Hollis Brown 3 Shots on LP
Featuring Bo Diddley & Nikki Lane
Since its formation in 2009, the scrappy New York outfit known as Hollis Brown has emerged as one of America's most compelling young rock 'n' roll acts. Drawing from a bottomless well of classic influences yet firmly rooted in the present, the band's output has steadily evolved from the raw immediacy of its early releases to the more expansive, adventurous approach that fuels its bracing new album 3 Shots.
Hollis Brown's progression from unpretentious garage combo to confident, distinctive musical force is evident throughout 3 Shots. The 11-song set marks a substantial creative leap for the band, with such sonically edgy, emotionally resonant new tunes as "Cathedral," "Sandy," "Wait For Me Virginia" and the title track, which exemplify the quintet's balance of sharp melodic song craft, vivid lyrics and artfully-deployed electric and acoustic textures. Other highlights include the heart-tugging "Highway One," a duet with acclaimed alt-country songstress Nikki Lane, and the uplifting "Rain Dance."
The latter tune is the product of a unique collaboration with fabled rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley, with Hollis Brown building a new composition around a previously unreleased rhythm track created by the late musical legend in his home studio, and featuring Bo's unmistakable guitar work. In addition to showcasing the deeply expressive songwriting of Hollis Brown's founding duo of singer/guitarist Mike Montali and guitarist Jonathan Bonilla, 3 Shots benefits from the road-tested rapport of the quintet, which also includes longtime bassist/vocalist Dillon DeVito and more recent additions Andrew Zehnal (drums) and Adam Bock (piano and vocals).
"We wanted to make more of a statement with this one, and expand the garage-rock vibe of Ride On The Train into something a little wider," Montali says of the album, most of which was recorded in an adrenaline-charged flurry of activity at producer Don Dilego's Velvet Elk home studio in the Pocono mountains, and mixed by noted studio vet John Agnello at Brooklyn's Fluxivity Recording.
"We wanted a bigger drum sound, bigger guitars and a bigger record in general," Montali continues. "Ride on the Train was everybody playing together in one room, and everything you hear on that record is what we played in that room. On this one, we crafted it a bit more. But we still only had 14 days to record and mix the whole thing, so it's still kind of rough."
3 Shots vibrant vision is reflected in the thoughtful, outward-looking direction of the band's new songs, which often utilize memorable characters and dramatic situations to make their points. "I wanted each song on the album to have a unique voice and make a complete statement," Montali asserts. "So instead of just writing about myself, I made an effort to see the world through other people's perspectives.
"Everything you'd expect from a band named after a Bob Dylan tune, mixing Americana and Bible Belt blues with a heavy dose of no-frills Southern Rock." - American Songwriter
Hollis Brown 3 Shots Track Listing:
2. 3 Shots
3. John Wayne
4. Rain Dance (featuring Bo Diddley)
6. Sweet Tooth
7. Death of An Actress
8. Highway 1 (featuring Nikki Lane)
9. Wait For Me Virginia
10. Mi Amor
11. The Ballad of Mr. Rose