holler

Hot Club of Cowtown's new CD salutes Bob Wills

Bob Wills has always been a core inspiration for the Hot Club of Cowtown’s sound, but it has taken the Texas-based trio a dozen years to fully honor the King of Western swing. A fortuitous tour in England last spring led the band to London’s Specific Sound studio, where they spent two days recording a 14-song marathon of only Bob Wills tunes. The result, What Makes Bob Holler, is a lively tribute to the American music icon, respecting Wills’ legendary music while putting Hot Club’s own signature on these songs. “We have been meaning to make this album for a long time,” says Elana James, who co-founded Hot Club with Whit Smith (they’re joined by bassist Jake Erwin).

Launched in 1994, the Hot Club of Cowtown has grown to be the most globe-trotting, hardest-swinging Western swing trio on the planet, continuing to develop a unique sound inspired by the band’s namesakes: the hot jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli of the Hot Club of France, and Bob Willis & the Texas Playboys.

And with the imminent release of What Makes Bob Holler on Proper American on February 1, the Austin-based band looks to a busy 2011. They start the year opening seven U.K. arena dates with Roxy Music, followed by a taping of NPR’s Mountain Stage in Charleston, W.V. in late January and an appearance at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March — before touring coast to coast in support of the album.

Bob Wills’ music — in this case the recordings of radio shows from 1946-47 called the Tiffany Transcriptions that are the fundamental inspiration for HCCT’s repertoire and style —offers a terrific platform for some ace musicianship in the form of Smith’s guitar, James’ fiddle and Erwin’s nimble bass. By spotlighting Wills’ early, pre-World War II catalogue, the disc happily matches obscure B-sides with some of Wills’ most popular work. Tunes like “Big Balls in Cowtown” and “Stay All Night” are numbers that “people always love when we play them live,” says James, “so it was a no-brainer to gather them into a record.” Other songs, like “Osage Stomp” and “The Devil Ain’t Lazy,” might not be as well known, but they are the type of tunes that originally attracted Smith and James to Wills’ music. “We’re playing what knocked us out about Western swing in the first place — the early fiery energy and jazzy improvisations,” says James.

By 1998 Smith and James had relocated to Austin, Texas, and released their debut, Swingin’ Stampede, on HighTone Records. Seven more albums over the next decade generated much critical acclaim and a devoted following. The New York Times’ Neil Strauss proclaimed the Hot Club “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time.” Craig Havighurst, in Nashville’s Tennessean, calls them “one of the most original groups on the Americana circuit, deserving of attention both live and on record” while the Sunday Times of London lauded HCCT as “the world’s most engaging Western Swing band — their shows are all about energy and joie de vivre . . . the devil-may-care style that combined the rigor of Jazz with the down-home sentiment of country and earthiness of the blues — it is as a live act that they have made their greatest impact.”

What Makes Bob Holler arrives on the heels of 2009’s Wishful Thinking, an Americana radio Top 100 album on which HCCT blended their love of hot jazz and Western swing with original songs, a Tom Waits cover and forays into more eclectic territory. The Austin Chronicle’s Jim Caliguiri called it “the Cowtowners at their peak” and David Eldridge, in the Washington Times, describes the disc as “one of the year’s most unexpected listening pleasures.”

What Makes Bob Holler is something of an 180-degree swing from Wishful Thinking’s more eccentric set list. It is the first time HCCT has focused on only one style for an entire album and they are proud enough of the results to express interest in doing more. “There are so many great songs that we didn’t get to,” says James. “We’re going to have to make a box set, eventually, but we’re just going to make it piecemeal,” adds Smith with a laugh.

While the new disc focuses on Bob Wills music, HCCT’s live show will remain a engaging mix of what the band does best — whatever moves them at the moment. James reveals that the band often plays without a set list. “We have faith in the system that is the band. This energy that we plug into and it takes us away.” Smith describes their shows as “like a rock ’n’ roll show” and “people pick up on the energy and the sincerity.”

Dressy Bessy To Release 'Holler And Stomp' on 9/30/08

Dressy Bessy- for the Grateful Web

After their critically acclaimed last album, Electrified, Dressy Bessy will release its highly anticipated new album, Holler And Stomp, on September 30th, 2008 via Transdreamer Records. Combining uber-indie sensibilities mixed with bombastic style, the band remains inspirational, hook-laden and upbeat. 13 songs will have you dancing and singing in seconds.

