HOTCHA!

HOTCHA!

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandAmericanaFolk

"Dust Bowl Roots with a Big Bad Beat" and vintage hillbilly swing, played with the energy of a runaway train.

Band Press

Album review: HOTCHA! – Dust Bowl Roots … Songs For The New Depression – Livemusicreport.com

by John Taylor — May 2009

Whether planned or not, the release of HOTCHA!’s debut, subtitled Songs For The New Depression, couldn’t have come at a better time. With the news all bad and the economy in a tailspin, songs that address the very real human concerns of simple survival in a harsh world seem timely indeed.

HOTCHA! is a duo, with Beverly Kreller contributing accordion, bodhran, and various percussive effects (one mustn’t forget the kazoo or the mouth trumpet!). Guitarist Howard Druckman also handles harmonica, and both contribute vocals, with Kreller taking most leads. They’re augmented on this outing by a number of friends who contribute various strings, handclaps, and foot-stomps.

The material here is a collection of new and old, with the duo’s originals sounding both old-fashioned and timeless, fitting seamlessly into a play list that includes an Irving Berlin composition (“My Walking Stick”) a Louis Armstrong tune ("Ol’ Man Mose") and a surprising twist on the Patsy Cline classic, “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

Indeed, any of the originals (most co-written by Kreller and Druckman) could easily have been resurrected from an earlier age, though some are as relevant as today’s headlines; “Mines Went Down”, deals with closures and the human misery that results when a livelihood disappears, and “Bitter Years” is a bittersweet look at the pain that lingers when love is lost. Others are note-perfect period pieces, including “Hey Little Waterboy” and “Sweet Miss Sally,” the former a railroad work chant, the latter a darkly ominous murder ballad with a surprisingly bright arrangement. Additional covers include a rousing “Jesus On The Mainline,” a ragtime rip through “T’Ain’t What You Do,” and a ‘bonus’ “Catfish John”.

Nothing here is too slick and polished; it’s front-porch music, folk music, and both Kreller and Druckman sound like talented but very real people. There’s a loose, first-take feel to proceedings and technical limitations are easily overlooked in favour of the duo’s genuine enthusiasm and infectious energy. They’re having fun — just listen to Kreller’s clucking on “Ol Man Mose,” or the free-spirited kazoo solo that follows, and try not to smile …! Or take “Foie Gras (Dance Of The Fatted Ducks)”, a romping ditty that sounds as though it’s been plucked straight from the farm. Kreller and Druckman understand that the only sensible response to hard times is laughter, good company, and doing the best we can with what we’ve got. And if time’s all you’ve got to spend, listening to HOTCHA! is a fine way to spend it …!

Album review: Dust Bowl Roots – Sceneandheard.ca

by Ted Francis - May 05, 2009

The hollow drums on leadoff track 'Mines Went Down' set the mood for the remaining 11 tunes, which follow a dusty railroad back to the Great Depression.

The grittiness of the era lends much to Dust Bowl Roots: Songs for the New Depression, as much as the humour and positivity peppered throughout – 'Harlan's Porch' being a perfect example.

What's interesting about Dust Bowl Roots is that it takes the essence of the late 30s / early 40s and plants it in a modern context. What better time to release a depression-tinged release than right now, when the economy is tanking and millions of people are feeling, well, depressed.

Most musicians can't pump out a full CD in a few months, so the members of HOTCHA! – Beverly Kreller and Howard Druckman – had to have been feeling something in the air for this timely debut release.

There are few words to best describe the music more so than "rustic" – a mix of old-time Western, bluegrass, early swing and country gospel. And the mix, for those who feel like venturing down the rails with HOTCHA!, is wonderful. Kreller's voice together with Druckman's rough and tumble harmonies mingle perfectly with their well-honed musicianship.

HOTCHA!'s use of the kazoo, mouth trumpet, accordion, harmonica, add so much to this release, making the tunes feel as authentic as the sepia tone photographs.

Dust Bowl Roots CD release concert preview – Tandem "On the Beat"

by Kerry Doole - May 8, 2009

HOTCHA!: This hard-working local duo describe their sound as “high-energy hillbilly swing” and they’re about to release their debut CD, Dust Bowl Roots: Songs for The New Depression. Our current economic malaise is actually well-timed for Hotcha!, as they draw on the folk and roots music of the Great Depression era for inspiration. The album features strong original material alongside renditions of classics from the likes of IRVING BERLIN and LOUIS ARMSTRONG. It’ll be launched with a Hugh’s Room gig on May 12, with notable guest musicians including DON KERR (who co-produced the album) and RACHEL MELAS. Well worth checking out. Go to www.myspace.com/hotcha7 for more info.



