Dark Hollow Bottling Company
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Dark Hollow Bottling Company

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"A moving second record from Dark Hollow Bottling Company kicks off a busy summer"

Talk about a band stepping up their game. Dark Hollow Bottling Company lead off a busy summer of releases this weekend by moving from being a pretty entertaining and fun string band to putting out a genuinely important second album in American Ghosts that is emotionally gripping and excellently executed.

The five-piece, which added drummer Nick Scala for this album (guitarist and singer for Lost Cause Desperados, among other gigs), still mines old-time country and bluegrass territory for its sounds, leaning more toward the sound romps of the former than the in-your-face instrumental leads of the latter. But lead singer and songwriter Greg Klein has penned a group of tunes, with contributions from Scala and Corey Ramsey (banjo, guitar, bass), that capture in stark terms the new experience of American life, full of disappointing marriages, impossible financial situations, and absurdities that ought to be silly but are somehow all too real.

It's hard not to spot the paired tunes, "Why We Dream" and "American Dream," as the album's center. Klein's delivery in general has a melancholy lilt to it, paired with a grittiness that speaks of real empathy, and that's perfectly suited to the asked question, "Isn't that why we dream?," where you can't quite parse whether he's serious or not. The slow roll of the banjo and the quiet peal of Riley Shryock's fiddle combine to evoke the unending grind that everyday life can sometimes feel like.

But "baby's got a sweet voice . . . mama's cooking sweet smells like a perfect harmony/Isn't that why we dream?"

"American Dream" is more of a stomp, Scala's work emphasized into a driving beat, but mixed pretty far back. This one's a trucking song, an heir to Curless's "Tombstone Every Mile," built equally on appreciating what you have and an inevitable lowering of expectations: "It's never quite as bad as it seems/Living the American Dream."

No song here is as desperate, though, as "Marrow," a seven-minute-plus narrative that opens like Sara Cox's heartbreaking "No Harm" and plays out like a long Dylan song where you could listen to as many verses as he wants to pen. As Klein's vocals and acoustic guitar are joined by a string arrangement featuring Kris Day's bowed bass, Emily Dix Thomas on cello, and Lauren Hastings on violin (this really ain't a fiddle) the tune becomes increasingly haunted by bad decisions and regret.

It's hard not to feel that one in your gut.

"Sold" is powerful commentary, too, full of the desperation only a sparsely populated yard sale can provide: "So how much for a pound of my blood?/A pound of my flesh?/What you payin' for love?"

It's slow, and measured, and the harmonies resonate wonderfully. Todd Hutchisen's production (along with his numerous instrumental contributions) is live and raw and makes sure that all of that emotion and effort comes through.

Maybe it's not the perfect, sunshiney summer fare, but if this is an indication of what's on tap for 2012's summer season, we're in for some great stuff.

Read more: http://thephoenix.com/boston/music/139830-moving-second-record-from-dark-hollow-bottling-c/#ixzz27u2nZGOv
- Portland Phoenix

"Dark Hollow Bottling Company – American Ghosts Review"

Dark Hollow Bottling Company’s second full-length album sees the five-piece string band play to their strengths with songs that are simple, brief and catchy. Their combination of folk and bluegrass comes straight from the backwoods but the lyrics are surprisingly more sensible and thankfully less twangy than what a casual listener might expect from those particular genres.

American Ghosts is built around carefully plucked guitar and banjo melodies that are beautiful without being too complex. Admittedly this part feels very familiar because the band has taken a traditional approach to the musicianship. The inclusion of mandolin, fiddle and squeezebox helps round out the somber and light atmospheres of each song quite well. Vocalist Corey Ramsey matches the rustic tones of the music in his performance but the most fun is had when the band harmonizes, like during “High On a Mountain.” The group vocals are sometimes rough around the edges yet retain a warm and relatable charm.

Mood-wise American Ghosts is very gray, favoring a darker attitude over the upbeat. “Marrow” is the trump card, an emotionally confused and distant narrative that starts with haunting bare-bones strumming before building to its tense climax. There’s a fistful of gems on the less serious side, too, especially “My Own” and its rapid delivery and playing that go unmatched elsewhere on the album.

The only disappointment, as slight as it is, is just how by the numbers the music seems. You feel like you know the songs as soon as you start listening, and given their sing-along nature I do consider this a good thing, but I’m hard pressed to find anything here that I could say is breaking new ground. There’s still a great deal of fun to be had here but I hope that DHBC will allow themselves to experiment more in the future. They’ve certainly got the talent to warrant taking such a risk.
Kyle Gervais

Thumbs up

This new wave of Americana, it has become one of my many enemies. I don’t care if it’s The Avett Brothers or a dozen other bands with Brothers in their name, it does nothing for me. I hate banjos. I prefer the future to the past. While Mumford and Sons are playing the Eastern Prom this summer, I hope to be out of town so as to not hear their British shanty take on this already overdone sound. Basically, if you’re not The Band, it’s going to take a bit to win me over.

