Eleven Hundred Springs
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Eleven Hundred Springs

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The best kept secret in music

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"Walk the Line"

Eleven Hundred Springs doesn't look like your average country band. Obviously. Clearly. They've all spent plenty of time in tattoo parlors, and not just for the pleasant conversation. A couple of them have long hair. In a rock club, they'd blend in; they'd be camouflaged. But they're five sore thumbs at the honky-tonks they play in Lubbock and Amarillo and San Angelo, not to mention the weddings and private parties and wherever else that keeps them onstage around 20 nights a month. They've heard the comments so often, there's even a song about it--"Long-Haired, Tattooed Hippie Freaks"--on their new album, A Straighter Line.

"This happens every time we step onstage/Lord, they look at us like we have lost our minds/Yeah, but then we go and break into that 'San Antonio Rose'/And they can't believe they're having a good time," Matt Hillyer sings, in a voice that's just a little deeper than the high twang with which he speaks. "And every time we hit a truck stop on the road/They say, 'You boys, you must be in a band'/'What kind of music do you play?' and we say, 'Country'/And there's a look like they don't understand/They call us long-haired, tattooed hippie freaks."

Of course, Eleven Hundred Springs doesn't sound like your average country band either; they're much better. Playing a style of music that's "been going through an identity crisis since it began, since Hank Williams," as Hillyer says, they keep it simple and pure, good songs played by a good band. They don't doll themselves up in Nudie suits or resort to cheap don't-mess-with-Texas jingoism designed to make the Tri Delts hoot and holler. (Pat Green, we're looking in your direction.) They're a country band because they are, not because they're forcing themselves to be. If it sounds like Eleven Hundred Springs is looking backward on its four albums--1999's Welcome to Eleven Hundred Springs and Live at Adair's, 2000's No Stranger to the Blues and the just-released A Straighter Line--it's only because Nashville gave up on country music years ago, no matter what the Chamber of Commerce says.

"Does anyone remember Johnny Paycheck?/Or Willie, Waylon and the late and great Doug Sahm?" Hillyer asks later in "Long-Haired, Tattooed Hippie Freaks," naming just a few of the band's idols. "Hey, a lot of them clean-cut boys they got in Nashville/Don't know a damn thing about where we're coming from." If it sounds like Hillyer and the band--drummer Bruce Alford, guitarist Chris Claridy, bassist Steve Berg and pedal steel-banjo-piano player Aaron Wynne--are preaching, that they are pounding the pulpit in an attempt to get those clean-cut boys in Nashville to change their ways, they aren't. Not really. They're just explaining themselves and their music: why a bunch of long-haired, tattooed hippie freaks play decades-old music and how they make it sound as new and fresh as tomorrow morning. Why? Easy, because they all genuinely love it. How? Who knows or cares. They just do, and don't waste much time thinking about it.

The band is at Hillyer's house in North Dallas, listening to Buck Owens and jazz records, talking about Doug Sahm records on eBay, washing down a Mexican food dinner with a few bottles of Lone Star. It's a setting that's not all that different from when the group recorded A Straighter Line at South of Brown Studios in Waxahachie, the studio Claridy has set up at his house. The disc--mostly acoustic, save for Wynne's pedal steel--was an attempt, as the note from the band on the back cover says, "to capture the feel of five guys sitting in a room playing when there just happened to be microphones on." And other than the Dobro T-Roy Miller adds to "It Don't Mean a Thing to You" and "See You in the Next Life," and Reggie Rueffer's fiddle on "Sad and Lonesome Song" and "Bird on a Wire," it is just the five of them, picking and grinning, playing the kind of songs that sound right at home among Willie, Waylon and the boys.

They're grinning, in part, because it's the first time all five of them have been on one record together. In fact, the group's previous three CDs had different lineups. But this one, they all agree, is the strongest. The current lineup of the band has been together since September, when Wynne joined Eleven Hundred Springs full time. They were eager to get into the studio to get it all on tape, and now they're ready to do a real record, one that shows off what Eleven Hundred Springs can do. Not that A Straighter Line isn't representative of their songs and their sound. It's just a different record, mainly because it finds the band doing something it never--or at least, rarely--does.

