Hillbilly Vegas
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Hillbilly Vegas

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Country Americana


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ringo Manor Cd Review"

Artist: Hillbilly Vegas
Album: Ringo Manor
Label: Red Dirt Music Company, Nashville
Website: http://hillbillyvegas.net
Genre: Americana, Country, Southern Rock
Sounds Like: Black Crowes, Kid Rock, John Cougar Mellencamp
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Little Miss Rough and Tumble, Helluva Night, Grits N Gravy
Weakness: A tad more Instrumentation

CD Review: Oklahoma based band Hillbilly Vegas release their latest CD entitled Ringo Manor (Red Dirt Music Company, Nashville). The band is headed up by musical masterminds Steve Harris and Johnny Reed and was produced by Richie Owens (Georgia Satellites, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton.) Influences include The Kentucky Headhunters, Jerry Reed, Grand Funk, Loggins and Messina and Flying Burrito Brothers.

The CD kicks gets off the ground quickly with the track "Shake it Like a Hillbilly" a guitar-driven intro piece that serves up a slamming hillbilly rock groove against driving rhythm, sizzling fretwork and well placed vocals from vocalist Steve Harris. Track 2 “Oklahoma 3.2” keeps things moving in the right direction with its rock steady rhythm, Southern Fried fretwork against in your face vocal delivery from Harris. Track 3 “Little Miss Rough and Tumble” shifts gears a bit with its well placed Hammond Organ accents, heartfelt vocals against a grand slam of a chorus that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. this CD already sounds like the next big album. I would classify this music as Southern fried Rock n' Roll, Country, Americana to even Rockabilly. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like impressive Hammond Organ chops, impressive slide and solo guitar work, banjo, mandolin, and lush harmonies layered everywhere.

Now turning our attention over to Harris - as for his vocal abilities, he holds his own quite well within the confines of this catalogue. His voice has everything you would expect from a band of this caliber and dishes out a rebellious vocal flair that knows no boundaries. His voice is rock solid across the board as he takes many vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. His singing is full of passion and reckless abandon. I suspect some of his vocal influences are – Black Crowes, Brett Michaels, John Cougar Mellencamp, and maybe even Kid Rock and Jon Bon Jovi. Some tracks even sound in the vein of Lynard Skynard.

By track 3 the CD hits it's stride delivering 5 solid tracks back to back including my favorites “Helluva Night” and “Grits n' Gravy.” All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board. This CD from Hillbilly Vegas delivers 11 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. From hooky "Helluva Night” to heartfelt “Broken” and “Wrong Side of Goodbye” to rocking “Grits n’ Gravy” this CD has something for just about everyone. A few songs even have a very Americana/Country Western flair – “Faces Change” and “I Already Know.” The CD ends with “Mason Jars and Moonlight” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It’s hard to find any serious weaknesses with this CD. Some songs are better than others. Just a few more instruments would bring more musical flavor to the table. Things like Harmonica, Pedal Steel, Piano and even an occasional fiddle or two would take the edge off this quite nicely.

From start to finish Ringo Manor by Hillbilly Vegas is an impressive musical collection - period! It has everything you would expect from a top flight musical production. The songwriting – world class, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece in this entire catalogue. The writing and playing abilities of the band are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned southern rock swagger. The gals will love these guys, the dudes will want to be like them, and any bands looking for opening act would be wise to stear clear of them. - Cyrus Rhodes

"Hillbilly Vegas is an act that I’d love to see live"

Shake It Like A Hillbilly is the first track on Ringo Manor, and it immediately showcases Hillbilly Vegas as an act that can touch upon the work of Every Mother’s Nightmare and Bon Jovi, while still having a little bit of a country twang. What results during Ringo Manor is an album that is catchy and musically sound. The energy generated during Shake It Like A Hillbilly does not diminish during Ringo’s Manor’s second track, Oklahoma 3.2. Ostensibly about the weaker Oklahoma beer, the echo-y tenor of the vocals sets the track off from the rest of the disc’s fare.

