Tenessee Hollow
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Tenessee Hollow

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana

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"Hollow sounds: Asheville-based band brings country blues to Knoxville"

By Steve Wildsmith
Originally published: December 31. 2008


They hail from Boston, live in Asheville and included The Volunteer State in their band name -- some might see those things as evidence that the four guys in Tennessee Hollow are geographically challenged.

A smarter deduction, however, would be that the music they make is as diverse as their backgrounds, a smoky blend of styles and genres that's basted in Americana and grilled to rock 'n' roll perfection.

"I think one of the things that draws people to the band is that Dave (Dribbon) and I are both big Zeppelin fans," slide guitarist Chris Budro told The Daily Times this week. "I wouldn't say that directly influences our writing, but it definitely influences our tastes, which indirectly influences the way we write and produce things. We always aim for a really heavy-hitting, driving backline.

"We always wanted that really solid rhythm, that really pounding background, and when you mix that with the bottleneck style of blues that I play, it kind of gives it a little bit of a harder sound while still keeping to that country-blues style. I think that's what sets us apart."

In fact, Budro added, when he and Dribbon first moved to Asheville, N.C., they were greeted with enthusiasm. Several fans told the group that in a city known for its live music scene, Tennessee Hollow stood out as doing something different. That alone would have been incentive enough for the two to move south from Boston, but the city itself cast a spell on them the first time they paid it a visit.

Growing up, Budro was mesmerized by classic rock -- early Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones drew upon traditional American blues, and when he traced the origins of the music those bands made back to the source, he found Big Bill Broonzy -- a bottleneck blues god whose method became Budro's obsession.

"It's such a different slide style than I saw anybody else play," he said. "Growing up, when I saw the slide guitar, I thought of Duane Allman. The idea that it's a combination of the finger-picking and the old country-blues style is more interesting to me, and the idea of playing three different rhythms in one hand was really interesting. I guess a lot of it had to do with personal taste and what I was listening to at the time."

In Boston, Budro quit the band he was in at the time and concentrated on channeling the 1930s. Dribbon, at the time, was into artists like Tom Waits and The Band, and when the two met and played together the first time, there was chemistry in the way they bounced ideas off of one another.

"It was better than what I did and what he'd done on our own," Budro said. "I think the whole record ("Waiting to Get Out of Town") represents a combination of our writing style together, and we were just looking for a place to hold onto that. Boston wasn't really the place, and a lot of people told us about Asheville."

The pair came down for a visit and played a few open-mic gigs. That very night, they made the decision to move, Budro said.

"We could just tell that there was music everywhere and people who were really open to hearing new music," he said. "You could tell the whole traditional music scene is really deep here. There's a lot of bluegrass and roots music here, and even though it's not exactly what we play, roots music is what we started from."

Together with Brian Lindgren on drums and Chris Michael on bass, the two put together a debut album. In the studio, there's a more intricate feel to the music the band makes; there's a definite greasy Southern-blues bedrock, but also some dobro, a few tracks without drums and a softening around the edges that emphasizes the plaintive beauty of the melodies and the haunting vocal work of Dribbon.

Live, however, the band transforms -- into a high-energy rock 'n' roll revival that's akin to a Southern Baptist tent gathering, with that backline the band members love so much anchoring it all in a bombastic fervor of intensity. It's won over crowds in Asheville and around the region; Thursday, the band will perform for the third time at Preservation Pub in downtown Knoxville and hopes to add to its regional fanbase.

"The first night we played there, it was a good-sized crowd, but there wasn't much of a reaction," he said. "We could tell people enjoyed it, but they weren't really paying attention. The last show, though, the crowd ended up bigger, and they were more into it. We were extremely excited about it -- we got a great response and a great sign-up on the mailing list.

"Hopefully, it'll only get better. Live, people will get a lot more of the high-energy stuff. A lot of people who listen to the record might come to the show expecting to see a mellow Americana night, but with the full band and the driving bass and drums behind it, it's a high-energy rock show."
- The Daily Times


"Whole Lotta Hollow"

By Robin Tolleson
July 1, 2007

As one of Asheville's newest and most engaging musical entrees, Tennessee Hollow will be one of the many local acts that grace the stages at the 2007 Bele Chere festival held in downtown Asheville July 27-29. They may not be from Asheville, or from Tennessee for that matter, but Tennessee Hollow delivers a roots-driven rock sound tailor-made for audiences that love jam bands and mountain music.