Which is? Playing acoustic. The strange thing is, even though A Straighter Line is predominantly acoustic, the first time Eleven Hundred Springs will really play a full-on acoustic set is August 25 at the CD release party for the disc at AllGood Café. It's just too much of a hassle, they say, and not enough clubs can accommodate the stand-up bass Berg uses for acoustic numbers. "It's like you need more gear to play acoustic," Berg says. Now it's worth it, especially since they've always wanted to make a record like A Straighter Line.

"When it originally crossed my mind," Berg says, "I was kinda thinking about recording--since Chris has a studio--just recording some covers and stuff, just for the hell of it. And then it kinda went from there. You know, thinking, well, if we're gonna record stuff, why record covers? Let's make some new songs."

"We had a whole bunch of songs that we'd written that we thought, well, we could put this on our next studio record, but nah, it might not go with the rest of this stuff," Hillyer adds. "Some songs that I've written that are on there that I wrote four or five years ago, that I played in different bands or something like that, I said, 'You know what, I always thought when I wrote it that it would be better as a country song.' It was the kind of thing where there were also some songs that we thought, OK, if we don't record this stuff this way, we're probably not gonna record it. They're good songs. They'd just fit better on something like this. Quite honestly, I think we're more pleased with the end result than we expected to be."

They had limited time as well, since their schedule keeps them so busy. It's a Tuesday evening as they sit in the back room of Hillyer's house, one of the few open dates on their calendar. Alford says he's not happy if Eleven Hundred Springs isn't booked Thursday through Saturday, at least, and most of the time, he gets his wish and then some. The group has worked out a touring circuit around Texas that doesn't just include the usual stops like Austin, Houston and San Antonio. They play everywhere, even weddings; the group was the house band at B.J. Thomas' youngest daughter's nuptials. A gig's a gig.

It's a circuit that's found them sharing stages with everyone from Willie Nelson to Reverend Horton Heat, as well as frat-boy fave Pat Green. "The first time we ever played with that dude was right when we started," Hillyer remembers. "And we were going, 'Man, this isn't going to work. They aren't going to like us.' But they know a good show when they see it. Some of them are cool, and some of them are not, you know what I mean? There's so much of that sort-of fraternity mentality that just doesn't go with what we do at all. But, at the same time, I couldn't tell you how many people that actually have come up to us and said, 'Oh, yeah, I saw you open for Pat Green. I went and got the CD the other day.' So every time you sit there and think, 'We just don't match up with all that,' then somebody will come along and say something like that."

"It seems the Pat Green audience, to me, is shifting, too," Claridy adds. "It's like they're not the same as they were two years ago. It was really college back then. I mean, he gets more airplay on bigger stations, so you get a more diverse crowd than you ever have."

When the audience is less diverse, that's when fun really starts. At the smaller clubs in, say, San Angelo for instance. That's when audience members get onstage without being asked, or jump up on a table and dance, occasionally breaking the no shoes-no shirt-no service rule. Just bringing up the sights they've seen in less-traveled corners of Texas starts a 15-minute discussion where words barely squeeze in between laughs.

"You guys just started yelling at that girl that got up onstage, man," Hillyer says, laughing, referring to their most recent gig in San Angelo. "Yelling at her, man."

"You know how sometimes, at some of the smaller bars, people get up onstage to ask for something?" Alford explains. "We opened up for Pat Green, and within four or five songs of the set it seemed like, she started to walk up the steps, and I was like, 'Get the hell out!' And Steve turns around and yells at her, too."

"Yelling at her, man, like right in her face," Hillyer adds.

"If you don't yell at 'em, man, they don't get off," Alford continues. "They go, 'Huh?' 'Hey, can you move?' 'What?' And then they come closer to understand you."

"She was right there," Hillyer says. "It's not like you were yelling at her five feet away. I mean, she was right in Steve's face, and he's just yelling at her face, you know? And she's just standing there like she doesn't speak English."

"Did she?" Wynne asks.