Little Miss Rough and Tumble is a strong break from the style that Hillbilly Vegas brought to the beginning of Ringo Manor. However, the band is talented enough that they can take this musical deviation and come out stronger than before. This track provides listeners with a good sense of the narrative quality of the act, building off of the work of a Black Crowes to create something that is immediately salient to a wide array of fans. Broken blends the faster and slower styles of Hillbilly Vegas into a cohesive sound. The vocals are incredibly emotive and showcase a dynamism that is simply not present in a great many of the albums being released today.

Wrong Side of Goodbye blends piano and guitar into a dense track, over which the aforementioned vocals are able to sore. There is no limit to the radio-worthy efforts that are present on Ringo Manor; whether the band is going slowly or quickly, listeners will be hanging on to each utterance and lyric. Ringo Manor stays strong even as it hurtles towards its end; Mason Jars and Moonlight is the final track and hangs with the rest of the title. This is because of the distinct guitar riffs that lead off the track and a swaggering set of vocals that marry the best sides of hard rock and country. Hillbilly Vegas is an act that I’d love to see live, just to see what sort of additional energy that they can bring to the table.

Top Tracks: Shake It Like A Hillbilly, Little Miss Rough and Tumble

Rating: 8.4/10

Hillbilly Vegas – Ringo Manor (CD) / 2011 Self / 11 Tracks / www.hillbillyvegas.net
- NeuFutur Magazine

"‘Ringo Manor’ is an instant success"

When I first saw the name of this band I thought to myself maybe these guys enjoy the slower-paced country lifestyle but also need a little excitement in their lives like gambling & partying. Not sure if there is any truth to that or not but what I can tell you is that Hillbilly Vegas plays music that can be rebel-rousing at times but then extremely touching & heartfelt on the other hand. ‘Ringo Manor’ includes an excellent mix of songs that will spark your interests from beginning to end.

The Oklahoma-based group is made up of five members: Steve Harris on lead vocals & rhythm guitar, Johnny Reed on rhythm guitar/mandolin/banjo/keyboards, Mitch Spencer on lead guitar & backing vocals, Ray Reynaga on bass & backing vocals and Troy Holinger on drums. It’s safe to say that there is much inspiration backing this entire project. For one, the debut record was produced by Richie Owens who has also worked with Georgia Satellites, Dolly Parton and Vince Gill. And for two, ‘Ringo Manor’ originated from the spot where Hillbilly Vegas recorded their first demos at Johnny Reed’s home studio. Coming from the most remote of places, ‘Ringo Manor’ is sure to attract listeners with their real-deal, down-home sound.

The mixture of country music & rock ‘n’ roll is played up perfectly here by Hillbilly Vegas. Rowdy, raucous good times clashes with subtle and even tender sentiments. An easy way to look at this is as follows: the rugged attitude & tough guy persona of say Hank Williams Jr. meets such meaningful & touching lyrics that come from the mouth of Randy Travis. I love how you get the best of both of worlds here as Hillbilly Vegas does not disappoint.

‘Ringo Manor’ starts up with a song titled “Shake It Like A Hillbilly” where Hillbilly Vegas is servin’ up some southern-style goodness in a rockin’, fun-type of environment. Things end on a similar note with “Mason Jar” where you will be saying to yourself: ‘Watch out, here come those wild ‘n’ crazy Hillbilly Vegas boys ready to tear it all up!’ In between all the hell-raising shenanigans you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find material that hits you emotionally. I am also a sucker for a good melody & harmonies and Hillbilly Vegas nailed it!