Album review: HOTCHA! – Dust Bowl Roots … Songs For The New Depression – Livemusicreport.com

by John Taylor — May 2009

Whether planned or not, the release of HOTCHA!’s debut, subtitled Songs For The New Depression, couldn’t have come at a better time. With the news all bad and the economy in a tailspin, songs that address the very real human concerns of simple survival in a harsh world seem timely indeed.

HOTCHA! is a duo, with Beverly Kreller contributing accordion, bodhran, and various percussive effects (one mustn’t forget the kazoo or the mouth trumpet!). Guitarist Howard Druckman also handles harmonica, and both contribute vocals, with Kreller taking most leads. They’re augmented on this outing by a number of friends who contribute various strings, handclaps, and foot-stomps.

The material here is a collection of new and old, with the duo’s originals sounding both old-fashioned and timeless, fitting seamlessly into a play list that includes an Irving Berlin composition (“My Walking Stick”) a Louis Armstrong tune ("Ol’ Man Mose") and a surprising twist on the Patsy Cline classic, “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

Indeed, any of the originals (most co-written by Kreller and Druckman) could easily have been resurrected from an earlier age, though some are as relevant as today’s headlines; “Mines Went Down”, deals with closures and the human misery that results when a livelihood disappears, and “Bitter Years” is a bittersweet look at the pain that lingers when love is lost. Others are note-perfect period pieces, including “Hey Little Waterboy” and “Sweet Miss Sally,” the former a railroad work chant, the latter a darkly ominous murder ballad with a surprisingly bright arrangement. Additional covers include a rousing “Jesus On The Mainline,” a ragtime rip through “T’Ain’t What You Do,” and a ‘bonus’ “Catfish John”.

Nothing here is too slick and polished; it’s front-porch music, folk music, and both Kreller and Druckman sound like talented but very real people. There’s a loose, first-take feel to proceedings and technical limitations are easily overlooked in favour of the duo’s genuine enthusiasm and infectious energy. They’re having fun — just listen to Kreller’s clucking on “Ol Man Mose,” or the free-spirited kazoo solo that follows, and try not to smile …! Or take “Foie Gras (Dance Of The Fatted Ducks)”, a romping ditty that sounds as though it’s been plucked straight from the farm. Kreller and Druckman understand that the only sensible response to hard times is laughter, good company, and doing the best we can with what we’ve got. And if time’s all you’ve got to spend, listening to HOTCHA! is a fine way to spend it …!

Dust Bowl Roots CD release concert review – Tandem

by Kerry Doole – May 31, 2009

HOTCHA!: They may have entitled their excellent debut CD Dust Bowl Roots: Songs For The New Depression, but there was nothing dusty or depressing about this roots music duo’s recent gig at Hugh’s Room. It was arguably Hotcha!’s biggest show to date, and they responded with an energetic and entertaining set. Their sound was nicely fleshed out by the addition of accompanists including drummer (and album co-producer) DON KERR (RHEOSTATICS) and upright bassist RACHEL MELAS. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist BEVERLY KRELLER has a strong and versatile voice, while partner HOWARD DRUCKMAN added spirited vocal and guitar support. Hotcha!’s repertoire comprises Hotcha-fied (i.e. speeded up) versions of classic tunes from the likes of IRVING BERLIN and LOUIS ARMSTRONG alongside such impressive originals as “Mines Went Down” and “Harlan’s Porch.” Unfortunately, OTB had to leave before the reportedly rousing finale of traditional tune “Jesus On The Mainline,” on which Hotcha! was joined by talented teenage bluegrass band THE BIG MEAL TIME BAND, who had opened the show in fine fashion. Both Kreller and Druckman are popular members of the local music community, and it was no surprise to see such peers as LAUREL MACDONALD, PHILIP STRONG and JOAN BESEN (PRAIRIE OYSTER) in attendance.

Album review: Dust Bowl Roots – ChartAttack.com

by Chris Burland - May 19, 2009

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, so too can an appropriate title convey a succinct description. This Toronto duo's debut hits the mark on many levels. Not only does this mix of originals and covers cut through the bullshit of modern country, but Dust Bowl Roots does so with a smile on its face and at times a tongue stuck firmly in cheek.

The album begins with a wonderful big band drum beat. This pounding opening segues into "Mines Went Down," a poignant tale of the impact of a work closure on a one-industry town. The original material co-written by the duo of Beverly Kreller and Howard Druckman ranges from the serious to silly. "Bitter Years" is a sad tale of lost love and "Foie Gras (Dance Of The Fatted Ducks)" is a silly tale that could be the kids' song for the new millennium.

