By Amanda Schreck
SC Staff Writer
Zach Gold, Joey Tumulty, Alex Musso, Grant Kempski, and Brian Duke from the Hoochie Coochie Men rocked the Sarah Street Grill in Stroudsburg on February 6 with music from their recently debuted EP, new music including “In the Water,” some covers of Bob Dylan songs, Joe Cocker’s “Unchain My Heart,” and others.
The Hoochie Coochie Men try to capture their sound, describing it as “Ray Charles singing with Bob Dylan backed by the Allman Brothers Band.” With their new EP, Big Blue Tree, their influences are very apparent.
The first song on their EP is also their first single, “Big Blue Tree.” From the very first harmonious blend of beats, the song dances on its own. Nature personified is urging, “Sit next to me, ‘cause I’m your big blue tree.”
Their second single is an innovative mashup. It opens with “I’d Rather Go Blind,” by Etta James, and crescendos into “Don’t Let Me Down,” by the Beatles, with a cry of the electric guitar and heartbeat of the bass and drums.
Their most recent single, “Things I Know,” features vocals from Gold and has deep roots in folk. The universal feelings of mutual loneliness, sleepless nights, and worry happen to so many people, but they ensure, “They’ll be over soon.”
Other songs include “Here I Remain,” which is the epitome of a blues ballad. It has a strong heartbeat that reverberates against the soft piano and blends effortlessly with the soulful vocals.
“Living Alone” shows the band’s two styles in one ballad with a two-part song including Tumulty and Gold’s vocals.
The final song on the EP is “That Evening Train.” It begins as a slow bluesy ballad but takes a quick turn after the swift electric guitar chimes in along with the upbeat tempo of an organ from the electric piano – bringing the EP to a final close.
When asked about their inspirations for the EP, they all agreed that it comes from many different sources and can’t quite be pinpointed to one specifically.
“I think we all get joint and individual inspiration. We all love Ray Charles, so sometimes that comes out. It depends on the song,” said Gold.
Tumulty agreed: “I definitely think in the beginning when you’re writing songs you’re pulling from your own experiences, but once you start traveling around with the same group of people, by the end of the summer, we were writing songs about stuff we did together. The inspirations are conjoining.”
Kempski also believes that the places they visit have a big impact on what they write about. “I’ve always found that places have been a really big inspiration,” he said.
With every new show, people can count on hearing some new material. “We have 3 brand new songs. The last couple months, we’ve been writing a lot of new music and preparing for putting out a full album. We’ve been focusing on writing a lot of music,” said Musso.
Throughout their tour dates, and while Kempski and Duke are attending Lafayette College, the writing is still continuous. They hope to bring a new sound to the full album and to add in a few interesting and eclectic sounds and world instruments.
“Gongs. We like gongs. We got a gong guy. He has great gongs,” said Gold with a laugh.
They hope to finish the album by the end of the year with a few exceptions – “Once we get our hands on the didgeridoos,” said Tumulty.
Whether they have didgeridoos, gongs, or other world instruments, the Hoochie Coochie Men know one thing for sure: “We all love playing music. We all love playing music together. So, we just take it month by month,” said Gold.
Be sure to like The Hoochie Coochie Men on Facebook for all their updates and future shows!
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