Baptist hymn
Say a prayer for their mamas and they start it all over again


I'm Thinking It's Better this Way

Written By: Arty Hill

I'm thinking it's better this way
To leave what's left of our love where it lays
We could always pick it up, feels right anyway
But I'm thinking it's better this way

I thought we might be the kind
To settle down somewhere down the line
But like Eve and Adam, we just tend to stray
So I'm thinking it's better this way

We've been through the leaving, but we know
Leaving's not the same as letting go

I'm feeling a heartache coming on
Better keep away until it's gone
You may hear a distant voice begging you to stay
But I'm thinking it's better this way

Hall of Fame of Nothing

Written By: Arty Hill

Once the greatest in the game
Everybody knew my name
Now I'm in the hall of fame of nothing
I held the brass ring
Records for everything
Now I'm in the hall of fame of nothing

She laid her love on me
And kisses tied the tie
Then she put a hurt on me
Now here I lie, and that is why

You only hear my name
Out where the losers reign
Here in the hall of fame of nothing

It ain't easy getting in
Only a true has been
Makes it in the hall of fame of nothing

I'm a sucker for her lies
Like all the other guys
Here in the hall of fame of nothing

She said she had to know
The way I really feel
A fool, I went and told her so
And so revealed my achilles heel

Now you can see my shame
Burn like Olympic flame
Here in the hall of fame of nothing
Here in the hall of fame of nothing

Don't Take It Out On Tina

Written By: Arty Hill

No one cared about you till Tina came along
When you were weak with loneliness, Tina made you strong
But now you’re out there messin with women on the side
And you put the blame on Tina for every night you’ve lied

Don’t take it out on Tina
Cause Tina ain’t the one to blame
I hope she don’t see you
Puttin disgrace to her name
I wouldn’t want to be you
When the shame comes along
You take it out on Tina
But Tina never did you wrong

Tina’s home a-sleepin when you come in at dawn
You lay down beside her with your party clothes still on
You wake on Tina’s pillow, remembering how you sinned
And it’s Tina who you’ll blame tonight when you do it all again


You’ll go out on the town tonight in clothes that Tina gave
Wine and dine your one night stand on money Tina saved
But you know she can’t love you the way that Tina can
So quit your childish fooling and stand by her like a man


If You See Me Comin'

Written By: Arty Hill

I ever tell you about that time
I was running smoke across the Maryland Line
Forty hours on a full head of steam
Running low on gasoline
A siren wailed near the Allegheny Pass
Put out my number and I stepped on the gas
Carved out the shoulder, passed a train
Went down the mountain like a ball of flame

If you see me comin, my my
If you see me comin, my my
Hold on, I got what you want
Hold on, I got what you want
My my, if you see me comin around
The siren faded near the old Shot Mine
And I got tempted by a motel sign
But Bobby Hand was waiting on his bag of new and
He’s got a sister about twenty-two, so I

Filled my tank from some farmer’s pump
Left him a twenty in a empty cup
Rolled up my worries in a double wide
And I cranked the Sabbath till the windows cried


Pulled into Bucktown, my old friend
Slowed down where the dirt road bends
Bobby Hand was turning his old ‘vette out
And that fine gal I was talking about

Now late at night on Route Sixteen
Way down where the blacktop steams
I got tires smoking up the street
And a long-legged gal in my shotgun seat



Baltimore Reasons - 2004
Back on the Rail - 2005
Bar of Gold - 2008
Montgomery on My Mind - 2009

Set List

Typical set is 45 - 60 minutes; includes 12-18 songs (12-14 originals and 4-6 covers). Covers usually include one Bob Wills (western swing) tune, one or two Hank Williams tunes, and 2-3 tunes by George Jones, Merle Haggard, and/or Ray Price. If audience members make requests, we do our best to adjust the setlist accordingly.