But without trying very hard, Dark Hollow Bottling Company does just that with American Ghosts. The songs are simple, effortlessly catchy, well-played, dirty, roughly produced and most importantly, feel real. This isn’t some bullshit, I’m-just-going-to-throw-on-suspenders-and-play-an-acoustic-guitar act. There’s pain and regret and danger. While there are enough elements to connect DHBC to all of the groups I bashed in my intro, the band is closer in tone to acts like the Drive-By Truckers or Steve Earle. “Why We Dream,” which sounds more than a bit like the Jayhawks, starts things strong and while the bridge of “Sold” would usually bug me big time, the chorus and message is too good to write off. But “Marrow” is the peak, utilizing all of its seven minutes brilliantly and displaying true emotion. It’s the type of song that is so good it could make the rest of the album useless, but luckily does not.

“Black Tears” follows and with the change-up in lead vocals and energy, is the second high point of Ghosts. While there is some fluff scattered throughout (“My Own”, “High On the Mountain”, “Watch Your Back”), the record as a whole works extremely well and, between the alternating voices and the variety of hooks, flies by which is quite a feat considering how serious most of it is. Greg Klein, Corey Ramsey, Riley Shryock, Nick Scala and Jim White have created not just a solid album from a genre I would never listen to by choice, but have also put out one of the best records I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing in 2012. - Dispatch

"CD Review: Dark Hollow Bottling shines with a fresh, authentic sound"

Some bands wear their hearts on their collective sleeve. They have much to say, and say it with guts and glory. It may seem as if their delivery is effortless, only because they are so close to the source that inspired them and they do not waver on their path to create from that inspiration.

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Based on a four-star scale

Dark Hollow Bottling Company is a band that exemplifies this music, merging rootsy folk, bluegrass and Americana.

The band's new CD, "American Ghosts," seems to have been extracted from deep inside the souls of the members.

With Greg Klein's Dylanesque voice dominating throughout, a realness of his character is explicit and believable.

One standout track is "Marrow." The title kind of says it all. What's deeper inside you than the marrow in your body? So what better to symbolize the roots of your deepest feelings of comfort of who you are?

The lyrics of the chorus ring out: "In the marrow of my bones/ Is the place I call my home/ If I wander off alone/ Would you point me my way home?"

The song is a slower groove, with simple acoustic guitar strumming. But the band incorporates some lovely string arrangements with bowed upright bass, cello and violin, which really bring the song into a category of its own.

"Sold" has a swingy 3/4 time, and is relatable to anyone.

Klein seems to be commenting on the absurdity of yard sales and how it's like being a voyeur into someone's mind and closet: "How much for a pound of my blood/ A pound of my flesh/ What you paying for love/ For the auction is about to begin, and everything must go."

All in all, this CD reaches into the listener's consciousness with refreshing authenticity and simplicity.

The band members are spot-on with their harmonies, and hit the mark every time with their catchy choruses.

The rolling, knee-slapping country feel of so many songs makes the CD a great listen for a summer back-porch party with good friends, good food and, most especially, great music. - Portland Press Herald

"Making Noise: Pop open new CD for taste of Dark Hollow Bottling Company"

"American Ghosts" is the second full-length CD from Portland band Dark Hollow Bottling Company. A dozen songs painted with Americana, bluegrass, rockabilly, folk and rock adorn the album, which was released in June.

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Greg Klein, Corey Ramsey, Riley Schyrock, Jim White and Nick Scala make up Dark Hollow Bottling Company, which just released its second full-length CD.

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"Cracklins'," The Gourds

"Watch Your Step," Elvis Costello

"Jesus, Etc.," Wilco

"Movin' to Virginia," Split Lip Rayfield

"Movin' On," Justin Townes Earle

"Distraction #74," Avett Brothers

"Gracefully Facedown," Devil Makes Three

"When the Morning Comes," Tricky Britches

"Stick Around," Gunther Brown

"Torn and Frayed," The Rolling Stones

TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.

GO recently had a chat with guitarist, mandolin player and vocalist Greg Klein. The other members of DHBC are Corey Ramsey on banjo, guitars, bass and vocals; Riley Schyrock on fiddle, squeezebox, washboard, chains and vocals; Jim White on guitars, dobra, lap steel, chains and vocals; and Nick Scala on bass, drums, guitar, percussion and vocals. Like the band on Facebook or visit darkhollowbottlingcompany.com.

