The HIDERS
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The HIDERS

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Hiding and Seeking
Bill Alletzhauser, the musician at the heart of The Hiders, still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.

By Brent Donaldson

“I said, ‘Here’s a knife. Glad to help.’ ”
Bill Alletzhauser, five-foot-eight, 36 years old, with shaggy brown hair and hangdog eyes, a slight slouch, and a love for plaid, just made a joke. We’re sitting amid a few scattered instruments and amplifiers in his cold, dark, basement-cum-practice studio, which is gift-wrapped from floor to ceiling in crushed velvet and Christmas lights. One night, The Hiders—Alletzhauser’s tight, slow-burn Americana rock band with male-female vocal leads and soft steel guitar swells—had just finished playing a set at Northside Tavern, when a young woman approached him. “I’d never seen her before,” he recalls, “but she came up to me and said, ‘You guys make me want to kill myself in the best way.’ ” While Alletzhauser didn’t really proffer a knife, he might have, just to be funny.
“Just kidding,” he says, laughing at his joke. “I know what she meant.”
What she meant, perhaps, was that The Hiders’ songs can grip you like a tractor beam and draw you into the saddest moments of your life. When the band’s steadfast rhythms and anodyne harmonies hit your ears—imagine _Zuma-era Neil Young backed up by a budding Neko Case—suddenly, you’re thinking about your mother crying, or a young and innocent you being abandoned. It feels theatrical and epic, like somewhere, across the universe or across the room, a camera is slowly focusing in on the alienated, teenage feeling behind your eyes.
This isn’t to say that listening to The Hiders’ outstanding 2006 album, _Valentine, or hearing the band perform live isn’t fun. Each member of The Hiders is a hyper-talented music veteran (average age: 37) with half-a-lifetime’s experience performing. When their debut album was released last March, critical acclaim launched the band to within inches of a recording contract. To make _Valentine, Alletzhauser spent thousands of dollars on a highly regarded Nashville sound engineer/producer named Brad Jones, whom he had worked with during his eight years playing lead guitar for the Ass Ponys. In little more than a week, Jones and The Hiders produced an eerily beautiful album with superlative performances and a ready-for-radio production value.
Alletzhauser sent the record to Hamilton native and former WNKU music director Dan Reed, now music director and operations manager for WXPN in Philadelphia. “I took it to everybody at XPN,” Reed says, “and everybody at the station—David Dye and everybody—came back as fans.” By any measure, David Dye, host of WXPN’s _World Café, an NPR-syndicated music show with 500,000 listeners on 176 stations around the country (and Guam), is a good fan to have. Dye placed four songs from _Valentine into World Café’s rotation. WXPN also put the songs into its regular rotation, then spotlighted the band as the “artist to watch” for the month of June, and twice invited them to perform at XPN-related festivals in Philly. The Hiders used one of those shows to kick off an East Coast tour.
With the sudden prestige, it wasn’t surprising that independent record labels, including Bloodshot Records in Chicago and Rounder Records in Boston, started sniffing at the band’s heels. Indeed, when it came to attracting interest from record labels that could fund and promote The Hiders’ music, the band had done everything right.
But sitting in Alletzhauser’s basement nearly a year later, there are a few big questions floating in the air that have yet to find a sufficient answer. Like, why are The Hiders still without a contract? And, if you insist on forging a career from your own music, as Alletzhauser has, what more do you have to do to succeed? And really, what the hell does that mean?

If you want to break up a rock band, lavish attention and credit only upon one member, and pit ego against ego until the band splinters. Knowing this can happen, it should be said that while Bill Alletzhauser writes The Hiders’ songs, the band does not begin and end with him. The rest of the group is made up of all-stars of the local scene who breathe life to Alletzhauser’s sparse arrangements. The 40-year-old pedal-steel and guitar player Toby Ellis, who made a name for himself in bands like Borgia Popes and Plow on Boy, has been a guitar instructor for 15 years. Singer Beth Harris, 35, a Baptist preacher’s daughter from Little Rock, Arkansas, once turned down a university scholarship for vocal music. Bassist Victor Strunk, 34, who also plays with Alletzhauser in the dream-rock band Ruby Vileos, among other projects, seems to appear on a different stage every night. And Tony Franklin, 41, is one of the most talented and sought-after jazz, rock, and blues drummers in Cincinnati.
All four of these musicians bring something unique to the band. But you can’t fully appreciate the dark, dramatic arc of The Hiders’ music without understanding Alletzhauser, the grown-up - Cincinnati Magazine


By Mike Breen
The incredible, rootsy quintet The Hiders release its debut CD, Valentine, this Friday in conjunction with a show at alchemize. Locals pictureshow and wil-o-ee also perform. Valentine was recorded in Nashville by Brad Jones, who has worked with artists like Josh Rouse, Jill Sobule and Marshall Crenshaw. Hiders singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Alletzhauser first crossed Jones' path as a member of The Ass Ponys, who worked with Jones on a few albums.

