Hooverville | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It



Follow That Trail of Dust Back Home

(Back Up and Push Records)

The rustic work of Triangle-based quartet Hooverville will not likely be mistaken for the flashiest slacks in the closet. Nope, their roots music is more like Dickies work pants-- durable and utilitarian with a certain rugged appeal. And because the band sports three vocalists/songwriters--acoustic guitarist John Bemis (Hooverville's main voice and pen), multi-instrumentalist Greg Hanson, and upright bassist Paul Dowds--you get a pair in navy, a pair in khaki, and a pair in gray. But that's not to say there aren't touches that reflect a bit of flare, from Jen Gunderman's accordion on three tunes and the distant harmonies on "Another Sweet Dawn" to the fiddle on "Carrying this Heartache" carefully approximating the sound of love lost.

OK, enough trouserspeak. It makes more sense just to anoint these guys the Americana poster boys for this region. Unlike an outfit such as the Avett Brothers, though, there's no alt in Hooverville's mountain-country. The crisp backbeat offered by drummer Nathan Logan amongst the mandolins, banjos and steel guitars is one of the few concessions to the calendar.

Like the music on the James Mathus-produced Follow That Trail, the song's stories feel as if they're from another time, either seemingly set back in the day or, in the case of "Jefferson Davis Blues," exhuming a figure from way back in the day. There's also the feeling that things are coming from another place, a mythic small town surrounded by tall pines and bluegrass hills, populated by ramblin' boys and heart-smashing girls--and darn-near inescapable. "Cause a town with just one road in/ Makes you feel like you're here to stay," opines Bemis' "Dirt Road."

The album's centerpiece, Hanson's haunting and dusty "County Fairgrounds," examines that same nowhere-town malaise, the endless circles driven on the old dirt track serving as a perfect metaphor for life in a rural rut. That song's key couplet, "Cause there ain't no saint for racing anyhow/ Or I'd be on my knees right here and now," could have come from Springsteen, but the music throughout has a lot more to do with the Stanleys and the Louvins. And it's that vintage sound that Hooverville wears well.

Hooverville plays a house concert at Down Yonder Farm in Hillsborough on April 8 and at the Pittsboro General Store on April 10.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review

Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Love it! All the songs are beautiful!

by Jon Champion on Record Review: The Return of The Veldt, The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation, Is Great (Record Review)

This release will be available Friday December 4th here:


Thanks! …

by Scott Phillips on Review: The electronic excellence of GNØER's Tethers Down (Record Review)

You should have let Currin write this. One of the best singers on earth and these were your observations? sounds …

by Remo on Record review: Jeanne Jolly's A Place to Run (Record Review)


© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation