Leigh MichaelThursday,21 March 2013

The Snap:

Fans of Bob Dylan will be proud. Named after his ballad on These Times They Are A-Changin’, Brooklyn-based Hollis Brown has a timeless sound that inspired Spin to aptly note, “Hollis Brown make music that sounds just as alive today as it would’ve in 1966 and will 40 years from now.” Equal parts scratchy folk and country twang, this is the sort of band that would fit in well with a playlist featuring CCR or Steve Earle.

Hollis Brown just released Ride on the Train, their first full-length album. They’re also wrapping up their spring tour this month, so hop to it if they’re near you (DC, NYC and Philly residents: you’re in luck!).

The Download:

I have a lot of great things to say about this band. We’ll start with their name – if you’ve ever listened to ”Ballad of Hollis Brown,” you’ll know that it isn’t exactly bedtime story material. Their moniker leaves some pretty big shoes to fill — but the band passes the test with flying colors.

In many ways, a lot of their songs feel like the (early) Black Keys and Robert Johnson made a song child. ”Hey Baby”, with its bluesy touch and sparky twang, proves the point admirably.

Mike Montali (vocals) and Jon Bonilla (lead guitar) have an awesome way of writing lyrics that feel completely perennial. The subject matter isn’t rocket science, but it’s the timeless quality to their words that draws in every sort of listener. With soulful guitar licks winding their way through each song, Hollis Brown is the package deal. I feel like this is the sort of music I could put on while sitting with my dad, my grandfather, and my little brother — and we’d all have a good time. True praise.

Have a listen to “Down on Your Luck”, “Nightfall”, “Cold City”, and my personal favorite, “Spoonful”. Also, make sure to enjoy their excellent session with Daytrotter.

Hollis Brown has a great formula going. I have a feeling that they’ll be a prominent name on many people’s “Top 25 Most Played” iTunes list within the next couple of years – and will stick around beyond that.

Hat Tips:

Hollis Brown, Facebook, Rolling Stone, SoundCloud, Image Credit: Flickr

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