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It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down and listened to the Holy Hooenanners, a Gospel/Christian group out of Carlton Country. If you’re not keen on religious messages, then this album probably won’t be your thing. Personally, I have different beliefs, but I’m here to review albums, not give religious or philosophical opinions. I’ll gladly listen to and perhaps review albums that feature any belief except something that is undeniably racist, sexist, or somehow projects ignorant hate towards a group of people. With that little disclaimer, I certainly can keep an open mind enough to enjoy what the Holy Hootenanners have going on with their latest album titled “The Rumble.”
As far as negativity goes, there’s not a shred of it with the Holy Hootenanners. Their message about faith is somehow refreshing although I can’t really confirm or deny the possibility of a specific higher power. I feel that if something helps people and inspires them, then who am I to go and say that a group of people can’t go and make some fun and great music based on something they have a common belief in? I guess that in a lot of ways bands are formed on some sort of common principle. For example, Norwegian black metal is pretty much the opposite of this music.
It seems I’m making excuses for actually getting into this album.
Moving on, there’s over a dozen members in the band and they perfectly create the feel of a gospel choir band that might be at some tent revival. If you like the film Blues Brothers, you might get the feeling I’m talking about. It’s basically making the thought of worshipping Christ and God have a fun and uplifting note. This is not a dry Sunday sermon, it’s focusing on the good things and celebrating the life we have here on earth.
The album starts out with the track “Everyday,” and the mix of gospel, jazz, blues, folk and rock just shines in this affirming song. There’s really a lot going on with this album when you consider how many people are on it. Considering all of the instruments, vocals and other things happening, I was a little interested in where it was recorded. It was not surprising to see it was recorded at the slightly famous Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN. I’ve yet to hear an album that has suffered as far as production goes out of that studio. If anything, they’ve usually been pretty cutting edge.
One song title I didn’t really expect was “Drinking With The Devil.” It’s not exactly a track that you be typical of a Christian band. While it’s understandable that Motley Crue might shout at the Devil, it seems like it’s taking it up a notch to go drinking with the Devil. This song is written by Brooke Anderson who is credited with good number of the 13 tracks on this album. It features a lady I’ve always enjoyed watching live, Colleen Myhre, on vocals. Her voice nails out this lively blues/gospel number. The song doesn’t really advocate drinking with the Devil, rather looking to “let that Devil be.” There are several mentions of overcoming demons and getting through human weakness in the album.
With such a lively song, tracks like “Darkest of Days” switches the tone of the album. As Ecclesiastes 3:4 states, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” this song reflects on the hard times, and gives credit to God for getting through them. As I said, if a belief helps someone, then it might be for the best. Spirituality and humility are often good when things aren’t great and that’s just what this song deals with.
There are a few turns in this album that goes from country to rock and back to what you’d imagine as pure gospel. The final track “The Rumble” really acknowledges the human condition. This album is about forgiveness, self reflection, and growth. It looks at both the good times and bad times, but creates a beacon that for those who have faith that things will get better.
The band will be officially releasing this new album on Friday, August 11 at Northeast BBQ & Smokehouse in Clouqet, MN starting at 8 pm. Kind people of any belief are welcome to enjoy this inspiring music. If you happen to be in the Twin Cities on Thursday, August 10, they will also be having an album release at the Turf Club.