"She spoke wino," Berg says, nailing the punch line.

Berg and the rest of the band will have to get comfortable speaking wino, because they don't seem to be taking any time off from the road anytime soon. There's always a new record to promote, new songs to play, another gig somewhere. If they don't look like the kind of country band you expect, that's fine. And if they don't sound like it either, that's fine, too. As long as they sound like Eleven Hundred Springs, Hillyer and the band are happy.

"Guys like us, I don't think we're trying to sell it completely and totally traditional, like Dale Watson or the Derailers are," Hillyer says. "We love those guys, love to watch them and everything like that. Our influences are certainly a lot more traditional than a lot of the other stuff that's going on. But, on the other hand, we're not really selling it that way. We're somewhere in between. It's hard to even entertain the idea of anything you do musically being original. It's all already done. But in general, I hope that we're doing our own thing. We just get up there and play the songs that we write, do it the way that we think it sounds good.

"It's never been the kind of thing where we go, OK, this is kinda what we're going for. This is our deal. This is our niche. We're gonna dress up in suits, and we're gonna do this and that. Or we're gonna be the new outlaws. It's never like that. We just get up there, we do our thing and play our music, and that's it."
- Dallas Observer - Zac Crain


"Thank God It's Monday"

An explosion of graffiti covers the walls and ceiling of the room, Lone Star beer flows from the bar like sweat on a thick August night, and the sharp voice of a fiddle cuts down the long, narrow concrete floor. Neon beer signs lend a mellow, buzzing backdrop to a midnight crowd no social anthropologist could categorize. A huddle of tattooed rockabillies over here, near a gaggle of Park Cities blondes. A herd of cowboys lean their Wranglers against the bar, Stetsons shadowing their eyes, their boots caked with the manure of a weekend roundup. Twenty feet from the stage, some middle-aged suits punch the air with their fists, whooping along with the band. "Raise hell! Drink beer! That's all there is to do around here," the room bellows, heaving in a united determination to absorb all that generous sound flowing from the stage and all the beer from behind the bar.

The band is to blame for such a gloriously disparate crowd. Eleven Hundred Springs has stumbled into the unlikely role of Deep Ellum saviors, delivering the purest country this city could hope for, playing songs as though the music might just redeem downtown's rotting, callous soul. On this night at Adair's -- hell, every Monday night at the long-standing honky tonk -- tight little masses descend to witness the baptism of not only a weeknight but the whole area. For a few hours every week, Eleven Hundred Springs rechristens Commerce in the name of the father (Johnny Cash), the son (George Jones), and the Holy Spirit (Hank Williams). Amen.

"I have no problem saying we're straight-up country," says Matt Hillyer, the band's frontman and songwriter. Three of the four Eleven Hundred Springs members are scarfing down lunch at an Italian restaurant while they give the second substantial interview about the band's 18-month existence. One thing is clear: They feel they've finally built a machine that works as well for them as it does for their swelling audience. "These wheels are rolling a lot easier than with other projects I've done," Hillyer says.

Hillyer is a local guitar hero in the genuine sense, a guy who stepped up to the club-circuit plate seven years ago at the ripe old age of 17, was labeled "prodigy" by a slobbering music press, and has honed his chops ever since. With time and at least four bands behind him (including Lone Star Trio and Strap), Hillyer has finally grown into his talent the way a boy grows into his feet: slowly but surely, and so naturally we didn't quite notice. Essentially, he's moved from restless kid attempting a greener musical aggression to a wiser, relaxed artist who's found his muse. "I write these songs, and now I'm realizing how fun this can be," Hillyer says. "We play stuff that's fun to write, fun to go see, fun to listen to." That he's matched the maturity of his music with more instinctive, dead-on playing is no surprise. Hillyer's guitar packs all the roar and whisper of a hallowed veteran.

Eleven Hundred Springs' evenhanded recipe of original music and traditional country songs is not only the result of the band members' collective focus but of their experience performing together. "Three of us have been playing for years, and we've learned what's important in a band, how to make decisions," says Steve Berg, Eleven Hundred's bassist and Hillyer's bandmate throughout the decade. "We know our strengths, we know how to address problems and take care of them, and we like each other. It frees us up to be serious about this."

