Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

This Spring, San Francisco's Hot Buttered Rum emerged from the studio with their most innovative and mature album to date, the upcoming Limbs Akimbo. Initially formed as an acoustic string band, seven years of constant touring has transformed the group into a plugged-in, percussive powerhouse that wows critics and fans alike. Their left-coast rock reveals an access to jazz, country, and world music that few groups can match. While their music belies simple categorization, the band's songwriting and stage chemistry delights listeners at every performance.

“Limbs Akimbo,” the upcoming album's title cut, supports its smart, soulful lyrics with West-African guitar and bell patterns, a bubbling mandolin, and a three-piece horn section. Meanwhile, the familiar guitars, drums, and chorus of a working rock act propel “Brokedown,” while the O Brother Where Art Thou-like banjo and fiddle drive “Summertime Gal.” As diverse as their palate may be, the band doesn't rely on novelty to draw in its fans. In a world where the eclectic has become the norm, it's refreshing to find in Hot Buttered Rum an intuitive understanding that the toe-tapping, verse-chorus-bridge pop-rock sounds of yesteryear still move the hearts – and bodies – of an audience. HBR's diversity of sound, instrumentation, and style still rest upon the inspired genius in their songcraft; the positive, uplifting nature of their message both on and offstage; and, to borrow from critics, their “stunning virtuosity” in performance and execution. It's the combination of being both timeless and timely that makes HBR a favorite live act – from cultured arts centers to sold-out auditoriums – and has fostered a highly devoted, national base of multigenerational fans that follows the band from town to town. In an age longing for optimism and forward movement, HBR are more than music for the ear; they are salve for the soul.

Dreamed up during a round of hot buttered rum (what else?) around a campfire in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, the band re-imagined traditional mountain music through the lens of their West-Coast, gen-X sensibilities. Coming down to sea level, Hot Buttered Rum refined that music in the creative hotbed of the San Francisco Bay Area. A signature sound quickly emerged at HBR's high-energy performances, one of which was captured on their first album, Live at the Freight and Salvage. Fans learned quickly that an evening with HBR was a quintessentially American experience – part hoe-down, part high art, part church, and part roadhouse.

While the band busily built their sound, O Brother, Where Art Thou's soundtrack won a Grammy and sent the nation's ears back to acoustic music. Hot Buttered Rum's “high altitude bluegrass” era, captured on their first studio album, In These Parts, dovetailed with this trend and the boys became happy representatives of folk music's cutting edge. As the band began to spread the gospel, it acquired in 2004 a vegetable oil powered bus that brought them from coast to coast and delivered them to more than 150 shows annually. The ensuing years saw them enjoying success at such diverse stages as the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, Grey Fox, High Sierra, Wakarusa, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Along the way, the group shared the stage with some of today's most accomplished artists, including Phil Lesh, Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, and Nickel Creek's Chris Thile. In 2006 acoustic pioneer Mike Marshall produced Hot Buttered Rum's second studio album, Well-Oiled Machine, and captured the sound of a hard-touring band charting its course along the highways and byways of American music.

The continued expansion of Hot Buttered Rum's sound and writing found a home in Live in the Northeast, recorded during their 2006 tour of New England. More electric pickups made their way to the stage, along with an increased focus on songwriting and stage presence. The boys had grown up on the road, and it was starting to show. As the band developed a heavier sound, fans and press began to describe them as a rock band with acoustic instruments. It came as no surprise, then, when founding members Aaron Redner (violin and mandolin), Bryan Horne (upright bass), Nat Keefe (guitar), and Erik Yates (banjo, guitar, and flute) joined forces with Everyone Orchestra conductor and drummer Matt Butler – much to the delight of fans.