Hovering in the Americana-sphere around artists from Neil Young and The Band to newer acts like Sparklehorse and The Thrills, Valentine is, in a word, mesmerizing. Alletzhauser, bassist Victor Strunk and drummer Todd Drake are also with atmospheric Indie faves Ruby Vileos, and if you know that band you'll have some sense of the warm, celestial glide prevalent on the album (singer Beth Harris and guitarist/pedal steeler Toby Ellis round out the lineup, while Dave Gilligan lends harmonica and Tyler Ramsey plays keys and guitar on the album). On opener "Everything I Wanted," Ellis offers pedal steel swells that illuminate like a sunrise, wrapping around Alletzhauser's organic, melancholic melodies and Harris' perfect harmonies (she is Emmylou to Alletzhauser's Neil). There is a natural hypnotic glaze to most of tracks, as the acoustic and electric guitars and the sweeping rhythms combine to create a billow of irresistible ethereality.

Other highlights on the album include the Greek mythology-referencing "Persephone," which rattles the cage a little more than most tracks with its distorted, lost-in-the-woods-at-night guitar stomp; the trembling, gently-rolling lullaby for a departing lover "Magic Show"; the twilight-twinkling "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore"; and "Bury Me," which recalls the earlier roots-rockin' days of Wilco. But highlights, shmilights there isn't a dud in the bunch here. The songs are full of drama and soul, possessing an imposing majesty and a vibe of sober sorrow that makes Valentine a perfect "shoulder to cry on" CD for anyone going through a soul-crushing breakup. With an album this amazing under their belts, there's no hiding for The Hiders anymore. The race for best Cincinnati-spawned CD of 2006 just got a frontrunner.

- citybeat


Alletzhauser is front and center
By Rick Bird
Post staff writer
From the what-took-him-so-long department, veteran Cincinnati guitarist Bill Alletzhauser has finally stepped front and center in the group the Hiders, releasing the band's debut CD, "Valentine."

The former Ass Ponys guitarist and a member of Rubeo Vileos for the first time features his singing and songwriting in a CD project. It's the first band he has fronted as a professional musician. The CD is a tremendous collection of brooding electric folk, alt country and slow-burn rock tunes that feature Alletzhauser's Neil Young-esque pleading nasal vocals, full of innocence and passion. A little extra sweetness comes with his harmonizing with band member Beth Harris.

The stellar production was recorded in Nashville with sought-after producer Brad Jones (Ron Sexsmith, Autumn Defense, Bobby Bare Jr). Jones had produced the Ass Ponys' "Some Stupid With a Flare Gun" in the '90s.

"There was like seven of us playing at once and a lot of it was live. He brought in a lot of order. He's a ringleader," Allletzhauser said about Jones, who also plays guitar on the CD.

Alletzhauser said the spark for The Hiders' roots sound dates back seven years as a Sunday night backporch bluegrass jam with such players as Dave Gilligan, Ed Cunningham and Ma Crow.

"At some point someone said, 'You know, we could probably not have to buy our own beer for this,' so we started playing like Wednesday nights at the Barrelhouse," Alletzhauser said with a laugh. "Other people would come in and sit with us."

Alletzhauser spent several years with Cincinnati's legendary Ass Ponys, which revolved around Chuck Cleaver's brilliant quixotic writing. It was a musical period where his songwriting talents weren't needed.

"I've always shoved my own material to the side. In some ways it was easier to get behind someone else's vision than my own," Alletzhauser said. "It's probably something I should've done a long time ago. It was strangely purifying to finally do my own record and I feel rejuvenated."

He should. The Hiders' release is one of the best moody, musically intricate and well-written CD releases in some time in these parts.
- cinciPOST


theHiders hail from Cincinnati and there's a good reason why they list Neil Young on their Myspace page as the first of their many influences on their new album, Valentine. There's definitely a Neil vibe going on, but there's also very musically robust Americana thing going on that reminds me of Sparklehorse, Emmylou Harris, The Band, Kathleen Edwards, Destroyer, and folkie psychedelia of early VU. It'll even make a good companion for that great new Band Of Horses album we all dig.

The band is fronted by Cinci music veteran, singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Alletzhauser who used to be in The Ass Ponys and the album was produced by Brad Jones. Anchored with Beth Harris's sweet yet aching harmonies, the album balances slow-burning love songs and full on rockers. Mesmerizing stuff.

Bruce Warren - WXPN
- bruce warren-XPN


Discography

theHIDERS'Valentine'
http://cdbaby.com/cd/thehiders

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Bio

This is the first independently released album by ex-Ass Ponys
lead guitarist Bill Alletzhauser. Recorded and produced by Brad Jones at Alex the Great studios in Nashville. Brad Jones has worked with many artists including Josh Rouse, Jill Sobule, Ron Sexsmith, Bobby Bare Jr., and Steve Earle ".... very musically robust Americana ...that reminds me of Sparklehorse, Emmylou Harris, The Band, Kathleen Edwards, Detroyer, and folkie psychedelia of early VU.
....Anchored with Beth Harris's sweet yet aching harmonies, the album balances slow-burning love songs and full on rockers. Mesmerizing stuff."
Bruce Warren - WXPN

Featured Artist- world cafe'
artist to watch- WXPN
CEA nominess
best americana/country

New members of The Hiders
Michael Horrigan, former member of the Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers and Brendan Bensons touring band is now on bass

Tony Franklin, who has toured with Ric Hordinski and David Wilcox

New Album ' Penny Harvest Field ' recorded feb. 2008
to be released MAY 9th 2008