Hillfolk Noir 'Radio Hour' - Self-Release

With the popularity of acts like Pokey La Farge and The Wyios there is a growing taste for music with an entertaining energy that is rooted in a past but is given a future by a range of acts  who take the influences of a different era and add something that is, if not unique, is certainly individual. Here the six piece band run through their latest set of Travis Ward's songs with spirit and genuine feeling. These songs which, when Travis and Alison Ward share the vocals on, have a great feel to them with simple but effective percussion, solid upright bass and an overlay of banjo, kazoo, harmonica, singing saw and washboard to give the songs some added bite. On, what is, their take on sideshow string-bands, punky-indie folk and back-porch mountain music. Radio Hour has a introduction and some between song adverts to help the illusion of the title along. These guys have played on stages with some notable names as well on street corners when the occasion demands. Wherever they play you will be drawn to the infectious spirit of the songs and the swingin' rawness of the music on offer. Songs like The Great Grizzly Bear Scare and Rattler In The Outhouse speak of more primitive times where fun could be had without electricity or social media for that matter.

Hillfolk Noir 'Skinny Mammy's Revenge' Self-Release

A raw-boned quartet from Boise, Idaho who have recorded this album the way that many recording were made in the past, all playing into one microphone in a single location. The music is drawing on a legacy of local community string band music. This music has inspired these players to write and perform their chosen songs with enthusiasm and to leave them unadorned by studio trickery and refinements. The original writing and arrangements of older songs are by Travis Ward who plays resonator guitar and harmonica as well as providing the lead vocals. The spirit of punk as well as the back porch informs this music's underling earthiness. The 20 songs covers titles like Washboard Blues, Choo Choo Stomp, Fast Train Blues, The Lord Will Come and the immediately attractive picking of L&N, a song that has been recorded before but has an ageless quality and tells of progress and its path of destruction. That these songs all take a similar sounding path will either appeal greatly if you appreciate what Hillyfolk Noir are trying (and largely succeeding) to get across but others will find it's directness and abrasiveness a little difficult to warm to. Either way the second outing from this band has it heart and soul in an earlier time and that is no bad thing as it offer's its revenge on the homogenized sounds that are even to be found in certain areas of old-time and bluegrass music.