It didn't start that way. "We were all working on other projects at first," says drummer Bruce Alford, ex of Vibrolux. "I was in Birch County, and Strap was still going. This was just something we did for fun once a week. I'd never played country before in my life and thought it might be interesting." Eleven Hundred Springs took the Monday-night slot at Adair's back in December 1997. By the following month, the lineup solidified: Hillyer at the helm, Berg on bass, and the bespectacled newcomer Jason Garner on fiddle. ("We found him through friends," Hillyer says. "He'd never played in a band before.") Steady rock drummer Alford rounded out the group on a pared-down trap kit.

The curious regulars watched the band evolve. It tried out new material and pulled out old gems, but it would be half a year before the band's members would begin to see the project with fresh eyes, watching it grow from a novelty to a recording project to a creative wellspring.

"With as much bullshit as the three of us have had to deal with in other circuits, as hard as we've worked, this time everything made a lot of sense," Hillyer says. "Things have just fallen into place." The band discussed the project's potential while self-recording some raw songs last summer. "That's when me and Steve realized how far this might go," Alford says. "From that point on, it became our main thing."

The sales of that cassette EP at shows allowed the band to record the full-length Welcome to Eleven Hundred Springs last winter, a project engineered by Reed Easterwood. Its 11 originals (plus one Joe Williams cover) sound as though they're carved from a canon of classics: a slice of Buck Owens here, a ladle of Willie Nelson there, and don't forget the Ernest Tubb. It shows the kind of versatility -- swing, bluegrass, barrelhouse, and ballad -- that most country acts couldn't master playing all covers, let alone original material.

The record works fine as an introduction to the band; Hillyer's voice is as crisp and immediate as the twang of his cut-through-the-crap Telecaster, and Garner's fiddle is as mean and melodic as a soul for sale at the crossroads. The album lacks the same thing so many other studio ventures do: the band's undeniable live-show power, the game-breaking ace in Eleven Hundred Springs' deck. While a spin of the disc in a car stereo might give you a taste of the band's talent and Hillyer's potential as a songwriter, it's the live show that illuminates the band's charisma. The group hinges most of its self-discovery on these past 18 months of playing live. "We've already played about 115 shows this year alone," Alford says. "Which is a lot of work, and the best thing for us."

Eleven Hundred Springs' impressive live presence makes the recent soundboard recording of one of its shows at Adair's -- which will be released this fall, just as the band wraps up its Monday-night gigs to hit the road -- a logical step in the band's growth. If the live record does the band justice, then all those who can't stomach a Monday night out will get a chance to hear what the buzz is about. The regulars, on the other hand, can take home a permanent slice of the adrenaline. And there are enough regulars: On the night of the recording, the club was so packed with greasers and swing kids and cowboys and alterna-rockers, it took 10 minutes to wade from the door to the bar.

The band likes its diverse crowd, insisting they themselves look a bit swarthy and delinquent compared with their pure country counterparts. When up against the color-block shirts and homogenized conservatism of the Garth Brooks contingent, they may be right. "We book these shows out of town at country bars, and then we show up and the club owners look at us like we're crazy, like we're lying about playing real country," Berg says. His forearms, like those of his bandmates, are covered with tattoos. "Then we start playing, and they love it and ask us back."

But toss in Alford's nose ring, Hillyer's long hair snaking halfway down his back, and Garner's grad-student demeanor, and suddenly the band seems right at home in downtown Dallas. This paradox is proof of country music's ever-diversifying tentacles. Indie-rock fans have been listening to Johnny Cash all along -- even if Cash's contemporaries are just now starting to realize that audiophiles always have room for songs about love gone wrong and lone riders. The band members' appearances don't phase the crowd at Adair's any more than they would an audience at Trees, although the group insists things don't go well for them in a true rock environment. "We've played Curtain Club and Trees," Alford says. "It was pointless."