What's the band history?

I married Corey's sister 12 years ago and shortly thereafter moved to Maine. Mr. Ramsey and I have been playing together that whole time with Riley Schyrock, and have been going by the name Dark Hollow Bottling Company ever since Jim White joined the band about five years ago. Nick Scala has been playing with us for just over two years.

What inspires your songwriting?

Songwriting is my outlet. Some people go for a run or head out for a night on the town; I like to sit down with my guitar. The inspiration for the content of the song can be anything that moves me; for instance, on the new album, I wrote songs about the first time my daughter spent the night away from home, and how my relationship with my father changed after I became a father.

I also enjoy the exercise of telling a story, so sometimes I sit down with a story in mind, but some of my favorite songs I've written are pure stream of consciousness. I'll look back at the song an hour later and find out what was really on my mind.

Tell us about one of your favorite songs on the CD.

That's like asking me to pick a favorite child! "Sold" is a song that I really worked hard at trying to make it work in different ways. In the literal sense, each verse talks about different types of yard sales and how I find them all to be a little bit too much like going into a stranger's closet.

But really, those stories are just the medium for my personal story, which in this case was contemplating selling a guitar so I could make ends meet. In hindsight, this song drove me to use the guitar to make the money I needed instead of giving in to the quick fix. The whole "teach a man to fish" thing.

It says in the liner notes that along with the bass, drums, guitar and percussion that Nick Scala plays "hair spray." Inside joke?

We don't have a drummer in the band, but we felt that in making this album we would give the songs whatever they needed. So on about half of the album, Nick plays some sort of percussion.

The song "Wingtip Nightmare" is the comic relief of the album. The song is a story about a man whose greatest ambition in life is to use the toilet that Elvis died on. On this tune, Nick played a drum set made of a cardboard box, a hardshell microphone case, kettle drums and yes, a can of hair spray. I like to crank this song in my car and play "air hair spray."

How's the local music scene treating you these days?

What an amazing music scene Portland has. I feel so fortunate to play a small part in it. Every night of the week you can go out and hear amazingly talented musicians doing their thing. We really exist on the outskirts, but every year it gets a little easier to book shows. The kind words and support that we have received for this new album has really been amazing.

Give people an incentive to come see DHBC play live. What are your shows like?

We really are a live band. We play in the traditional style around one mic, which means that we constantly have to step forward and back depending on how loud we need to be in different parts of a song. Everybody sings, everybody plays at least two instruments, and we leave everything we have out there every time we play. In addition to our own music, we love to play traditional standards and bizarre covers, and we play them our way. When was the last time you heard a string band play Rancid or Against Me? - Portland Press Herald

"Maverick Magazine"


Self released.

Excellent first album of Stringband alt.country folk!

This is an album of edgy, folksy, hillbilly, ramshackleness which shares styles to a large extent with elements of the Felice or Avett Brothers or even some of the old time stringbands of the 1920s and 1930s, and played almost entirely on acoustic instruments! Their harmonies are excellent but they don’t waste time trying to get them to blend seamlessly; they are more interested in the feel and atmosphere they are creating and to say there is an abundance of atmosphere is an understatement! That is not to say all of the harmonies are discordant. They do blend, but in an appealingly almost ramshackle way. The same with their excellent playing. There is nothing forced, it’s almost like throwing the cards in the air and see how they land. Something that can only be done if the musicians have a high degree of competence as well as confidence. There is so much that is reminiscent of the old time stringbands. Even a couple of the songs, Kicking My Dog Around and Slew Foot are traditional, but their own originals, whilst having language rooted in the twenty-first century, can just as easily be imagined to be many decades old. Even the few songs of love are far from being overtly emotional ballads, as can be heard by listening to Nature Girl. Almost as if they are frightened of revealing too much of their feelings. For example Strong Man seems to be about hiding all emotions, as evidenced by the line from the chorus: "It’s a strong man who cries alone, takes it on the chin when punches are thrown.’ Consequently it should all be rather shallow but the album actually benefits from this attitude because everything feels real, rather than contrived.

Most of the songs seem to relate to community and the world around them rather than any great introspection and whilst not of themselves funny, there is often a slightly humorous element but without the belly laughs! More a question of taking their music seriously, but not necessarily themselves. Whilst this is a great first album, I would guess the rewards of seeing them perform live would be even greater. Greg Klein with his slightly Dylanesque vocals takes the lead, also playing mandolin and guitar. He is well supported by Corey Ramsey on upright bass, banjo and guitar, Jim White on Dobro and guitar, Adam Barber on double bass and beer bottle! Completing the line up is Riley Shryock on fiddle, guitar, squeeze box and washboard.