HOTCHA! also get full marks on the selection and interpretation of the various old-time songs on Dust Bowl Roots. The duo's up-tempo version of Irving Berlin's "My Walking Stick" is a perfect synergy of the innocent outlook of the '20s jazz era with a more modern cynical bent.
Hotcha! do a stand-up cover of the hilarious Louis Armstrong co-penned "Ol' Man Mose" and the oft-covered "T'ain't What You Do." The covers sound both familiar and bizarre, as if they've been time-shifted out of a small club on the edge of the known civilization.

This debut is sure to bring a smile to your face and a rumble and shake to your legs that'll make you want to dance around the parlour with a properly chilled mint julep.

Album Review: Dust Bowl Roots – Folk Roots/Folk Branches blog

by Mike Regenstreif - May 27, 2009

This album by HOTCHA! – the Toronto-based duo of singer-songwriter-accordionist Beverly Kreller and singer-songwriter-guitarist Howard Druckman – does a really fine job of evoking the music of the Great Depression by combining period pieces like Louis Armstrong’s “Ol’ Man Mose” with very cool in-the-tradition originals like “Mines Went Down,” a lament for the devastation wrecked on miners’ lives when the mines close down that’s very effectively set to a Gene Krupa-like drum pattern.

HOTCHA!’s original songs are very well crafted. You can almost feel the dry, dusty heat in “Hey Little Waterboy,” the slow, small town pace-of-life in “Harlan’s Porch,” and the desperation that leads to evil deeds in “Sweet Miss Sally.”

A couple of the covers, “Walkin’ After Midnight,” a hit for Patsy Cline, and “Catfish John,” a ‘70s tune that’s been done by the Grateful Dead and a lot of bluegrass bands, date from decades after the Depression, but they don’t sound at all out-of-place here.

This music doesn’t seem like it’s from Toronto – there’s more of a rural, American southwest feel to it – but I wouldn’t be surprised if Kreller and Druckman have listened to the stuff Toronto’s Original Sloth Band was putting out back in the 1970s. HOTCHA’s approach to the vintage tunes sometimes reminds me of the Sloths.

Dust Bowl Roots: Songs for the New Depression seems especially timely coming, as it does, in these tough economic times.

Album Review: Dust Bowl Roots – Guelph Mercury "Nightlife"

by Michael Barclay - May 28, 2009

Hotcha are a Toronto duo that dress up in Depression-era garb for the artwork of their debut CD. But unlike hundreds of old-timey acoustic acts who are little more than a costume party, Hotcha bring something new to the table -- namely, original songs that actually stand up to the likes of Irving Berlin and Louis Armstrong, both of whom they cover here, along with classics like Walkin' After Midnight and Jesus on the Mainline. Beverly Kreller and Howard Druckman jump between hot jazz and bluegrass with help from producer/percussionist Don Kerr and banjo whiz Chris Quinn, and while the arrangements rarely stray from the traditional, they sound vivid and fresh -- thanks in part to Kerr's production. Music got us through the last Depression, and maybe a return to informal living room music like the kind Toronto duo Hotcha! makes will get us through the next one.

Dust Bowl Roots CD release concert review – Tandem

by Kerry Doole – May 31, 2009

HOTCHA!: They may have entitled their excellent debut CD Dust Bowl Roots: Songs For The New Depression, but there was nothing dusty or depressing about this roots music duo’s recent gig at Hugh’s Room. It was arguably Hotcha!’s biggest show to date, and they responded with an energetic and entertaining set. Their sound was nicely fleshed out by the addition of accompanists including drummer (and album co-producer) DON KERR (RHEOSTATICS) and upright bassist RACHEL MELAS. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist BEVERLY KRELLER has a strong and versatile voice, while partner HOWARD DRUCKMAN added spirited vocal and guitar support. Hotcha!’s repertoire comprises Hotcha-fied (i.e. speeded up) versions of classic tunes from the likes of IRVING BERLIN and LOUIS ARMSTRONG alongside such impressive originals as “Mines Went Down” and “Harlan’s Porch.” Unfortunately, OTB had to leave before the reportedly rousing finale of traditional tune “Jesus On The Mainline,” on which Hotcha! was joined by talented teenage bluegrass band THE BIG MEAL TIME BAND, who had opened the show in fine fashion. Both Kreller and Druckman are popular members of the local music community, and it was no surprise to see such peers as LAUREL MACDONALD, PHILIP STRONG and JOAN BESEN (PRAIRIE OYSTER) in attendance.