"Maybe not so much pointless as just silly, especially after playing Adair's and Billy Bob's and the [Gypsy] Tea Room," Hillyer says. "Thing is, in rock clubs you're just getting warmed up and then you're done. We like to play a good long while. Most country clubs will let you play at least an hour and a half, even when there are other bands."

At one-set shows, Eleven Hundred plays all originals, but at Adair's, the band plays three sets, spanning a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. slot that not only suits the atmospheric momentum of heartbreak tunes and canned beer but also allows the band to explore its terrain more fully. "There are a gazillion old country tunes I'd like to play," Hillyer says. "We try to pick some obscure ones, just so that it might be all new to the younger people in the crowd. But I've written new songs, and we hope to do another record this winter."

Back at Adair's the following Monday, a lingering, glassy-eyed audience hangs on to every note of the ballad "Queen of Canton Street," a song Hillyer wrote about his earlier days playing Deep Ellum's other, long-closed honky tonk, Naomi's. "I was only 17, singin' songs on your back porch," he sings. "And though I may have been a little green, you lit the fire and I took the torch." Hillyer has come a long way since 1992, only to end up almost at the beginning again. And from the sound of things, maybe that's right where he belongs.

- Dallas Observer - Christina Rees


"Phases and Stages"




May 9, 2003:






Eleven Hundred Springs
Broken Dreams (Last Beat) Dallas/Fort Worth denizens Eleven Hundred Springs tap into folks like Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, and Doug Sahm for their influences, that's clear enough. This time around, though, they bring in Kim Pendleton of Dallas outfit Vibrolux and put across five songs that sound more like the better side of the Burrito Brothers than traditional Texas stuff. Lead singer Matt Hillyer even sounds more than a little like Gram Parsons at times, with Pendleton providing a sultry counterpoint. The title track is wrapped around a wash of minor chords and shivery steel guitar, with Hillyer and Pendleton's harmonies woven together and a rumbling baritone guitar providing the deep twang backing. They even take on John Prine's winking, weed-friendly chestnut "Illegal Smile" and do it justice. The only gripe? That'd be the fact that there are only five songs here. How about a full-length with Pendleton? The combination works.

FOUR STARS - Austin Chronicle


"Record Review: Eleven Hundred Springs, "Bandwagon" (Palo Duro)"

The renegade country quintet from Dallas keeps honing its sound, and it rings as clear as a cowbell on its first CD on a big-time label.


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It's a refreshing retro, with hints of band members' heroes — the late Doug Sahm, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, along with Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, the Byrds and New Riders of the Purple Sage.

With equal parts of electric and acoustic plus plenty of humor and heartbreak, Eleven Hundred Springs will quench the thirst of those seeking an alternative to cookie-cutter Nashville country as well as frat-boy Texas Music.

The 14-cut album improves on previously released songs such as "The Only Thing She Left Me Was the Blues" and "Long Haired Tattooed Hippie Freaks." New ones include "Northside Blues," about giving and getting in San Antonio (the video was shot at Casbeers), and "Can't Win for Losing," about a back-stabbing pal.

While lead singer and guitarist Matt Hillyer wrote or co-wrote most of the songs, the band cranks up the cool with a trio of choice covers including a steaming version of "The Rock Island Line."

—John Goodspeed
- San Antonio Express-News


"Eleven Hundred Springs: Bandwagon Review"

Eleven Hundred Springs has cultivated a significant following thanks to homegrown recordings and a constant touring schedule. Now signed to Palo Duro Records ("Country Music, Texas Spirit'"—yet still based in Tennessee), EHS has the distribution and backing to help the band reach the big-time.

Just because the band signed a new record deal doesn't mean that it has changed its style or abandoned its roots. Eleven Hundred Springs definitely delivers on Bandwagon. With a voice reminiscent of a young Rodney Crowell, lead vocalist and songwriter Matt Hillyer guides EHS through a potent country, blues, and rockabilly blend.