"Personal, as well as impersonal experiences over the past few years have helped inspire my urge to HOLLER and STOMP!" – Tammy Ealom

Driven by vocalist Tammy Ealom and guitarist John Hill (who also moonlights in Apples In Stereo), along with groove-meisters Rob Greene on bass and Craig Gilbert on drums – Dressy Bessy bring a sense of style and uniqueness to the rock world. A full tour will commence in September.

Dressy Bessy are about power-pop chords, a dancing rhythm section and the compelling vocals of Tammy Ealom. Her witty lyrics hug the addictive melodies with true style. Backed by guitarist John Hill, whose guitar work helped propel Apples In Stereo to the forefront of the indie rock world and the thundering rhythm section of bassist Rob Greene and drummer Craig Gilbert - Dressy Bessy have the true spirit of underground rock.

Following extensive touring behind their last album, Electrified, Dressy Bessy needed some well deserved time off. For Tammy this meant getting down to writing a new batch of songs. Tammy's always been a self-proclaimed "melody first" sort of gal and wanted to try her hand at a "beats first" approach, sitting down at a drum kit knocking out groovy beats one drum at a time.

Tammy demoed the songs for HOLLER and STOMP at home. After about a year of recording she and the band realized that the songs had taken on the organic grass roots sound that Dressy Bessy was originally built upon and decided that these recordings, with proper mixing, additional guitars, bass, drums & lead vocals, would be the actual album tracks.

The band first met Trent Bell (The Flaming Lips) in 2003 while touring with the Starlight Mints, and had talked briefly about having him mix a record. Once they decided to go with the home recordings for this album, it was obvious that Trent should mix it ... and the rest is history!

The results are obvious with infectious and danceable grooves that dominate the album. Every song leads into the next with a driving authority – it's almost impossible not to move and shake it to these songs.

"Lyrically this album defines MY world. Personal, as well as impersonal experiences over the past few years have helped inspire my urge to HOLLER and STOMP! all over yo' ass! Listen up high!" ~! Tammy Ealom

 

The Live Experience…

Dressy Bessy are no ordinary band, nor are their fans ordinary. The atmosphere is a non-stop party and the music is relentless. Their compelling live show has left them with loyal and fanatical fans around the world. This band refuses to compromise and continues to push the envelope towards blissful entertainment.

"We rock our hearts out! We try to inspire as much dancing as possible," comments Ealom.

During their shows, with the lights flashing and the music pounding, people lose themselves in the Dressy Bessy experience. All this is standard fare for a band whose unscripted performances make for an unpredictable and euphoric atmosphere. "We'll rock the socks off anyone with an hour to spare. Both the band and the fans walk away sweaty and happy," says Tammy.
 
History...

Dressy Bessy have enjoyed great success in their hometown of Denver, where the band lives and plays.

"I decided to pick up the guitar in '96 when John Hill loaned me his four track while he was out touring with The Apples In Stereo, and soon I discovered I had a knack for writing songs and the rest is history," says Ealom.

In 1999, Dressy Bessy released Pink Heart, Yellow Moons, which was highly acclaimed and hailed as "virtually perfect and by far, the catchiest indie-pop record of 1999," by The Stranger. Continuing their run of indie-pop ecstacy, 2002's Sound Go Round, saw the band continue to develop its sound. In the spring of 2003, the band released a collection of rarities called Little Music. Later that year, their self-titled release, Dressy Bessy, expanded the band's base into bona fide indie rockstar status. Dressy Bessy has had numerous songs on soundtracks such as The Powerpuff Girls on the Cartoon Network and But I'm A Cheerleader. In 2005, Electrified shed some serious groove-tunes and caught people's attention when the album was highly praised by.

"We live in a world where upbeat pop, groove, and rock & roll reign supreme. We are just determined to never let anything slow our momentum.  We're always pushing forward, what else is there to do...hopefully in the end, the world will be better place. But you can always find us, just follow the trail of smiles." says Ealom.

Fans will be all smiles as Dressy Bessy release their most accomplished and infectious effort, HOLLER and STOMP.