Collin Herring
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Collin Herring

Fort Worth, Texas, United States

Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Band Country Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




(This was the second-highest rated review of the issue, following only the new Coldplay CD!)

On his outstanding sophomore release, Collin Herring offers hard-luck rock rooted in ol’-fashioned country and western.

From the disc’s opening notes, distorted guitars give way to pedal-steel leads, organ drones and violin moans, while Herring’s dusty voice rides the country-rock line to its last stop. His razor-sharp melodies are accentuated by an equally adroit lyrical prowess. Layers of influence are evident; the disc contains something for everyone: potent rock songs, alt-country ballads, poignant instrumentals and frenetic psychedelic stompers.

Cory D. Byrom
- PASTE Magazine

""What Americana Ought to Be""

This impressively talented young Texan defies the clichés and stylistic strictures that all too often plague the music made these days that falls within the netherworld between rock and country.

Produced by Stuart Sikes (White Stripes, Modest Mouse) and released on Herring's own label, this disc offers an uncanny vibe of familiarity from the first note, feeling similar to (but not the same as) much of the likable music that has come before. Yes, "Back of Your Mind" evokes visions of Michael Stipe backed by the Replacements, while other tracks sound like a studio summit among Son Volt, Wilco and the Bottle Rockets - and Neil Young hovers above the whole affair like a saintly presence.

Yet Herring's song sense is strong enough to stamp it all with his own trademark, creating music that's both atmospheric and energetic and fulfills the promise of what Americana ought to be.

- HARP Magazine

"Austin Chronicle - Texas Platters - "Ocho""

Collin Herring has finally met his production match. While the Austin-via-Fort Worth songwriter's previous three efforts have been solid, serving up electric-honed in the vein of Son Volt, Ocho finds its intensity through subtlety. In large part due to Will Johnson's production, whose own work echoes throughout the album, Herring's songs are here given an appropriately arranged weight to the often dire bent of his sentiment. "Nothing's wrong, and nothing's good," Herring sighs in a trembling tenor on opener "Nothing's Good," and that tortured ambivalence laces the album throughout, much like Vic Chesnutt's complex balance of yearning and spite. "Seemed to Be" powers behind the intimidating percussion of the Monahans' Roberto Sanchez, but it's the weary crawl of "Trazodone" and closer "Little Aches" that best captures Herring's conflicted pull. The barrage of jump cut phrases sliding through "Kill the Cover" and the delicate pall of "Young Ones" pillar the edges of Ocho's sound, though the attempted melding of the two in "Hit Miss" is less effective, and the rock unraveling of "Passed Away" takes a step backward in the wake of its brittle distortion-fed rancor. For all the album's heft of desperation, it achieves a genuine catharsis, if only for a tenuous moment.

3 1/2 stars

- Doug Freeman

""Straight From the Studio""

Collin Herring - Ocho
4 out 5 stars

The eight songs on Ocho—get it?—throw folk, roots, rock and country at you. However, Collin Herrings imbues all the tracks with a plaintive tone, an ethereal texture and a feeling of intimacy. Herring, a Fort Worth native now based in Austin, tackles familiar country themes of lost love and regrets without leaning on honky-tonk cliché. Whether, he’s channeling Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, or Neil Young, he effortlessly blends various influences with his own sound to produce a memorable collection of insightful originals - Ward Lowe

"Herring keeps it short, bittersweet"

Herring keeps it short, bittersweet

By Brian T. Atkinson
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Collin Herring’s “Ocho” singularly sketches innocence lost. The Austin transplant’s fourth album, equal measures folk (“Trazodone,” “Little Aches”) and indie rock (“Seemed to Be,” “Passed Away”), dissects its coming-of-age theme succinctly.

“I like eight, nine songs (on an album), and then my attention span is really done,” says Herring, who relocated from Fort Worth two years ago. “I like to dig into a song when I listen.”

The 32-year-old songwriter performs Wednesday at the Mohawk.

American-Statesman: You did well overcoming some sound issues at Waterloo (Records, where Herring performed Nov. 17). Do you like doing in-stores?

Collin Herring: I do enjoy doing in-stores. You never know what you’re going to get. That time, it was a little difficult, but once the first sound issue started, it’s just, “Well, where do we take it from here?”

You played ‘Nothing’s Good’ that afternoon. It sets a pretty somber tone as the new album’s opener.

People ask me about that. You know, the song is depressing, but at the same time it’s hopeful. The average listener will think, “Whoa, what a sad, dark song to start a record with,” but I feel like it really jumpstarts the whole album. It’s where I was when we started recording: “Nothing’s wrong, nothing’s good.” What do you think?

Well, it’s interesting you say ‘hopeful’ about ‘Nothing’s Good.’ That surfaces more obviously in ‘Trazodone’: ‘I think great things will happen.’

I think a degree of hope is important. I had all these sad, quiet songs, and that line to me is just saying that life isn’t all that bad. As dark as some of these songs may sound, I do have hints and motions toward goodness in a lot. Another line is, “Don’t put my name on every mistake.” A lot of (expletive) comes, but I want to make sure I put a lot of hope in the material as well.

