Hu-Town Holler is comprised of Patrick Kennedy (guitar and vocals), Chris Goins (guitar and vocals), and Elia Burkhart (upright bass and vocals). Life’s A Freak is their debut album some of the tracks were recorded on Pat’s shanty boat, and some were recorded out in Lawrenceburg, IN at Poor Indiana Man Productions all the songs were recorded and mastered by J.G. Wicki of Poor Indiana Man Productions. Pat’s shanty boat was built by himself and with ample amount of time on his hands he honed in on his craft with these and many more songs as well as his sheer joy of picking the guitar. This band came about kind of by happenstance with Pat looking to start something new, Chris’ band breaking up, and Elia free to lend the bottom happenstance reared its head, and for a little over a year now these guys have been playing shows and really coming together and as a trio. It doesn’t hurt that all three of these fellas are equally the best at what they play, and in humblest opinion two have the two best guitar pickers in one band is pretty amazing and when you watch them my good friend always says “they either make you want to quit or get better,” at playing the guitar that is.
The album from beginning to end took me on this strange tour through the west side of Cincinnati, at least through my head it did. There are a few references here and there that take me all around the west side and Cincinnati in general. I found myself caught enjoying the road beneath my tires as I drive around. We all listen to music differently, and sitting at my desk here at work I find myself escaping to the scenes written and described by these three dudes. Lyrically the songs are honest and not overly complicated with a hint of mystery and a dash of longing to get out. They worked hard and have been working hard at forming the idea of taking this band anywhere they desire. These songs and their efforts are a mirror for this.
“Gotta Get Outta Here” kicks the album off with some of that fine guitar work that is all over this record, and along with their harmonies this song shines through the wanting to do what the title says. It’s “Life’s A Freak” though for me that chills my bones and which I enjoy most. The melody line soars, and the lyrics spell out the way life can be sometimes whether good or bad or just “freakish.” The album continues its masterfulness behind the somewhat sarcastic “Goddamned Peach” and the anti-ish radio and television song “Radio Lies.” As the album progresses Elia has a chance to lend his vocal on “Red Shoes” a blues song that blends their harmonies and showcases some of that great guitar work throughout the melody.
“Couldn’t Cry” is another personal favorite as it starts off with a great piece of advice, and then leads into a story about a girl that hasn’t cried since the passing of her mother. A haunting song sung with this melody line that just makes you want to smile. The album finishes off with “Emi Lou” a song that lets Pat give a little yodeling and closes out with “Shoulder Bone Blues” which features a little harmonica help from Working Class Villain’s Aaron Hedrick. “Northside Blues” ends the album a song where Molly Morris from Harlot lends her vocals for these fellas. Her vocal just rings out in the background just letting you the listener know that she is there, and with that the album concludes.
Life’s A Freak plays like a story I have read once or maybe twice. Characters I know I have met, places that I know I have been, and melodies I know I have heard but all of which I cannot place. So then you rewind the whole thing and listen to it over again trying to place all those to which you can’t, but most of all wanting to hear it again because it was a good time, it was fun.
The music for the album is great and the artwork is just as great for which they recruited an artist on the proverbial rise here in Cincinnati that being Mary Beth Brackmann of MB Design. The boys along with some help from a few friends will be releasing this debut album at The Crows Nest this Friday the 4th. A place where you could say they formed and the seed was at least planted in getting something off the ground. Ten o’clock at night is when the release show will commence, and there will be no shortage of laughing and good time feelings. Hu-Town Holler are doing some truly magnificent things whether it was Jerry Springer’s podcast at The Folk School Coffee Parlor in Ludlow, Kentucky or quite literally this debut album they are off to some great things and will continue to do so with the help from all of us. Just take a listen and hear for yourself, Life’s A Freak.