The anthemic "Long Haired Tattooed Hippie Freaks" sets the stage: They call us long haired, tattooed, hippie freaks / You know they ain't all wrong / You'd think they never saw a bad outlaw / Singin' a country song / But if they'd close their eyes and open their ears / And let the music speak / They'd hear good old country music / Not just long haired, tattooed freaks. While the band may have signed to a Nashville label, they're still Texas Music outlaws. That outlaw spirit shines through on cuts like the drinkin' and tokin' "Thunderbird Will Do Just Fine" and the anti-establishment "Hank Williams Wouldn't Make It Now In Nashville Tennessee."

The closing tracks provide the real highlights. Featuring the late Ronnie Dawson on vocals, "Why You Been Gone So Long" showcases the stellar pedal steel of EHS's Aaron Wynne while paying homage to one of the band's major influences. "See You In The Next Life" combines heartfelt lyrics with teriffic lead and backing vocals. The closing track, "The Rock Island Line," allows the band to demonstrate its playful side and instrumental skills.

While there may be a couple of missteps ("Gina From San Jose" and "Swerving" come to mind), Bandwagon is an excellent mid-label debut for one of Texas's best-kept secrets.
- This is Texas Music


"Eleven Hundred Springs, Bandwagon"

The battle between Trashville and Texas has its many folds and crevices, but it can be neatly summed up by one particular dynamic: Nashville encourages and promotes a lot of beautiful, manicured dumbasses who are just playing dress-up when they act like "outlaws;" whereas Texas prefers their long-haired, stoned, smelly hillbillies to really be long-haired, stoned and smelly hillbillies. I haven't stopped listening to Bandwagon by Eleven Hundred Springs since my copy got to the station on Saturday. Doing this radio program week after week, I have about 3 standing wishes: 1) that at least one chick calls the studio during the show, 2) that the music geeks in my audience never give up on me, and 3) that at least one, solid, original COUNTRY record comes down the pipe during the summer, something I can listen to while slow roasting a pig's ass in my New Braunfels smoker...something I can play for friends while the señoritas mix up margaritas and the mosquitos get drunk from our forearms...something that makes owning an 8 year old pickup that you drive around town with the windows rolled down, hanging your arm out the window and whistling at girls, make sense...you know, a damn COUNTRY record. My friends and I once spent an entire weekend down at the South by Southwest festival leaning out the window and yelling at pretty girls, "Hey girl, goin' to th' show?" No show in particular, just "th' show." This is this summer's "goin' to th' show" record. I like standing around in my old blue jeans, barefoot, half anesthetized, howling along with a good ol' steel guitar; if you do too, you need to jump on the Bandwagon.

- The Other Side of Country


"ELEVEN HUNDRED SPRINGS: 4/5 STARS"

If you like your country music straight up, like a shot of Thunderbird, without a lot of overwrought production, then you can do a lot worse than check this CD out. This is the ‘livest' studio work I've heard in a while, and it comes from the pretty impressive roster that constitutes the stable of Palo Duro Records in Texas. The band's sound is rooted principally in traditional Texas Swing, with a lot of emphasis upon the fine steel work of Aaron Wynne, and they have a lot of fun with the genre. “The Only Thing She Left Me With Was The Blues” is an amusing take-off on the familiar ‘She done left me with nuthin' lament, and it's followed by another chuckler, “Long Haired Tatooed Hippie Freaks”, an autobiographical song with a self-explanatory title. On the serious side, there are some nice standouts, the mournful “Gina From San Jose” and “Swerving”, and a wonderful version of that great Mickey Newbury sing-along tune, “Why You Been Gone So Long”, featuring a seamless overdub of the late Ronnie Dawson's vocals. With a beautiful counterpoint between Wynne's steel, and Chris Claridy's guitar, it's a winner. (Even I can stay on key with this one) Last, but not least, is the classic finger dexterity song, “The Rock Island Line”, which demonstrates that the boys aren't unfamiliar with bluegrass, either. - Freight Train Boogie - Don Grant


"Eleven Hundred Springs - Bandwagon"

