Hell Bent For
The high energy arrangements and delicious
harmonies of "Hell Bent For Leather" will have you
cruising happily down the highway to the driving beat of Happy
Horse Band's latest collection of slightly country, slightly
rock 'n roll and totally thrilling tunes!
Hollis Wayne's harmonica
and earthy lead vocals blast right outta the chute on this concept
album. The title track, "Hell Bent For Leather,"
is the fast and fiery shout of a desperate wild weather ride
through a fierce and unexpected Texas spring storm. The frantic
feel of imminent danger in a cowboy's nightmare dream will quicken
your heart and make you check the horizon for trouble! The rich,
complex and energetic sound of Happy Horse Band's latest work
surround your mind like a swirling wind dervish, weaving musical
pictures in the vibrant instrumental colors of screaming violins
and harmonicas, throaty guitars, sensuous saxophones, pounding
piano and tasty percussion, overlaid with the quartet's luscious
vocal harmonies. They whip off, laughing, into another direction
as the lyrical adventure stories grow and change.
Hollis' new songs and DB Rouse's paen to life on the road via
way of Missoula, Austin and Wisconsin, testify to the loving
work and attention to detail that the Happy Horse Band (Hollis
and DB Rouse, John Warner Dunn, Pete Langhans and
a stellar assortment of returning and new guest artists: DrD,
Niamh Fahy, Matt Kelly, Bobby Dabbs,
Bob Landgraff, poured into two years
of time creating "Hell Bent For Leather," the
3rd CD in the Happy Horse Trilogy. It's been a long, strange
trip! The joy of the musicians is audible in this engaging music;
there is a brightness and newness here that is rarely heard in
a commercial world.
The Happy Horse Band has traveled far from
its campfire beginnings in 2006, riding ever further into a cosmic
expression of the lyrics and melodies that gallop through the
heart and mind of Hollis Wayne, a life-long street and Renaissance
Faire artist who turned to songwriting and music as a path to
move her art forward. She draws her creative energy from the
mythical and dynamic relationship between horse and rider, and
their interaction with the challenges inherent in living an outdoor
The weather is always a great metaphor for
what life unexpectedly throws down in our path, but in this case
it's an actual true ridin'-out-on-the-trail survival story! Later,
there is a rollick from the back porch of a family feast ("Texas
Pie") to the excitement of "Go For Broke" and
watching the horses run their hearts out "At the Track."
Seasons pass and times change, and the fun and adventure give
way to the plaintive solitary percussion that opens "Empty
Kitchen Blues," a sonic narrative of a deserted life. Dreaming
of a sweetheart and times gone by, "Romeo" takes the
train to Montana and finds a life mission and family. "Female
Kinda Mind" puts the blues back in the groove of trouble
headed this way and "Graveyard of Memories", with its
evocative Spanish guitar, confronts the dissolution of a relationship.
The final track, "Pearly Gates," confronts the inevitable
and ultimate boogeyman with a powerful cry of, "Ain't my
time to be gone from here!"
The original music, harmonies and orchestral
instrumentation created by Hollis Wayne and the Happy Horse Band,
guided again by producer, friend and mentor Darrell "Dr. D" Vernum and
painstakingly tracked at Orb Recording Studio in Austin, Texas,
creates a solid concept album from start to finish. It's a Wild
Weather Ride through some sweet and stormy weather, and it'll
take y'all right to the Pearly Gates! The ballads eddy into splashing
pools of sound and the listener is invited to contemplate our
mental, physical and spiritual journey through day to day adventures.
This music MOVES, and it will move you. Turn it on, TURN IT UP,
tune it in and let 'er rip!
Original tunes that are a
little rock, a bit of western, a dash of bluegrass and the most
important ingredient, fun!
Songs about taking
the risk, reaping the reward, and living an adventurous life!
Horses, bank robbery, fire, drought & deluge, camping and
a classic old Texas cowboy's tale of working cattle on the night
Recorded in Austin,
Texas at Parrot Tracks Studio & produced by Darrell "Dr.
"I often feel like
a female Gene Autry with Keith Richards as my sidekick,"
Wayne, lead singer for Happy Horse Band. The sidekick
is guitar player and fellow lead singer-songwriter, DB Rouse. DB's catchy riffs and rhythms
pull the listener right into the stories spun by these two adventurous
bards on the band's second CD, Rockin' & Ridin'.
"When we threw long-time
fiddling friend Phoebe
Hunt into the mix as guest artist on fiddle and vocals,
the result morphed into some kind of wild ride with the Cowgirl
Happy Horse Band emerged
from Austin's Parrot
Tracks Studio in July 2013 with Rockin' & Ridin',
a 10-track collection of tunes written by Hollis Wayne
and DB Rouse, engineered by George Coyne & produced by Darrell
"Dr. D" Vernum. The opening track, "Looking
For A Pearl" asks the big question immediately: "Would
you like to sing a song with me, maybe take a little trip?"
and is a full-blown anthem about a rodeo rider searching for
just the right kind of companionship. Then come the quick-witted
gallops like "Breadcrumb Trail" and "Let's Go
Dashing", the alt-country groove of "Rained Out On
Friday", the forlorn folk sound of two male voices on "Night
Herder", and the homespun group fun of "Camp Song".
The line, "Strap
on your spurs, tie on your hat!" from Baby Divine, the last
track on the record, gives
great advice! With the addition of Pete Langhans on drums (previously of
The Mother Truckers), the pace and intensity of the band's music
definitely ramped up a couple of notches from the laid-back sounds
of their first CD in 2010, RIDE RIDE RIDE!
Hollis's earthy, mellow
alto voice is joined by the intricate harmonies of DB Rouse,
John Dunn and Bob Landgraff, with guest artist Phoebe
Hunt's fine soprano layered into many tunes. Phoebe's lead
vocals soar on "Baby Divine" and her awesome fiddle
playing and vocal harmonies are sprinkled generously throughout
the disc. Dominick
Leslie of The
Deadly Gentleman throws down hot bluegrass mandolin licks
on "Scout, the Mighty Paint Horse," DB's new John Henry
of Horse Songs, meant to make a legend of Hollis's trusty, energetic
steed. (watch the music
video on Youtube!) George Coyne's searing lap steel
on "Mischief On My Mind" will make you want to rob
a bank (just be mindful of the repercussions when the sheriff
arrives!). "Won't Rain On Texas" is an epic piece inspired
by Texas's disastrous 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire and the
ongoing drought, which all of the band members actually lived
through and survived. Other guest artists featured on the CD
are: Beaux Graham (bass), Bob Landgraff (harmonica
and vocals), Colin Guerra (guitar) and Dr. D (guitar
Happy Horse Band has its
roots deep in the smokey coals of the campfire scene at Happy
Horse Hotel, where horse folk meet up in Central Texas to share
their passions for horses, trail riding and the outdoor lifestyle
Hollis got hooked by in early childhood. Hollis Wayne
(lead vocals, harmonica), DB Rouse (lead vocals, guitar),
John Warner Dunn (bass, backup vocals) and Pete "the
Beat" Langhans (drums, backup vocals). With Rockin' & Ridin', HHB has created
a lush sonic oasis that pushes the envelope of Americana and
folk into the driving rush of rock 'n roll. We know it's gonna
make you HAPPY!