The new lineup has recently emerged from San Francisco's Mission Bells Studios, where they recorded Limbs Akimbo under the watchful eye of producer Tim Bluhm (The Mother Hips). Featuring guest appearances by Jackie Greene (Skinny Singers, Phil and Friends) and Zach Gill (ALO, Jack Johnson), the album marks the beginning of a new creative phase. If Freight and Salvage and In These Parts served as a proof of the concept, Well-Oiled Machine as a proof of the technical virtuosity, and Live in the Northeast as proof that such virtosity translates into explosive live performances, Limbs Akimbo now marks the arrival of a highly matured, impressively listenable, stirringly rocking, and pleasantly poppy sound. Proving himself a forceful producer, Bluhm has struck an impressive balance between highlighting the multi-instrumental, cross-genre elements of the band's sound while avoiding the contemporary trappings of music that is complex and different merely for the sake of complexity and difference. The result is beautifully paradoxical: a tremendous, minimalist pop album full of hints, teases, and cameos of the band's complex musical personality. In “Something New,” a radio-friendly romantic rock song, Keefe recites the familiar wedding adage “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” There, in a nutshell, is Limbs Akimbo: an album that is both an elegy and reincarnation of Hot Buttered Rum's past sound that borrows heavily from the rock pantheon while sprinkling in just a little of everything else. This is an album that evidences the acoustic string band of yesteryear while unapologetically thrusting into the scene a mature West Coast, drum-driven, pop-rock band.

The Kalob Griffin Band

The Kalob Griffin Band, better known to its devoted fans as the KGB, is a Pennsylvania bred, Philadelphia based outfit of Americana rock n’ rollers who strive to provide listeners on and off stage with an energetic and unique “KGB family” experience. Kalob Griffin (vocals/guitar), Rob Dwyer (guitar/mandolin/banjo), Eric Lawry (drums/vocals), John Hildenbrand (keyboards/vocals), and Jonathan Davenport (electric/upright bass) create a sound and live show that’s built around a variety of influences, tapping into multiple genres. The crew and their close knit team are centered in what the great pioneers stood for-hard work, good times, and building a community.

What started as an accidental meeting of musicians around a campfire has become a progressive bluegrass bomb that has exploded on the festival scene in the North East! By playing original music in an innovative style that is both experimental and familiar, HogMaw has quickly gained a reputation as something that you have to see first hand.

In only 4 years together HogMaw's resume includes over 60 festival appearances and nearly 200 total performances. These include major musical events such as the 50th Philadelphia Folk Festival, 2 appearances at DelFest in Cumberland MD, Camp Jam in the Pines in Monroeville NJ, Allentown, PA's Musikfest. They have opened for National acts such as GRAMMY award winners The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bluegrass legends like Peter Rowan, The Seldom Scene, and Tony Trischka. HogMaw also appears on the band scene and has the honor of opening for jamgrass powerhouses Cornmeal, Hackensaw Boys, and Cabinet. They have also had many headlining performances of their own at major hot spots for original music such as The Trocedero, World Cafe Live, Tin Angel, and North Star Bar in their homebase of Philadelphia. The Blairstown Theater, The Strand Capitol Theater in York PA, The Sellersville Theater, The Historic Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ and various clubs all over the northeast. The band headlined the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Bucks Co. Bluegrass Festival at Snipe's Farm in Morrisville, Pa and also won the 2009 York Revolution Battle of the Bands where they played for a full stadium of 7000+ people.

Through a fan based fundraising project HogMaw was able to release their full length debut effot "Wake" in July of 2012. Produced by Ernie Tokay and mixed/mastered by Grammy winner Phil Nicolo, "Wake" is a daring romp featuring their own brand of THUNDERGRASS songs, transcending instrumentals, and a whole lot of wood chopping! "Wake" truly is an acoustical accomplishment that came out to much critical and local acclaim. The band hopes to tour and make a national splash through 2013 with the new release. "Wake" is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and cdbaby.com, you can also give it a listen for free on the music service Spotify as well.

HogMaw is Matt Baldwin on guitar and vocals, multi-instrumentalist Colin Reeves on mandolin, banjo, dobro, manjo (combination banjo mandolin), and occasional guitar, and Ryann Lynch on fiddle and foot percussion. Joining the band in 2012 is Johnny Calamari on upright bass and harmony vocals.

$12 - $15

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Hot Buttered Rum with The Kalob Griffin Band, HogMaw

Wednesday, November 6 · Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM at The Blockley