I was majorly impressed with the nice-sounding vocalizing that really drew me into the 11-track recording. The overall performance from each and every member here was top-notch in my book because they are going all out and really givin’ it to you. Hillbilly Vegas is havin’ a blast making music together and I’m enjoying the party thus far! ‘Ringo Manor’ is an instant success and so I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

By Jimmy Rae (jrae@skopemag.com)
- Skope Magazine

"With an album as strong as RINGO MANOR, the band should be dominating the radio and scorching arenas from coast-to-coast"

Nashville by way of small town Oklahoma, with smatterings of Texas and Los Angeles is the hub of the melting pot boot-stompers known as Hillbilly Vegas. Harnessing a rodeo-bull of a sound, the band brings together the rowdy Saturday night bar brawl of hard rock, the Mississippi backwater swill of blues and the good ol' boy, front porch jamming of traditional country.
Yes, this sound is not unique, as many bands have trudged these waters many times during the (de?)evolution of rock music, but here in the 21st century, it is a welcome breath of smog-free air in the muddy swamp of what we tend to call "modern music."

At an initial listen, memories of the here-and-gone Georgia Satellites surface, and there is good reason; RINGO MANOR was actually produced by Richie Owens (cousin to Dolly Parton), who engineered the band's eponymous best-seller! Add that to singer Steve Harris' (not to be confused with the Iron Maiden bassist) more than a passing similarity in tone to one Jon Bon Jovi, and you have a recipe destined for success.

From sh**-kickers like "Shake It Like a Hillbilly" and "Grits N Gravy" to soulful ballads that include "Broken" and "Wrong Side of Goodbye," Hillbilly Vegas pumps out one whimsical track after another, each with the potency for hit-single status. With an album as strong as RINGO MANOR, the band should be dominating the radio and scorching arenas from coast-to-coast. Why the band is still slogging about in the underground is beyond me.
- Music Emissions

"The Breakdown"

Lead singer Steve Harris recently answered some questions from how the band formed to their plans for 2010.

“Last year in August I was contacted about the opening in the band Velvet Revolver after singer Scott Weiland left the band. It was a very exciting opportunity but it was slow going and my heart just wasn’t in that genre of music as much as it had once been. I had been writing this sort of hybrid rock/country music with a friend and it was very exciting to me, so last year during Thanksgiving week, I removed myself from consideration with Velvet Revolver and gave 100% of my time to getting Hillbilly Vegas off the ground. To my amazement people really grabbed on to the songs like nothing I had ever been a part of and I knew we had something potentially special.”

“We were faced with a challenge that a couple of people involved with the band just couldn’t meet. This is a hard life to live and it takes a 100% commitment. I was able to bring in my long time friend Mitch Spencer who is undoubtebly one of the top two or three guitarist in Texas. I’m thrilled to finally have the guitarist that I wanted all along next to me on stage. It’s really cool because our trip to Quincy Nov. 28 will mark the first Hillbilly Vegas show with Mitch. We’re very excited.”

Merle Haggard
“We’re influenced by beer, wild women and rowdy honky tonks mostly. Oh, you said musically didn’t you? Well, it seems to me I’m influenced by somebody different on a daily basis, some examples are Merle Haggard, George Jones and Hank I, II and III. We have sort of a rough edge to our stuff so it’s easy to see the rock influences. I am a huge Rolling Stones fan first and foremost, but we also love Bad Company, Grand Funk, Three Dog Night, The Eagles and more. They laid the groundwork for what country music is today in my opinion. I love some of the new country out there right now too and Jason Aldean is one of my favorites. I also love what Big and Rich have done for country music. They brought back the party. Of course from our part of the world (Oklahoma, Texas) we love Cross Canandian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue, Mike McClure, and Jason Boland and friends.”