Aktuelles Musterbeispiel für die schier unerschöpfliche Texas-Country-/Americana-Kultur sind die begnadeten Eleven Hundred Springs aus Dallas, die mit "Bandwagon" ein wahres Meisterwerk abliefern! Kreativität und Traditionsbewußtsein paart dieses herausragende Quintett mit exquisitem musikalischem Können auf einem beachtlich hohen Niveau! Eleven Hundred Springs, deren Name aus dem Slogan für eine amerikanische Biersorte resultiert, wurden 1998 von Bassist Steven Berg und dem großartigen Sänger, Songwriter und Gitarrist Matt Hillyer gegründet. Fantastischer Texas Country auf sehr traditionellem Fundament mit zeitgemäßem Americana-Touch! Man spürt die Einflüsse "moderner" Texas-Troubadours, wie Jack Ingram und Chris Knight, aber auch solcher Legenden wie Doug Sahm, Willie Nelson, vor allem aber Waylon Jennings und sogar George Strait. All das bringen sie spielend leicht und überaus gekonnt mit ihren eigenen Ideen unter einen Hut! Wenn nicht diese Jungs die Aufmerksamkeit eines breiteren Publikums verdient haben, wer dann?
- http://www.rockinfo.de


Discography

1999 - Welcome to Eleven Hundred Springs
1999 - Live at Adairs Saloon
2000 - No Stranger to the Blues
2001 - A Straighter Line
2003 - Broken Dreams EP
2004 - Bandwagon

Singles
2004 - Why You Been Gone So Long
2005 - Hank Williams Wouldnt Make It In Nashville, TN

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Formed in 1998, the Dallas based quintet known as Eleven Hundred Springs have grown a massive fan base across Texas, California, and the South through constant touring, relentless grassroots promotion, and making country jams that are second to none in the vastly over-populated "Texas Music Scene".

Lead vocalist/lead guitarist Matt Hillyer and upright bassist/backing vocalist Steve Berg have been best friends, songwriting collaborators, and musical sidekicks since their teenage years fronting the legendary Dallas based rockabilly group, Lone Star Trio which packed houses across the nation with the likes of the Toadies, Reverend Horton Heat, Hagfish and The Cramps to name a few.

Rounding out Eleven Hundred Springs stellar lineup includes the pedal steel wizardry of Aaron Wynne, percussionist, skin beater & platinum selling rock star incognito Mark Reznicek (formerly of Fort Worth based rock band The Toadies ), and the newest member of the group, 2nd generation fiddler Jordan Hendrix, whose father Phillip W. Hendrix played alongside the likes of Webb Pierce, Farron Young, and Wynne Stewart in honkytonks across the world.

Critically acclaimed by fans, media and industry-ites alike, the members of Eleven Hundred Springs are collectively making the best music of their careers, which is a bold statement considering the national success of Lone Star Trio and the Toadies. Alterna-papers such as the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly have both praised the band with many accolades, much to the effect of numerous "Best of" nominations and fan voted wins in "Best Country / Roots Band" categories. Quite an accomplishment in the musically populated Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.

In 2004, the band signed with Tennessee based label Palo Duro Records ( Dale Watson, The Derailers ) and their 14 song disc, Bandwagon, their third studio effort, enjoyed tremendous radio success reaching #1 on XM Radio's X-Country Album chart and even charting on the nationwide Americana chart, including a coveted spot in the Americana Music Association's Top 100 albums of 2004 list.

Having played and collaborated with legends like "The Waxahachie Wildman" Ronnie Dawson, "The Originator" Bo Diddley, and D/FW rockabilly forbearers Reverend Horton Heat as well as share bills with national fan favorites like the Old 97s, Jack Ingram, & Hank Williams III, Eleven Hundred Springs could quite possibly be the next big thing to come out of Dallas' highly acclaimed Alt-Country scene.

Currently, the band is hard at work collaborating on new material for an upcoming album due out just before Christmas 2006 and a West Coast tour starting in January 2007.

After selling out shows and packing festivals across the Lone Star state, the best is yet to come. Hop aboard the bandwagon and watch these long haired, tattooed, hippie freaks take country music to a whole new generation and give the finger to the pop Country Nashville establishment, one country jam at a time.