Does the cover art (depicting eight ghost-like figures) relate to that?

Well, I sent three songs to this indie artist in New York City named Niloufar Mozafari. She listened to the songs, and that’s what she came up with. First, I thought, “There’s no way.” Then I realized that it’s perfect, ghostly with silhouettes. It looks like women in dresses. Plus, there are eight of them and eight songs. If you listen to (“Nothing’s Good”), it goes perfectly.

Why stop at only eight songs?

Financially and time-wise, we had five days to record and two to do rough mixes. That was as much as I could get recorded in that time. I hate the idea of restarting just to get two more songs added on. I don’t like to listen to long records.

What did (producer) Will (Johnson of Centro-matic) bring to the dynamic?

He slowed me down. “Trazodone” was (sings cheerfully): “There were hassles and heartaches! Trazodone!” He was like, “Let’s go slower, Collin.” These songs took on a whole new depth. He added patience, emptiness, sparseness and a lack of overproduction. I immediately realized that this is not like any other producer I’ve worked with. This is someone who truly understands the beauty of what a record can be. - Austin American-Statesman

"Shaking up Texas country, Collin Herring's compelling new album defies categorization"

By Mario Tarradell

Collin Herring's second album, The Other Side of Kindness, opens with a killer tune, "Back of Your Mind." Amid a wall of electric guitars, bass and drums, sprinkled with just a bit of pedal steel, the song explodes into a chorus that sounds like a merger of country-rock and old-school punk.

"The back of your mind is where I'll be," he sings in a stinging tone. "Swimming with the put offs/In a mostly red wine sea/And what was that thought that you just lost/And now you can't seem to find/Just let it slip/It's just me losing my grip/In the back of your mind." The Fort Worth-based singer-songwriter never quite duplicates the propulsive power of "Mind" on the rest of the record. But he's sure created a hard-to-categorize sound. In the course of 10 tracks, you can hear country, rock, punk and folk. You can hear the influence of roots trailblazers such as Neil Young and Bob Dylan as well as the stamp of modern-day experimentalists Son Volt, Alejandro Escovedo and Drive-By Truckers.

Mr. Herring's music manages to sport a Southern tone without delving fully into country or even Southern rock. Thanks to that pedal steel guitar, played by his father, Ben Roi Herring, "Sinkhole of Love" has a melancholy, yet almost lovely, deserted highway feel. You can almost hear the lonesome wind blowing as you cruise with the top down in the middle of the night.

Much of The Other Side of Kindness wallows in downtrodden lyrics. Mr. Herring's not a storytelling songwriter. You won't find him telling tales about wanderers in search of a purpose. But he does stick to the drama of love gone wrong. Yet he's not a sappy lyricist, no big emotional confessionals here.

On "Into the Morning," he starts by singing: "Was it worth it though/I was so scared she'd see/All her friends were saying/She could do better than me." You know where that song's going.

Still, he is compelling. If for no other reason than he dares to shake up the usual Texas country sound. After the critical success of his debut, Avoiding the Circus, he delivers a worthy follow-up.
- Dallas Morning News

""The Torchbearer for Alt-Country""

“A more layered and sophisticated affair than its (nonetheless fantastic) predecessor Avoiding the Circus, Collin Herring's sophomore effort reflects the growth of a band that's honed and tightened its sound with touring and time. Produced by Stuart Sikes (White Stripes, Neilson Hubbard, Modest Mouse), The Other Side of Kindness confidently rocks with enough distortion to stick the knife in, and just enough pedal steel to twist it around. Collin's writing harnesses everything from insightful, dark and rootsy mini-epics to crunchy guitar pop, all invigorated with great melodies and visceral, effortless hooks. His dad Ben Roi returns, contributing a mean pedal steel to the mix. Collin's been tagged by many as the torchbearer for what's going right in the world of alt. country, and this innovative and heartfelt effort continues to redefine the young Texas country-rocker.”

COLLIN HERRING’s The Other Side of Kindness debuted at #1 on Miles of Music’s sales charts (ahead of the new release from Bright Eyes!) and spent two consecurtive weeks at the top of their charts!

The Other Side of Kindness finished the month as Miles of Music’s chart Top Selling CD for February, 2005.
- Miles of Music

"An Album that Will Be Treasured for Years"

It's tempting to say that Collin Herring sounds like Ryan Adams without ADHD. His voice is a dead ringer for Adams' at times, and that's too bad. Because Herring writes some great songs and he plays them with a controlled reckless abandon that is almost impossible to achieve.

His writing style reminds me of the Alice Despard's more country-ish moments. There's some punchy percussion, some slightly understated vocals and one (or more) melodic counterpoints. And while Herring is willing to get all rough and tumble when necessary, most of this album is burnished to a shimmery indie shine.

Indeed, even the cheapest CDs these days sound professional. So the trick comes in knowing when enough is enough - or even when to introduce the occasional "amateur" element into the mix to dirty things up a touch. Herring deftly manages this task, giving each song the sound it needs.

