Various Artists – Hiram & Huddie: A Double Tribute to Hank Williams Sr & Leadbelly

Various Artists

9th Annual Concept Album Vox Pop Winner

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Genre: Concept
Hillgrass Bluebilly Records

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HOMEBASE/COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Austin, Texas – United States. Hillgrass Bluebilly has five franchised chapters, focusing on the “entertainment” portion of our company. Texas (Headquarters), Arizona, Indiana, Florida & Louisiana: Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment is focused on creating events, concerts (shows), in the listed states….(we’re growing).

ARTISTS ON THE ALBUM: Scott H. Biram, William Elliott Whitmore, Possessed by Paul James, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Soda, Truckstop Honeymoon, Bob Log III, Tom VandenAvond, C.W. Stoneking, Jawbone, Flathead, John McKelvy, Wayne “The Train” Hancock

WHERE WAS THIS ALBUM RECORDED? Most of the album were recorded in Austin, Texas, the rest was recorded in the hometowns of the contributing artists.

WHICH GENRES BEST DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC? Honestly, we describe it as “Hillgrass Bluebilly.” To be more specific, Country-Blues / Country / Blues / Hillbilly-Folk / Americana / Bluegrass .

DESCRIBE THE CONCEPT AND THE INSPIRATION OF THIS ALBUM: This album is geared to re-introduce new babies- baby boomers to American roots music. Something that has been lost & without a “home base” for 50+ years. This timeless CD captures the true authenticity of the involved artists, while paying tribute at the same time. Not everyone can do this and pull it off without butchering it or discrediting Hank & Leadbelly. Not just anyone can take a Hank Williams and Leadbelly song and essentially make them their own with their own sound and reflecting their own style of writing. Hillgrass Bluebilly found the men (and ladies) that can! Keith and Ryan came up with J.R and R.L.: a double tribute to Johnny Cash and R.L Burnside, and that’s how we would break in our record label and do the artists we love some good. However, to build any kind of business, we have to pay dues and start from the ground up. Hank Williams and Leadbelly (Hiram & Huddie) was our answer.

IN THE ERA OF THE .99 SINGLE, WHY WRITE A CONCEPT ALBUM? In early 2005, when we first came up with this tribute/concept album, Hillgrass Bluebilly founders Keith Mallette and Ryan Tackett decided that what they had created with Hillgrass Bluebilly in Phoenix, was in high demand (of heart and ears) and low supply (of fans, show goers, and supporters) and needed to spiderweb across the world. We would need to pay dues by promoting concerts and events to create a fan base of our own, to support and back a record label. If we could do this, there would be no stopping us, our bands, our shows, our crowds, and our brand. When you deal with the men that live the tale to tell, the light will shine on truth, and you will undoubtedly follow it. When you actually believe what you see and hear, you won’t be able to help to become a fan, because it’s just so darn good. Ryan professed to Keith “heart over skill” and “don’t try and sell me something.” So Keith scouted and what we found has now changed our lives forever. Taking what Hank Williams and Leadbelly accomplished by essentially recording their lives has paved the way for everything we hear on the radio today. Creating this “concept,” we believe will steer folks back to finding a love for American roots….where it all began. Now we have introduced the world to these various artists on Hiram & Huddie. Now, it’s up to them to take it from there.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE CONCEPT ALBUMS? Mermaid Avenue from Billy Bragg & Wilco.

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CREATE A BODY OF WORK THAT’S UNITED BY A SINGLE NARRATIVE OR THEME VS. CREATING A NON-CONCEPT ALBUM? It has taken us over four years to get Hiram & Huddie completed. The album is geared to back a movement (Hillgrass Bluebilly), while re-introducing the world to American Roots music, something that has since fell to the bottom of the stream, the undercurrent, while the monopolization of main-stream seems to “go with the flow” with folks.

IS IT HARDER TO MARKET THAN A TRADITIONAL RELEASE? This is our debut release, so if this is going to be the hardest album to market, we can live with that. We believe we are pouring our heart & soul into this, so it’s basically hard to compare to current projects we are working on. We put everything we got….into everything we do.

IS IT IMPORTANT THAT YOUR FANS UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT? Yes, most definitely! If they do not understand the concept of this album, I’m afraid they will not understand Hillgrass Bluebilly as a whole.

WILL YOU BE RELEASING ANOTHER CONCEPT ALBUM? Yes. J.R. & R.L: A Double Tribute to Johnny Cash & R.L. Burnside.

DID FANS HELP FUND THIS PROJECT? No. But we could surely use their help by purchasing the album digitally, so we can order another run of physical copies.

DESCRIBE YOUR AUDIENCE: The working class.

WHAT MAKES YOUR FANS UNIQUE? Our fans stick with us through the think & thin. Like us, they are working class. The founders, Keith & Ryan, currently clean pools & install cable/internet/phone. Our fan base does not stop there though, from Blues Society members to folks that just happen to stray into a venue, the night Hillgrass Bluebilly holds an event. The music does the walkin’ & talkin’ for us!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO PLAY? The Rhythm Room is Phoenix, AZ – Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia and the annual DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL in Minneapolis, MN

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BAND’S MOST EXCITING MOMENT TO DATE? This nomination we received for dang near five years of very hard work.

WHAT’S IN THE WORKS FOR 2010? Signing more bands, releasing more albums, creating more franchised chapters of Hillgrass Bluebilly.

FINISH THIS SENTENCE: THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS….. cut-throat. A labor of love.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS? Living and learning, but have hopefully learned while there is still time to live.

WHAT’S ON YOUR IPOD THAT WOULD SURPRISE YOUR FANS? Coldplay, Chris Issak, Fugazi, Bad Religion, DMX, Z-RO, Propagandhi, Band of Horses and Feist

NAME SOME ARTISTS YOU ARE CHAMPIONING: Honestly, the artists you find on Hiram & Huddie and artists you find playing Hillgrass Bluebilly events.