The self-titled debut from the Hill Country Hounds mixes both traditional and modern country while eschewing the current pop/rock/country movement of Nashville.
This type of country uses Memphis and Bakersfield and Austin as its references. The sound here is pristine and produced. There is little rawness in the mix, but the lyrics have a traditional spin as choruses include such advice as “If you want to get bent / there’s liquor south of Laredo” and “You can take your 80 / You can take your 90 / That’s all behind me / I want 100 proof.”
The members of Hill Country Hounds have worked with everyone from Oliver Morgan to Kim Carson to J. the Savage, so the playing here is professional and tight. They do the plaintive sound with lonely pedal steel and yearning fiddle as well as the upbeat country rhythms.
Their earnestness here occasionally goes a little far and becomes hokey on tunes like “I like Eggs” or they sound so self-conscious that they come off almost unnatural, as if they are trying too hard. Background vocals that model themselves on Bob Wills’ yelp or that have dialogs with the primary singer come off as almost too cute at first but, after several listens, they stand out less and become more part of the whole.
There are too few real country bands in New Orleans; the Hill Country Hounds and this record are a welcomed addition to the local music scene.