Kevin Smith

Imagine if Led Zeppelin had risen out of rural Alabama rather than England. With Dave Dribbon strumming acoustic and singing in a distinctive and authoritative rasp, Chris Budro plying some impressive bottleneck blues and dobro, bassist Scott Benson thumping the low tones and drummer David Cohen laying down a thick heavy groove, Tennessee Hollow definitely brings to mind some of Zep's broken down acoustic numbers like Gallows Pole or Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.

"I grew up listening to Zeppelin — so did Chris — along with a lot of other classic rock bands," says Dribbon. "I love Jimmy Page's songwriting style and his guitar playing — that dissonance that he throws in there along with the great changes, going up to major keys and messing with different kinds of stuff. We mess with a lot of open tunings, and that's another thing that Jimmy Page did. So we've definitely been compared to some of Zeppelin's more acoustic stuff, like 'Broken Down' stuff."

Dribbon and Budro met in Boston in 2004 and began collaborating immediately. "The day Chris and I met, we sat down and wrote a tune that we still play once in awhile," Dribbon recalls. "We just immediately clicked, and that was just it. We have different styles, but when we get together it seems to have a kind of magic. Chris pretty much does all the slide on the album. I'm mostly playing rhythm, some mandolin, and harmonica. Sometimes we'll take our full electric tunes and break them down to an acoustic thing, and then we have others that are pretty much just on the upright. But most of our tunes are electric."

They came up with an album's worth of material, sunk $10,000 into a CD, and quickly established Tennessee Hollow with the roots rock community around Boston. "We did real well in Boston," says Dribbon. "But Chris and I had both been there for seven or eight years, and we were looking for a new place where it seemed like there would be more bands of our kind to start playing shows with. The cool thing about Boston was, we stood out and got people out to our shows that were really into that kind of music, but there wasn't a lot of it. We looked at Austin and Nashville too, but thought that Asheville fit us best. Now that we're trying to get into the scene, and starting to play with Pierce Eden and the Dirty Work, and Quick Six, it seems like there's a bigger and warmer kind of scene for our kind of music. There's definitely Americana and roots music in Boston, but you have to search it out more. Here it's out in the open."

Dribbon's distinctive vocals add to the rootsy appeal of the music. "I'm a big fan of The Band," he says. "I like all of their vocals — Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, I love all of them. And some of that old bluesy stuff — I listen to Mississippi Fred McDowell, Reverend Gary Davis, Nina Simone. And I definitely have some classic rock influence, like I was saying. I love Ry Cooder. I listen to many different kinds of music."

After moving to Asheville, Dribbon and Budro began looking to complete the band again. They found bassist Scott Benson quickly. It took longer to find a full time drummer, but they recently brought David Cohen aboard. "We're trying to get the ball rolling now, now that we have all the members back," Dribbon smiles. "We were in between drummers for a little while down here. Things are together now so we can really start pushing it down here."
- Bold Life


"Waiting to Get Out of Town Review"

"With the staple bottleneck blues playing of Chris Budro and Dave Dribbon, Tennessee Hollow can easily be compared to jam band heroes The North Mississippi All-Stars or Stevie Ray Vaughan. But, when laying down the electric guitars for the dobro and acoustic guitars, Tennessee Hollow doesn't sound too far removed from Zeppelin's broken down blues tunes like "Gallows Pole" or "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp." What I especially like about Tennessee Hollow, besides their friendly songs, is that lead singer Dave Dribbon stays true to his natural voice and doesn't sing in a forced growl like many blues imitators."
-Evan James - American Songwriter


Discography

Waiting to Get Out of Town (2006)
Remember Your Smiles EP (2012)

Photos

Bio

Ten Hollow takes pride in its roots. Raised on a mixture of early century acoustic blues and classic rock, the band is comprised of lead singer Dave Dribbon, slide guitarist Chris Budro, Trevor Stoia on bass, and drummer Kent Spillmann.

Dave and Chris, the backbone of the band, met at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and immediately began writing songs together. What emerged was a blend of swampy rock and stripped down acoustic blues and folk which American Songwriter Magazine compared to Led Zeppelin’s broken down blues tunes.

Dave Dribbon’s lead vocals are filled with gritty passion, combined with Chris Budro’s slide guitar, which the Knoxville Daily Times described as “greasy, like fat from just-fried bacon.”
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Visit us at:
www.tenhollow.com
www.myspace.com/tenhollow
www.reverbnation.com/tenhollow