Cast of a famous John Hughes' movie "The Breakfast Club."
“Well, actually Quincy chose us. Our management company is based in Quincy. Sozo Productions found us all the way down in the smokey bars of Oklahoma and signed us last Spring. Since that time we have been on the fast track to the next level, all due to the hard work that starts in Quincy with Sozo CEO Greg Fischer. Sozo is not just Quincy though, in Peoria there’s Jack “Mad Dog” Manis, the president of the company. Jack knows everyone and has worked with everyone. Example, we were in the studio a while back working with Bob Seger’s drummer David Teegarden, I emailed Jack and asked if he knew him. The answer was ‘yes’ and there was a story to go along with that yes. I never get tired of the things Jack teaches us and when he tells us what is going on out there and what it takes to get to the next level. Jack gives us instant credibility.

Sozo’s head of production is a Quincy guy named David Hochgraber and he’s an amazing talent and quickly becoming nationally known as one of the best sound engineers in the business. Down in Austin, Texas, the Sozo art director Kyle Strode makes us look a lot cooler than we are. He also just happens to be an award winning artist for numerous national campaigns too. Finally, in Oklahoma we have Sozo’s Donnie Wise running things day to day for us. Donnie is a lot like Arie on ‘Entourage,’ and that ain’t a band thing. Donnie makes our lives so much easier on a day to day basis and we always get first class treatment no matter where we play, all because Donnie is looking out for us. So to answer your question, we come to Quincy because it’s our second home now. We love the people we’ve met, the great food and the wonderful hospitality. It always reminds me of a John Hughes movie when I cross that bridge in to Quincy, I have really grown to love this place.”

“We are about three-fourths of the way finished with our CD. It’ll be out in the Spring. We just released our first single from the called “Oklahoma 3.2.” It’s a rowdy little number about the weak alcohol content of our Oklahoma beer. Seems that watered down beer makes folks a lot crazy and just a little drunk. So much bad behavior is blamed on “Oklahoma 3.2.” It’s a fun song and to our surprise, it’s catching on like crazy nationally. You can hear it on both Quincy stations. As a matter of fact since it’s release earlier this month it’s being added all over America and heading to sattellite radio just after the first of the year. We are very excited and thrilled that people are listening and loving the song. Our fan base is growing daily and to us there’s nothing more important than the people who support us.”

Cross Canadian Ragweed
“We are preparing to tour nationally in the spring. We will be doing both clubs and acting as a support act for bigger names. 2009 has been an amazing year for the band. 2010 looks even more promising. We have heard different names, places and events, but right now all we really know is we’re going to do it big in ‘10.”

“We would love to tour with Cross Canadian Ragweed or any of the red dirt folks I mentioned earlier from our part of the world. Travis Tritt and his band were absolutely the coolest, we’d do that again in a heartbeat. Heck, we’re like star struck kids whenever we play with anyone we hear on the radio. It’s just an amazing feeling to be out doing what we love and meeting heros. So…whoever, wherever and whenever…we are just five country boys who can’t believe this is happening!”
- Quincy Herald-Whig

"Hillbilly Vegas Releases First Album"

Local band, Hillbilly Vegas, will soon be releasing their first album, Ringo Manor.
Troy Hollinger, Robb Edwards, Steve Harris, Johnny “Ringo” Reed, and Mitch Spencer (collectively known as Hillbilly Vegas) were signed late last year to the Red Dirt Music Company record label in Nashville, Tenn. The band finished recording Ringo Manor in early spring.
“Only one thing has been a constant since the first night we all got together to not start a band,” says lead singer, Steve Harris, “We’ve been in the same room, in the same house out in the middle of nowhere several nights a week for more than two years now. Everything we’ve created has come from that house, Johnny’s House. I’m a nickname giver, always have been. As a joke I started calling Johnny’s place Ringo Manor.”
Harris went on to say, “We worried a little if people would get it, or if it was stupid. You know, all the stuff you worry about when you’re creating something.” Harris added, “This is who we are and where we come from. We wrote our first song in that house and two and a half years later demoed our most current creations in that house. It’s our home, it’s more than music by now, it’s where we’ve become lifelong brothers, where we talk, laugh, cry, and sometimes just sit.”
May 2, Hillbilly Vegas’s signature song, “Oklahoma 3.2” was officially released to radio stations. The song has risen to the number two position on the CD TEX Top 100 downloads. For a short time, you can get your free download at www.cdtex.com/wf_hillbilly_vegas.
The entire album is not set to release until later summer, however, copies of the album will be on sale May 28 at the Rib Room in Fort Smith, Ark. during the Hillbilly Vegas release party.
For more information, visit www.hillbillyvegas.net. - Poteau Daily News

