January 25, 2013
Doors at 8:00pm
Show at 9:00pm
1303 Northeast 45th Street
Seattle, WA 98105-4502
$22 day of show
(not including fees)
STG Presents Hot Buttered Rum at the Neptune in Seattle on Friday, January 25, 2013.
This Spring, San Francisco's Hot Buttered Rum emerged from the studio with their most innovative and mature album to date, the upcoming Limbs Akimbo. Initially formed as an acoustic string band, seven years of constant touring has transformed the group into a plugged-in, percussive powerhouse that wows critics and fans alike. Their left-coast rock reveals an access to jazz, country, and world music that few groups can match. While their music belies simple categorization, the band's songwriting and stage chemistry delights listeners at every performance.
“Limbs Akimbo,” the upcoming album's title cut, supports its smart, soulful lyrics with West-African guitar and bell patterns, a bubbling mandolin, and a three-piece horn section. Meanwhile, the familiar guitars, drums, and chorus of a working rock act propel “Brokedown,” while the O Brother Where Art Thou-like banjo and fiddle drive “Summertime Gal.” As diverse as their palate may be, the band doesn't rely on novelty to draw in its fans. In a world where the eclectic has become the norm, it's refreshing to find in Hot Buttered Rum an intuitive understanding that the toe-tapping, verse-chorus-bridge poprock sounds of yesteryear still move the hearts – and bodies – of an audience. HBR's diversity of sound, instrumentation, and style still rest upon the inspired genius in their songcraft; the positive, uplifting nature of their message both on and offstage; and, to borrow from critics, their “stunning virtuosity” in performance and execution. It's the combination of being both timeless and timely that makes HBR a favorite live act – from cultured arts centers to sold-out auditoriums – and has fostered a highly devoted, national base of multigenerational fans that follows the band from town to town. In an age longing for optimism and forward movement, HBR are more than music for the ear; they are salve for the soul.
Dreamed up during a round of hot buttered rum (what else?) around a campfire in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, the band re-imagined traditional mountain music through the lens of their West-Coast, gen-X sensibilities. Coming down to sea leve, Hot Buttered Rum refined that music in the creative hotbed of the San Francisco Bay Area. A signature sound quickly emerged at HBR's high energy performances, one of which was captured on their first album, Live at the Freight and Salvage. Fans learned quickly that an evening with HBR was a quintessentially American experience – part hoe-down, part high art, part church, and part roadhouse.
While the band busily built their sound, O Brother, Where Art Thou's soundtrack won a Grammy and sent the nation's ears back to acoustic music. Hot Buttered Rum's “high altitude bluegrass” era, captured on their first studio album, In These Parts, dovetailed with this trend and the boys became happy representatives of folk music's cutting edge. As the band began to spread the gospel, it acquired in 2004 a vegetable oil powered bus that brought them from coast to coast and delivered them to more than 150 shows annually. The ensuing years saw them enjoying success at such diverse stages as the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, Grey Fox, High Sierra, Wakarusa, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Along the way, the group shared the stage with some of today's most accomplished artists, including Phil Lesh, Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, and Nickel Creek's Chris Thile. In 2006 acoustic pioneer Mike Marshall produced Hot Buttered Rum's second studio album, Well-Oiled Machine, and captured the sound of a hard-touring band charting its course along the highways and byways of American music.
The continued expansion of Hot Buttered Rum's sound and writing found a home in Live in the Northeast, recorded during their 2006 tour of New England. More electric pickups made their way to the stage, along with an increased focus on songwriting and stage presence. The boys had grown up on the road, and it was starting to show. As the band developed a heavier sound, fans and press began to describe them as a rock band with acoustic instruments. It came as no surprise, then, when founding members Aaron Redner (violin and mandolin), Bryan Horne (upright bass), Nat Keefe (guitar), and Erik Yates (banjo, guitar, and flute) joined forces with Everyone Orchestra conductor and drummer Matt Butler – much to the delight of fans.
The new lineup has recently emerged from San Francisco's Mission Bells Studios, where they recorded Limbs Akimbo under the watchful eye of producer Tim Bluhm (The Mother Hips). Featuring guest appearances by Jackie Greene (Skinny Singers, Phil and Friends) and Zach Gill (ALO, Jack Johnson), the album marks the beginning of a new creative phase. If Freight and Salvage and In These Parts served as a proof of the concept, Well-Oiled Machine as a proof of the technical virtuosity, and Live in the Northeast as proof that such virtosity translates into explosive live performances, Limbs Akimbo now marks the arrival of a highly matured, impressively listenable, stirringly rocking, and pleasantly poppy sound. Proving himself a forceful producer, Bluhm has struck an impressive balance between highlighting the multi-instrumental, cross-genre elements of the band's sound while avoiding the contemporary trappings of music that is complex and different merely for the sake of complexity and difference. The result is beautifully paradoxical: a tremendous, minimalist pop album full of hints, teases, and cameos of the band's complex musical personality. In “Something New,” a radio-friendly romantic rock song, Keefe recites the familiar wedding adage “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” There, in a nutshell, is Limbs Akimbo: an album that is both an elegy and reincarnation of Hot Buttered Rum's past sound that borrows heavily from the rock pantheon while sprinkling in just a little of everything else. This is an album that evidences the acoustic string band of yesteryear while unapologetically thrusting into the scene a mature West Coast, drum-driven, pop-rock band.