Huntley Slim & the Suburban Cowboys
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Huntley Slim & the Suburban Cowboys

Band Americana Bluegrass


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"Ottawa Bluegrass - Huntley Slim and the Suburban Cowboys"

Bluegrass has often been described as music for common people. You will usually see a bluegrass band hovering around a central microphone, with no electric instruments in sight. The songs are highly narrative, with the traditional themes of home, family, love, and religion. The golden age of bluegrass may have been in the 1950s, with Bill Monroe, Flatts and Scruggs, and The Stanley Brothers, while the North American consciousness really started to appreciate the genre with the wildly popular soundtrack to the movie O Brother, Where Art Though?

Given that musicians of my generation are more likely to buy the first Fender Deluxe Fat Stratocaster that they see on Craig's List (seriously, this was the first guitar listed today), than to pick up a banjo or a mandolin, I'm always thrilled when a young bluegrass band comes along and adds to the tradition. Huntley Slim and the Suburban Cowboys formed in the Ottawa area in the mid-2000s. They are headed by Chris Mellor on guitar and Seamus Mulready on banjo, both of whom share lead vocals. The name Huntley comes from the township west of Ottawa where Mellor grew up. In 2007 they put out an EP called Sherway Sessions which they self-recorded in 3-4 hours one Sunday "instead of going to church." Sherway Sessions is available for download here.

This summer they released their first full-length album entitled Songs From This Chicken Coop. The album was actually recorded in an old chicken coop (right) in Carp, Ontario, where Mellor's father was building a boat. According to Mellor, "We recorded the instruments live off the floor, mainly we found it too difficult to use a click track, but the natural feel of the album goes well with the type of music we're playing. The vocals and harmonica were added later, but still recorded in the chicken coop. April 10, 2009, was when we did the instruments. It was a cold day, we had heaters going in the chicken coop beside everyone between takes." You don't get any more DIY than that!

Although Huntley Slim's MySpace page lists "whoever we can borrow" as musicians after Mellor and Mulready, for this recording they had help from Lisa Hanes on upright bass, Jason MacDonald on Mandolin, Steve Stacey on harmonica, Steph Clementine on backing vocals, and Dan Deslaurier on Dobro. Deslaurier also produced, engineered, mixed and mastered Songs From This Chicken Coop. Mellor's wife Taryn made the cover quilt.

The songs themselves are wonderful traditional bluegrass arrangements with ever-present country music themes of love gone wrong, whiskey, regrets and heartaches, and plus more modern day lyrics on the misery of living in suburbia, feeling old at age 30, and road tripping across Canada. One of their songs is even bilingual. Parlez-vous français?

If you need some old-time acoustic alternative country music from the capitol of the great white north, and who doesn't need this, I highly recommend Songs From This Chicken Coop. Its an incredibly enjoyable album to listen to, and highly complements traditional bluegrass music. Put this album on your Christmas list pronto!
- My Aimz Is True (

"Huntley Slim & The Suburban Cowboys"

Now I'm going to tell you right off the bat that this review is going to pale in comparison to the review that was recently posted over at My Aimz Is True. So I will just hit the highpoints. Huntley Slim are very much a traditional bluegrass band...well not too traditional, but they certainly know where their roots are. This album true to it's title, was recorded in an actual chicken coop. How's that for atmosphere? I mentioned in the Headwater review that I loved the dobro all over it, and well I'm going to have to say the same thing for this one. Some killer dobro all over this thing. Recommended for fans of The Fox Hunt, Wrinkle Neck Mules, Old Crow Medicine Show, and the local bluegrass jam. - A Truer Sound (

"Huntley Slim & The SUburban Cowboys"

Translated into English by Nel Lansbergen

The [Ottawa] based Huntley Slim & the Suburban Cowboys members are: Chris Mellor (vocals, guitar) and Seamus Mulready (banjo, vocals). Other members are changing each show.

On this debut-cd, recorded in the Chicken Coop studio in [Carp], they were joined by Dan Deslauriers (dobro, also producer of the cd), Lisa Hanes (bass), Jason Macdonald (mandolines) Steve Stacey (harmonica) and Steph Clementine (background vocals).

The 10 numbers, clearly influenced by bluegrass, old timey, altcountry, roots, rockabilly and punk rock flow smoothly from the pens of Chris and Seamus, except for one song, an old piece from 1935 by Chris Mellor's granddad.

Traditional music with their own lyrics are woven into 10 mixtures of melodies.

They started with the release of a home-made demo cd for family, friends and acquaintances. This week sees the first real light of day in the "Songs from this Chicken Coop".

Extremely noticeable are the strongly written lyrics.

Nowhere is there a direct domination of any one style, so we hear on this debut a blending of their own style, which delivers a true, very enjoyable, easy listening, constant cd.

The combination of mandolin, banjo, harmonica, the nice-sounding vocals and background vocals, plus their well written own songs, that never "burst out of their seams" as bluegrass sometimes does, form a well-balanced unit. Huntley Slim & the Suburban Cowboys with "Songs from this Chicken Coop" have delivered a CD that has my full enthusiastic approval!! - (Netherlands)


Sherway Sessions - EP - 2008
Songs From This Chicken Coop - 2009



Huntley Slim is an Ottawa based alt-country band writing songs using traditional folk instruments. The collective outlet for Chris Mellor’s (guitar, vocals) and Seamus Mulready’s (banjo, vocals) songwriting, Huntley Slim’s unique blend of traditional music with restructured lyrics and song structures borrows from the hills of Appalachia as much as it does the gritty city streets of today. Drawing inspiration from any number of styles, Huntley Slim is primarily influenced by bluegrass, old time, punk rock and alt-country. With a raw, natural sound, Huntley Slim is looking to push the musical boundaries of traditional music fans as well as introduce a new sound to alternative audiences.