"Oklahoma Country Rockers Hillbilly Vegas Score Unexpected Success"

BAM column: Hillbilly Vegas scores unexpected success
Steve Harris, frontman for the Poteau-based country-rockers, is getting a second chance at a music career more than a decade after leaving those dreams behind.

After more than a decade away from music, eastern Oklahoma singer-songwriter Steve Harris is fronting a new band, touting the group’s debut album and playing gigs around the state and beyond.

He has even shared the stage with Conway Twitty’s pants.

“You ever seen the movie ‘The Rookie?’ OK, that’s me,” Harris, 44, said, referring to the fact-based 2002 film about an aging baseball player who gets a second chance at the pros. “I hadn’t played music in 10 years and we just got together to have some fun. … I never intended to do this again. I’d given up. I thought I was too old. I thought it was over for me.”

To his surprise, and pleasure, the Poteau alternative education teacher now is leading country-rockers Hillbilly Vegas. Earlier this month, the band released its first album, “Ringo Manor,” on Red Dirt Music Co., and filmed its first music video, for the raucous lead-off single, “Oklahoma 3.2.” Harris and his cohorts will make their central Oklahoma debut Saturday at the Wormy Dog Saloon.

“We’ve all known each other since we were kids. There’s nobody in our band all the way down to our soundman that hasn’t been together for 20 years as friends,” he said as he dropped of a copy of the CD at The Oklahoman offices. “But we didn’t intend on doing this. That’s what’s so funny about it all.”

In the ‘90s, Harris and his guitarist friend Mitch Spencer played with Dallas-based rock band Cold Ethyl. They were on a speculative deal with Warner Bros., but the grunge wave that flowed out of Seattle doused the group’s prospects. Harris moved back to Oklahoma to focus on raising his young children and became a schoolteacher.

In fall 2008, Harris recruited Spencer, guitarist John Reed, bassist Robb Edwards and drummer Troy Hollinger to record some gospel songs for his parents for Christmas.

“If you put musicians in a room, they’re always gonna start a band,” he said. with a laugh. “But within six months we had our first contract offer.”

That deal didn’t work out, but they kept working on new music. Through a friend of a friend, their songs started getting play on satellite radio, and a year ago, Nashville, Tenn.-based manager Ben Ewing contacted them. He teamed them with producer Richie Owens, who has worked with Georgia Satellites and Dolly Parton.

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind since things started happening,” Harris said.

Hillbilly Vegas performed its first show 2 ½ years ago at a Poteau coffee shop. Since, the group has opened for Travis Tritt and is planning dates with the Kentucky Headhunters. Harris also played a memorable songwriters showcase at the Nashville Palace, where Twitty’s bell-bottoms are proudly framed behind the stage.

“There’s a sense of the ridiculous,” he said with a laugh. “Every second feels silly, in a good way, though.”
- Daily Oklahoman


2012 LP Ringo Manor- Red Dirt Nashville
2011 Shelter From The Storm Compilation
2009 EP Breakups, Beers & Bars



To hear Steve Harris, the band’s lead singer and rhythm guitarist, tell it, Hillbilly Vegas’ wild journey from small town Oklahoma to budding rock-country stardom in Nashville begins in the remote house where they’re now inviting the world to “Shake It Like A Hillbilly.” It’s actually the home studio in the middle of nowhere owned by Johnny Reed, the band’s rhythm guitar/mandolin/banjo/keyboard
man—but the band and now everybody else knows it as Ringo Manor, the place where the group wrote and recorded their first demos for what became their multi-faceted, genre transcending debut album with producer Richie Owens (Georgia Satellites, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill). Dubbed Ringo Manor in honor of its place of origin, the eleven track set is released by Nashville indie Red Dirt, also the home of The Kentucky Headhunters, Johnny Solinger and newcomer Andy Velo.