This genre seems to be producing many more of these young bands than for probably six or seven decades. Unfortunately, because everything has to be promoted to generate sales, they are usually classified as bluegrass. It is too simple and inaccurate to describe them thus, but whatever we call them, long may bands such as this continue to play their immensely entertaining, high quality brand of roots music! Mike M

www.darkhollowbottlingcompany.com - Mike M

"Portland Phoenix"

Dark Hollow Bottling Company take a piece of their name from an old-school folk/bluegrass tune, "Dark Hollow," possibly made most famous by the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia's Old and in the Way, but also recorded as early as 1926, with popular versions from Bill Browning, Jimmy Skinner, and Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, with Del McCoury singing. On their first album, Gone, Gone, Gone, the Company hold pretty true to the implied form, with a nice collection from the five-piece of original, rollicking acoustic-folk tunes, filled with banjo, fiddle, dobro, and an occasional squeezebox.
"Kicking My Dog Around" is sing-songy and old-timey like the first Old Crow Medicine Show records. The closest thing they come to bluegrass is probably the finishing "Slew Foot," which features a descending mandolin line aped by the fiddle, but it's not anything pyrotechnic, and Dark Hollow are definitely not aspiring to fire-breathing individual performances like the Jerks or Stowaways, locally. Rather, they play like they've got a governor on, a subdued jumble and crash-about that's likely perfect for their monthly gig at Ruski's (i.e., it's a little bit boozy, and jolly in a cynical way).
Frontman Greg Klein is the centerpiece, his nasally bleat (in a good way) recalling Dylan in his Woody Guthrie days, and he shares a songwriting aesthetic with the Guthries and Pete Seeger, community themed and smart in his turns of phrase. The Avett Brothers do some similar things contemporarily, but they're not as light-hearted.
"Malaga" is a waltz with accordion and a recurring and jarring quick strum, a classic old-time anti-government ballad. "Ninja Rose" is a bit like Fables of the Reconstruction REM in its vocal phrasing. "Stakeout" is down-home Midwest country, with consistent vocal backing, and you can really hear the room at Acadia where Marc Bartholomew made sure the instruments can resonate for themselves, with very little meddling, and you can hear Klein urging on the band for the instrumental finish.
"Nature Girl" is a great bluesy vamp, with an electrified dobro from Jim White squawking rising two-note slurves (Bartholomew got a great sound here), a slowed-down Scruggs-style banjo from Corey Ramsey, and one of those percussion instruments that you crank to make pieces of wood click. Plus the "Nature Girl" sounds pretty hot: "My girl is licorice, she's an acquired taste/She's one part sweet, and one part you can't place . . . Yeah my baby loves her loving, she don't complain/But sometimes when we're done, she wants her loving again." The high harmony in the finish there is a nice touch.
Klein writes songs that are easy to quote in paragraphs, with phrases that hold your attention, but there are some distractions. Riley Shryock's fiddle, mixed high in the right channel, can be droning and repetitive. I'd love to hear a few more shuffles and either very long or very short, crisp bow strokes. The backing vocals sometimes lean more toward the gang variety where some more scripted harmonies might prettify things.
But these are the things the purists in the lawn chairs at the front of the bluegrass festival might notice. In contrast, I could see fans of Hot Day at the Zoo and folks on the jam circuit going pretty nuts for this band. They're authentic sounding, easy to get along with musically, and appear to be having a ton of fun. It's a record with great charisma. I believe every song thoroughly.
There are definitely people in Portland who would find Dark Hollow among their favorite bands should they stumble across them. What more could a band want?
- Sam Pfiphile


Gone Gone Gone released Feb 2010.

American Ghosts May 2012 **** from Portland Press Herald, two thumbs up from Dispatch Magazine, made top 10 local albums of the year, 27th in Sales for local albums at Bull Moose.



Dark Hollow Bottling Company is a string band based in Portland Maine where they have been concocting tunes since 2002. Their sophomore album, American Ghosts, came out in June 2012 to good reviews and has been in the top 10 in sales at Bull Moose CD stores in Maine and New Hampshire. DHBC played the Arootsacoostic Music Festival in New Sweden Maine in August 2010 and 2012, and the Taste of Brunswick Festival, in June 2010. DHBC was featured as one of 13 bands a TV show called the Acadia Sessions that was on Maine Public television.