Herring ought to get past the Ryan Adams comparisons soon enough. He's more adventurous (at least within the confines of a single album) than Adams, and he's got a vision of his sound that is impressive. The sort of album that will be treasured for years.

- Jon Worley
- Aiding & Abetting

"Tom Waits, Ike Reilly, Aaron Jentzen and Collin Herring"

Reviewed by Brian Baker

It’s not hard to connect the dots from Country to Folk to Rock to Collin Herring, but the picture resulting from those connections is slightly more difficult to describe. In his hands, the standard elements of the genres he inhabits do not necessarily adhere to the sonic parameters that have defined them in more traditional settings by more traditional artists.

On Herring’s fourth album, the self-released Ocho, the Austin singer/songwriter assembles an eight-song set that often bristles with the Roots/Rock Americana of his first three discs while incorporating more of the kind of atmospheric texturalism found in the wheelhouse of Tom Waits and Chuck Prophet (“Young Ones”). Herring’s plaintive and tremulous vocal style and disquieting lyrical honesty puts him in proximity to Ryan Adams, Freedy Johnston and Chris Whitley, especially when he goes full bore electric (“Passed Away,” “Seemed to Be”).

But when he applies those same gifts in an acoustic Folk direction, there's a haunted, ethereal quality to the songs reminiscent of Elvis Costello’s collaborations with T-Bone Burnett (“Kill the Cover”). And in a lot of cases, the cumulative results are Herring’s distinctive sonic fingerprint (“Hit Miss”), giving the clear impression that he’s well on his way to establishing the kind of broad, expansive and unique range that Neil Young has successfully cultivated for the past four decades.

You might identify dots all your own as you connect freely while listening to Ocho, but the picture will undeniably be Collin Herring.
- CityBeat Cincinnatti

"Collin Herring "Ocho" (Self-released)"

By Darryl Smyers

Ft. Worth native Collin Herring's newest album, Ocho, may well be the singer/songwriter's best effort. And that's saying a lot considering Herring's past couple of releases, The Other Side of Kindness and Past Life Crashing, were stellar in their own right. If you caught my review of Herring's newest effort in last week's print edition of the Observer, you could tell that I think the guy's a borderline genius.

However, producer Will Johnson gets much of the credit this time around for wrapping Herring's depressive musings into sonically dense patterns that further heighten the tension and emotions of all eight songs on Ocho.

Check it out for yourself as Herring has graciously allowed DC-9 to offer up a free MP3 of this fine new cut "Trazodone," after the jump. If you like what you hear, you can catch Herring live at a release party for Ocho, December 11 at City Tavern.
- Dallas Observer


Ocho (LP, 2009)
Past Life Crashing (LP, 2008)
The Other Side of Kindness (LP, 2005)
Avoiding the Circus (LP, 2002)



Singer-songwriter-guitarist Collin Herring’s done it again. He’s recorded a new album of insightful originals, OCHO (Nov. 17, 2009), that blur the lines between rock, folk-rock and country (like his previous genre-bending three).

The sure foundation of Herring’s vocals, layered with a mix of electric guitars and plaintive steel, love-gone-wrong lyrics, and the special twists in the songs; they all fit. OCHO is another attention-grabbing disc from the Texan, tracked at Britton Beisenherz’s Ramble Creek Studio in Austin and produced by Will Johnson (Centro-matic). Additional recording was done with Stuart Sikes at Elmwood Studio in Dallas, with mixdown by Beisenherz at Ramble Creek.

Joining Herring were Johnson (harmony vocals, guitar), Monahans members Roberto Sanchez (percussion) and Beisenherz (bass), Keith Hanna (bass) — and his father, Ben Roi Herring, who has contributed to all four of his son’s records on pedal steel, keyboards and harmony vocals. A mini-documentary by Todd Wiseman of the recording of OCHO is available at

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Collin Herring’s Reveille was his piano restorer-dad’s Neil Young albums, and even today he cites as musical influences everything from Mr. Young to music-making by his father and his father’s friends to coffee. “Music has always been something that I understood,” he says. He chose the guitar as the easiest way to get there.

In 2002, he released a stunning debut album, AVOIDING THE CIRCUS, and was touted as “the next big thing” by Dallas Observer. Described by HARP magazine as “one hell of a debut,” he and it won Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards 2003’s Album of the Year, Best Country Album and Songwriter of the Year.

Herring’s follow-up, THE OTHER SIDE OF KINDNESS, which was released during Austin’s South By Southwest Music Festival in 2005, debuted at #1 on Miles of Music’s sales charts, won Album of the Year honors in 2005 and garnered national praise from publications such as Paste magazine, HARP and No Depression and mention of his writing and vocal styles in the same sentence with the likes of Alejandro Escovedo, Freedy Johnston, Bottle Rockets, Ryan Adams, Jay Farrar and Josh Rouse.

A third record, PAST LIFE CRASHING, was recorded over a two-year period and released in 2008, and represents Herring’s ongoing creation of music that defies simple categorization.