How did you get together/start out?
Boss Hogg (lead singer of the ‘Life &Times of the Brother Hogg’) picks up the story . . . “Well we all got together one day chopping a few branches off ‘Misk Hills’ (Misk Hills Mountain Rambler’) trees. We ended up spending more time sitting on the logs singing songs, than we did on arboreal activities! It was like a magical day in the woods . . . we all write songs and love this Americana sound, it soon became clear that we all had something to offer on each others songs . . . So we did this session at the Dixies Arms in Bagthorpe, unplugged and outside in the sunshine. It went down a treat with the locals and we go back each year when the trees need cutting down and we feel the need to fill up our song or beer cup!”
What is your current release/future release?
“We (the Brothers Hogg) have just released our new EP the ‘Great War’, which is a collection of our own self penned East Coast (Grimsby) Americana songs, which we are extremely proud of. The Paranoids (Paranoid Arboreal Troubadours) have just released their own downloadable EP ‘Quiet Songs For Hotel Rooms’ a collection of lo-fi hanging songs via Reverbnation. Misk Hills (Misk Hills Mountain Rambler) is a bit of a song factory and is constantly putting out some sort of ridiculous social commentary via Reverbnation. Danny, the youngest of the collective, is at this point in time working on songs for his debut EP.”
What is the best part of being in a band/singer/song writer?
“I guess the knowledge that you are doing your own thing and not following the benign X – Factor or cover bands route”, as ‘Acer Cummerband’ once said, in front of a live audience “I’m going to do a few of my own songs tonight . . . and if you don’t like them . . . I don’t give a Fu*K”
What is your most significant moment yet?
‘The Reverend Daniel Wright’ steps up poetically to the mic for this one . . . “The moment I realised that I had to take this seriously, was on a moonlit night in the middle of Derbyshire. Bats were circling overhead and we were standing in a cow-shed at an impromptu gig (The Ashover Musicale Festival), which nobody had asked for or knew about. I looked out at the 50 or 60 people, dancing and grooving to our filthy blend of country/blues/skiffle and knew it was the life I wanted. The ceiling was thick with years of cobwebs and I could smell the rotting asbestos. Our shadows danced on the walls as the single dim red light cast a spell over the room and the people in it. In that cow-shed I found my salvation, we played longer than the fellas on the main stage. It was the closest thing to heaven or hell, I have ever experienced. What a life!”
What are your biggest musical influences?
Well that’s gotta be the ‘Felice Brothers’ pipes up the Misk Hills, and ‘Townes’ says Boss Hogg . . . Oh yeah, and Tom Waits say the Reverend and Cummerband. . . and anyone who does sad songs like ‘Richmond Fontaine’, say the Paranoids in unison (working feverishly on their next hanging song) basically, we all like it a little broken! More recently though, we have been listening to ‘Frontier Ruckus’ and ‘Keston Cobblers Club’ . . . they are delightfully higgledy-piggledy.
What venue/gig do you most want to play?
Well we are all pretty happy here in the local, but I guess if we are thinking really big . . . then a little slot at at SXSW would be for winners!
What is your best/favourite song you have written?
Boss Hogg is quick on the draw this time and cites ‘The Gavel And The Hanging Tree’ as one song that he really loves to sing . . . “The words just blow me away man . . . I can’t believe the song fairy was so kind to me!” The ‘Paranoids” chip in with ‘Preacher Man’ . . . “Yeah we love that song they say, laughing out loud . . . It’s about the world ending!” ‘Misk Hills’ joins the party . . . boys you gotta agree? ‘Every City Has A Whorehouse’ . . . and the gang collapse into laughter and somehow you can really palpate the fun these guys have.
What’s your favourite album of this year?
Doubt we will agree on that but . . . the ‘Paranoids’ have declared Richmond Fontaine’s ‘High Country’ as their high/low point . . . It is a story of love, death and depravity in the logging country. We all love stuff like William Elliot Whitmore’s ‘Field Songs’ and AA Bondy’s ‘Believers’ . . . the song-writing is so strong and delivery so real! We all aspire to that level!
What does the next six months have in store for you?
We’ll all be doing our own thing in our respective bands ensembles and one man troubadour shows, but we will all get together in the summer to busk a few festivals . . . You know on the busking stages that they all have these days . . . It is a lot of fun and we can drink a lot of beer in the sunshine in the company of pretty girls (our wives . . . for the record!) what more could we ask for?
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
‘Misk Hills’ is quickest on the draw this time . . . and rattling off a little washboard groove, he declares that he expects to be “still in the pub playing this Goddamned antique” . . . the rest laugh, but nod an agreement and only the Prof (P.A.T.) offers an alternative “I kinda hope I’ll still be courting the song-fairy” he says with a grin.
What’s the best thing about Americana-UK
We love the way you feature real bands and real people and eschew the ‘celebrity’ thing. That’s why we are all so drawn to Americana and Am-UK, it just has that gritty raw feel to it, ‘real songs for real people’ . . . and that’s pretty much, just what we are all about!