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Title - What Makes Bob Holler: 10th Anniversary [Vinyl LP]
Artist - Hot Club of Cowtown

For those unaware, many years ago in New York City, when singer-songwriter/violinist Elana James placed a Want Ad looking to join a band, guitarist Whit Smith responded.

Little did she know that this would be the beginning of a collaboration that’s lasted more than 25 years.

“It’s hard to believe that Whit and I have been playing music more than half my life!,” says James. “We met in New York City through an ad in the Village Voice classifieds in 1994 and have been playing together ever since.”

With 14 albums and multiple awards under their belt, the Hot Club of Cowtown’s star has risen as its reputation for jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band’s global brand.

Lauded for its “down-home melodies and exuberant improvisation” (The Times, London), the Hot Club has always woven a combination of seemingly disparate styles together to its own magical effect, setting up camp “at that crossroads where country meets jazz and chases the blues away” (The Independent), remaining “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time” (The New York Times).

The band also celebrates another anniversary with the just-released first-ever vinyl edition of What Makes Bob Holler on the 10th anniversary of its release via the Last Music Co.

The album showcases Western swing standards made famous by Bob Wills (a Western rogue whose musical chemistry and repartee charged audiences with excitement) and his Texas Playboys and was a Top 20 on the Roots Radio Report Chart in 2011.

Side A:
1. She’s Killing Me
2. It’s All Your Fault
3. Time Changes Everything
4. Maiden’s Prayer
5. Oklahoma Hills
6. Big Ball’s in Cowtown
7. Keeper of My Heart

On what is a massively enjoyable, 14-track recording from this swinging combo, inclusive of some terrific, and at times scintillating instrument work, their unique brand of (for the most part) gently frenetic, up tempo dance is all brought to the fore on the opener She’s Killing Me and the lushly orchestrated It’s All Your Fault and those are backed up with the lonesome ode Time Changes Everything, the sharply acute, crisp and Celtic-imbibed Maiden’s Prayer, the jaunty Oklahoma Hills, and then we get both the upbeat and playful, fiddletastic Big Ball’s in Cowtown and the languishing beauty of Keeper of My Heart.

Side B:
1. Smith’s Reel
2. The Devil Ain’t Lazy
3. Along The Navajo Trail
4. Faded Love
5. What’s The Matter with The Mill
6. Osage Stomp
7. Stay a Little Longer

Seamlessly continuing their brand of Western swing, albeit created for and cultivated by the aforementioned Bob Wills (for Wills blended genres of all kinds to create a distinctly American sound and along with his Texas Playboys, their impromptu jams shot through with call and response “yee-ha”’s reveal what we can only call their raucous reverence for Western swing), the second side opens on the fervency of Smith’s Reel and then we get the finger-snapping delights of The Devil Ain’t Lazy which are in turn followed by the gorgeous storytelling within Along The Navajo Trail, the achingly heartfelt ode within Faded Love, the album rounding out on the foot-tapper What’s The Matter with The Mill, the intensely passionate Osage Stomp, closing on the immaculately harmonized Stay a Little Longer.

“The trio Hot Club of Cowtown, originally with bassist Jake Erwin, started in 1997 in San Diego, Calif.,” James continues, “where Whit and I finessed our way into cafes and farmers markets and at public parks as ‘Whit and Elana,’ playing endless guitar and fiddle instrumental for tips.”

“No one ever stopped to tell us you can’t create a world-traveling string trio inspired by hot jazz and early Western-swing dance music and do it for a living for going on a quarter century.”

“We had the incredibly good fortune of playing with and being inspired by so many greats along the way — Johnny Gimble, Wille Nelson, Bob Dylan, Cliff Bruner, Tom Turman, Bryan Ferry, and the support of our fans worldwide, including so many in Austin, our home base for over two decades.”

“The Continental Club, owned by the Austin roots music scene’s patron saint Steve Wertheimer, has been especially meaningful to us. That residency has, more than anything else, allowed us to grow and experiment and develop our unique sound, animated always by the dancers and fans who have been coming out to see us there for almost 25 years.”

“We’ve been around the world and back — from Algeria to Azerbaijan, Sydney to Mt. Fuji, London to Mallorca, Antibes to Armenia (sometimes, it, seems, all in the same week!), and we look forward to many more adventures ahead with the Hot Club of Cowtown’s newest member, bassist Zack Sapunor, who joined us in 2020.”

In closing, and for all fans, be aware that their most recent album, Wild Kingdom (2013), will get its own vinyl reissue next year in conjunction with their European Spring tour.

A Big Ball’s in Cowtown performed by the Hot Club of Cowtown [Official Music Video]

Official Purchase Link

Official Website

Hot Club of Cowtown @ Facebook

Hot Club of Cowtown @ Instagram

Hot Club of Cowtown @ YouTube

Hot Club of Cowtown @ Bandcamp