The Royal Hounds are known as one of the most original bands in Nashville. All three are stellar musicians and add to that showmanship, stage tricks, and quirky original songs and you’ve got yourself one of the most unique live shows around. The shows are so good that they have, not one, but two weekly residencies on lower Broadway—You can catch them Sunday nights at Layla’s and Tuesdays at Robert’s Western World, the undisputed home of traditional country music in Nashville.
Lucky for us, that spirit transfers to the record. A Whole Lot of Nothin’ is the band’s 5th studio album and was produced by the band’s guitarist, Matheus Canteri. Recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, it was engineered by John McBride (Martina’s hubby) and Jeremy Cottrell (Jim Lauderdale, Raul Malo). Mixing was done by Alberto Vaz (Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow) and the band brought in a few musicians to flesh out the recording; Rory Hoffman on organ and accordion, Eddie Lange on pedal steel, and Aaron Till on fiddle and backing vocals.
“This album was one of the few things giving me purpose last year,” said Hinds. “For an entire summer, I just locked myself in my attic and just started writing a lot of songs.” Though the band often attracts fans
of rockabilly, this record has a more classic country sound with songs like “Invitation to be Lonely”, “The Jukebox is Broken”, and “I Just Can’t Two-Step” sounding as if they were made to be played over an RCA console radio during its Golden Age.
Classic country aside, the record kicks off with the rousing rock sound of “Cheap Drunk,” with Canteri’s guitar leading the charge. “When I first wrote this song, I didn’t really care for it too much, and thought it might be the throw away song,” Hinds confesses. “But the guys really liked the groove and they really added the rock to it. I wanted to fight them on it, but I trust my bandmates and in the end, they were right, this song truly does rock!”
The band’s tongue-in-cheek humor is still apparent with the bluegrass-tinged “Pickin in the Graveyard— “There’s a bluegrass jam that not everybody knows / Where old songwriters go to decompose”. There’s also a bluegrass murder ballad- “In the Rickety Pines”, two instrumentals- the country instrumental “Corn Fritter” and Latin “Door #3”, and a Christmas song, “Krismastofferson” that plays off the country music legend that when Kris Kristofferson wanted to pitch Johnny Cash his song, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, he borrowed a friend’s helicopter and landed it on Cash’s lawn to get attention. “I’m proud that we as a band are never married to one sound and that we’re on a constant quest to discover who we are as artists,” notes Hinds.
In 2019, the band was living on the road, but Hinds was newly married and expecting a baby, so it was time for the band to start establishing themselves in Nashville. By an incredible stroke of luck, they were invited to be a house band at one of the most famous honky tonks in the world, Robert’s Western World. They were there for four months when the world shut down.
“We’re a light-hearted band, but if I can be serious for a moment, I, like many musicians, was dealing with some depression last year due to the fact that music just imploded and many of us were dealing with these existential crises,” laments Hinds. He had spent the better part of two years getting a working visa for Canteri, who is from Brazil and is only allowed to play music for a living. “The key word was survival! When live music disappeared, it made it extra challenging. I’m proud to say we were one of the first to immediately jump into live streams. Rolling Stone even mentioned us for it.” The band also recorded a solely digital album of 19 covers called, Covered-19. Sales of that through their live streams allowed them to continue as a band, as well.
“Fortunately, as destructive as the pandemic was for so many, the situation allowed us to more firmly plant our roots in town and we came out on the other side much more established in the Nashville scene. Now the out-of-town fans come to us instead of us going to them. It’s a great trade! (Though I do love it when we hit the road).” Now along with creating great music and putting on a stellar live show, the band’s mission is to get Canteri on a path to American citizenship.
Canteri adds a thought. “I think that as individual musicians we all bring very different ideas and sounds to the table—Scott developed his playing by jamming with bluegrass musicians. Nathan is a heavy beater drummer who also studied viola in college and although I love country music, I grew up with a totally different soundtrack around me in Brazil. But when we’re playing together we listen to how each other plays their instrument and we interact so that all those different voices come together as a cohesive sound.”
Every album the band releases captures a moment of time in the evolution of their sound. And right now A Whole Lot of Nothin’ is more country than they’ve ever been.