The whimsical and raucous “Grits and Gravy” and “Oklahoma 3.2” (their jab at their home states’ weak beer) get everyone up dancing at the nightclub, flatbed trailer and casino shows Hillbilly Vegas does everywhere from Oklahoma City to Nashville. But folks throughout the Midwest also drive hundreds of miles to see Harris weave colorful anecdotes and lead his band through more heartfelt tunes like the Eagles-flavored ballad “Little Miss Rough and Tumble” (inspired by Harris’ reflection on how fast his 25 year old daughter grew up) and “Faces Change,” which Harris wrote to inspire his son to appreciate the good moments even during the darkest of times; some of its words came from a letter Harris wrote to his now 15 year old son when he was just seven.

Citing classic pop/rock influences as diverse as The Kentucky Headhunters, Jerry Reed, Grand Funk, Loggins & Messina and Flying Burrito Brothers, the band—whose members include Mitch Spencer (lead guitar, backing vocals), Ray Reynaga (bass, backing vocals) and Troy Holinger (drums)—has performed with the Headhunters, renowned country stars Travis Tritt and Collin Raye, and recently did a sold-out CD release party, headlining after opening act The Dirt Drifters.

While Harris and Spencer had previous flirtations with record deals and industry success, their musical dreams lay dormant for way too long. A few years ago, Harris thought it would be nice to record the traditional country classic “Angel Band” as a gift to his mom. He and Johnny Reed, who had first played together years earlier when Harris was 20 and Reed was 13, went to Reed’s studio and soon found themselves writing original songs. The boys had no intention of starting another band. They brought in their other old music buddies—all longtime friends or in-laws—to help flesh out these tracks and have a good time. But, as Harris puts it, “you can’t put a bunch of musicians in a room without them deciding to start a band.

“That’s what happened,” Harris says, “and it’s been a nonstop rollercoaster ride since that first night at Johnny’s home studio. That home studio eventually became so much more than just a place to rehearse. Every song, every idea and every experience the guys shared as a band and friends happened at Johnny’s place. Sometimes it was just good cookin’ and a good conversation that inspired some of our best songs, like ‘I Already Know,’ which tells the story of one of the guys’ breakups. Johnny’s little place way out in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma became Ringo Manor…the band’s home.”

The band decided to play an acoustic gig at a local coffeehouse and soon was selling CDs as quickly as they could burn them. A hotshot from a major Nashville label heard their first song “Wrong” on a Ft. Smith, AR station and offered them a contract. Though that deal and a few other potentials fell through, Hillbilly Vegas eventually signed a management deal with Nashville veteran Ben Ewing—and then a contract with Red Dirt. Unusual for a new band in the country realm, the label chose the band’s original songs over others submitted by top Music City tunesmiths—and Hillbilly Vegas does all the playing on Ringo Manor, with the exception of extra keyboard and vocal parts done by musicians who have played with Dolly Parton and Wynonna.

“I think the most fulfilling part of the whole ride with Hillbilly Vegas is realizing that we’re not crazy,” says Harris, “that being musicians and performers has always been what we’re about—we just needed the right time and opportunity to show the world what we can do. It’s humbling to realize that we’re finally doing it and that so many people care and take the time to listen and come out and support us. We know this isn’t groundbreaking material…it’s just real. Each song chronicles the experience and influences of the guys who wrote them. Nobody wants to eat the same meat every day and nobody wants to listen to the same song 11 times on the album…so we offer an emotional tour of us and where we come from. Ringo Manor is not going to be mistaken for the White Album…it’s just life. There’s funny, sad, lonel