Title - 'Wild Kingdom'
Artist - Hot Club of Cowtown'
For those not in the know, the Hot Club of Cowtown - Whit Smith, Jake Erwin and Elana James - is celebrating its 22nd anniversary during the 2019-2020 touring season.
Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, the Hot Club of Cowtown’s star has continued to rise 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” (New York Times).
The band’s musical alchemy has been described as “another breathless journey in the Texas tardis” (The Times, London), while American Songwriter observed that “the excellent three players of this band could be doing anything but have chosen to honor the greats of jazz and swing with their sound.”
Indeed, the Belfast Telegraph called the Hot Club of Cowtown “a pretty much perfect country trio at the very top of their game,” and the New York Times, in a live review viewed the trio as armed with “an arsenal full of technique and joy.”
Releasing on September 27th, 2019 via Gold Strike Records is their brand new, and highly anticipated new album of new material in ten years, Wild Kingdom.
Featuring 11 brand-new original songs plus three traditional band favorites along with one of the most colorful album covers I think I've seen in the past decade, Wild Kingdom sees the Austin-based trio upping their musical and lyrical game.
1. 'My Candy' (04:08)
2. 'Last Call' (04:47)
3. 'Caveman' (03:29)
4. 'Near Mrs.' (04:41)
5. 'Three Little Words' (03:13)
6. 'Billy The Kid' (04:20)
7. 'Tall Tall Ship' (03:21)
8. 'Rodeo Blues' (03:47)
9. 'Ways Of Escape' (04:24)
10. 'Loch Lomond' (02:50)
11. 'High Upon The Mountain' (04:01)
12. 'Easy Money' (04:15)
13. 'Before the Time of Men' (05:05)
14. 'How High The Moon' (04:33)
The first cut from this wonderfully vibrant new album is the fun tuck and roll of the James-written, sweet-talkin' 'My Candy,' which is backed seamlessly by the bands traditional American music vibe on both the drinking waltz of 'Last Call' and the Smith-original storytelling of 'Caveman.'
James's 'Near Mrs.' has that classic sound you expect from the band (complete with an unexpected big country star name drop), and that's followed by the first of the bands favorites, the 1930s theme from the eponymous film 'Three Little Words.'
The storytelling continues on the interestingly told lyrics found within 'Billy The Kid' (where cornered by Sheriff Pat Garrett, Billy's life flashes before his eyes), and then comes the chugging country rhythm of 'Tall Tall Ship.'
'Rodeo Blues' is another deeply meaningful cut that uses the metaphor of the pickup rider in a rodeo as the savior in a relationship, with Smith's bluesy brilliance for both lyrical and musical combinations rising to the top on the outstanding 'Ways To Escape' thereafter.
A swinging version of the traditional 'Loch Lomond' is backed by 'High Upon The Mountain,' which itself paints a glorious picture of nature's power to make us look inward and consider the stillness around us (in contrast to the turmoil in our lives).
On 'Easy Money,' another of my personal favorites here, the central theme of Smith's relationship with a gold-digging girlfriend who he cannot help but still love makes for an interesting lyrically emotive tale, and then the album rounds out with the complex mix of central Asian flair and manouche jazz of 'Before The Time of Me', and then an inspired cover of Les Paul and Mary Ford's 'How High The Moon.'
On an album that will have you tappin' your toes, snappin' your fingers, creating gentle hipsway in your chair, and even trepidatiously reminiscing about days gone by, Wild Kingdom is, without a shadow of a doubt, the album of 2019 to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step!
Official CD Purchase Link
Hot Club of Cowtown @ Facebook!