Hot Club Of Cowtown

Hot Club Of Cowtown
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HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN Western Swing; Small-Combo Jazz San Diego, California; Austin, Texas; Mid 1990s - In the early 1990s, Whit Smith fronted a New York City Western swing group called Western Caravan, which was popular in that city's Rodeo Bar. During this time he met fiddler Elana Fremerman, and eventually, the two ended up in San Diego, where they formed the Hot Club of Cowtown with T.C. Cyran. The band lives up to its name by blending classic Western swing with the small-combo jazz created by violinist Stephane Grappelli and gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt in their Hot Club du France. Like that forebear - and many of the groups in Western swing - HCoC's songs tend to serve as showcases for Smith's electrifying, Django-inspired guitar runs and Fremerman's top notch fiddling. Therefore, it might be closer to the truth to say that the band is not actually, but rather alt.jazz. In 1997, HCoC released a self-released cassette, Western Clambake, with covers of Western swing and jazz standards ("Chinatown," "Avalon," "After You've Gone,""Silver Dew," "I Laugh When I Think How I Cried Over You," "Milk Cow Blues," "Oklahoma Hills" etc.). Then, with lots of help and encouragement from California and Texas musicians - Don Walser, Dave Stuckey (The Rhythm Gang; ex-Dave and Deke), Mark Rubin (Bad Livers) - the group moved to Austin. With new bass player, Billy Horton (Horton Brothers; ex-Asylum Street Spankers), they worked at a variety of venues and events, built a following, and nailed down a weekly happy hour spot at the Continental Club. In early 1998, a number of labels began to court the Hot Club, with Hightone eventually winning out. Their self-produced debut on that label, Swingin' Stampede, draws most heavily on the Milton Brown/Bob Wills Western swing tradition, with covers of familiar standards. There's the expected homages to Reinhardt/Grappelli and Eddie Lang/Joe Venuti, some fiddle breakdowns, and even a little Tex-Mex. Legendary fiddler Johnny Gimble, steel whiz Jeremy Wakefield (Biller & Wakefield), piano prodigy T. Jarrod Bonta (Wayne Hancock; Jim Stringer), and accordion player Mike Maddux help things along, but reviewers generally agreed that Swingin' Stampede fell short of capturing the incredible dynamism of Hot Club of Cowtown live. 1999's Tall Tales offers more of the same stylistic mix, which is to say, most of the songs are covers of small-combo acoustic jazz classics and Western Swing/stringband standards. Peter Ecklund's cornet spices things up on a few songs and Dave Stuckey's production is noticeably warmer than on Stampede, but TT is, once again, a showcase for Smith's and Fremerman's instrumental virtuosity. The originals that Smith and Fremerman write (and, on one song, bassist Billy Horton) tend to be unpretentious melody-driven affairs, engaging to a degree, but one gets the impression that these cuts are rest-stops for the athletic soloists (and dancers, at their shows!). Late in '99, Billy Horton left Hot Club to play in the Horton Brothers full-time, but Smith and Fremerman quickly recruited Matt Weiner from the Flying Neutrinos to fill the bass spot. After several months of touring, this version of the band went into the studio to cut the Hot Club's third release for Hightone, Dev'lish Mary. The album, once again, continues in the stylistic tradition of previous releases. Produced by the ubiquitous Lloyd Maines, it's also a fairly accurate representation of the Hot Club sound, and may, in fact, be the best sounding album the band has yet released. Guests include Peter Ecklund again on cornet, Don Walser comes in for a quick yodel, and from the Texas Playboys and Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys, steel ace Bobby Koefer. Despite the quality of this recording, however, this is still a band that is best appreciated live. In fact, a live recording might provide fans with the best of both worlds. Current Lineup: Whit Smith (acoustic guitar, vocals); Elana Fremerman (fiddle, vocals); Matt Weiner (bass and vocals) --Lance Davis --David Goodman, author of Modern Twang: An Alternative Country Music Guide and Directory
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09/10/2009 - Hot music from Hot Club of Cowtown  - Read More
08/07/2009 - Hot Club of Cowtown climbs back in the saddle  - Read More
08/06/2008 - How Hot Club of Cowtown got back in the swing - Read More
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Average Rating : 5              Total Reviews: 4

Hot Club Of Cowtown  02/19/2005            
Craig Mishler
The best band in the whole damn world! I can't figure out why they aren't millionaires by now. All of their albums are fabulous. Elena Fremerman's fiddle will knock you flat on your butt.
Hot Club Of Cowtown  04/06/2004            
Robert Dicks
It is refreshing to hear a female vocalist sing it straight, no screaming, no grunting and no yelling. I am not the biggest fan in the world of female artists but my hat is off to this young lady, oh by the way she "ain't" bad on the violin either.
Hot Club Of Cowtown  02/11/2004            
If you haven't heard their latest effort recorded at South Austin's infamous Continental Club, you're in for a large time. Hastings classifies this fresh trio as "blues" - but what you'll find is a melting pot of bluegrass, blues, rockabilly and western swing with AN EDGE. Hot. Talented.
Hot Club Of Cowtown  08/21/2002            
This is a greatalbum! It's a great mix of swing, rockabilly and county. The best way to describe the music is "charming and fun".
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