Rejuvenated Trigger Hippy Returns with New Lineup for ‘Full Circle and Then Some’ (ALBUM REVIEW))

Credit: @scottwillisphotography Do not crop. (https://www.instagram.com/scottwillisphotography/)

As we’re about to write this review, the news feed indicates that Trigger Hippy drummer Steve Gorman will appear on Late Night With Seth Myers to play with the house band from October 7 -10. The buzz has begun, or better said, is already well underway. Gorman’s Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes – A Memoir came out on September 24th and Gorman recently brought his Steve Gorman Rocks radio show to Westwood One. These are precursors to the revamped lineup for Trigger Hippy and the album Full Circle and Then Some. Gorman and songwriter bassist Nick Govrick believe the new album embodies the music and vision they’ve chased since the two met 15 years, Instead of a front line that featured Joan Osborne and guitarist Jackie Greene, the new lineup has multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ed Jurdi (Band of Heathens) and vocalist/sax player Amber Woodhouse. 

That music and vision of Gorman and Govrick is still very much present – infectious, hyphenate-roots/funk/blues/rock/jam sound. Says Gorman, “Nick and I always pushed for more of a commitment to become a functioning, full-time band, but everyone had their own things going on, which made it difficult to keep that lineup together. We always had a vision and an idea of what we wanted to do. This is the culmination of a 15-year conversation, and I mean that literally and musically.”

Jurdi, especially, was a catalyst for rebooting Trigger Hippy and came aboard on Gorman’s recommendation and invitation. Woodhouse came to Gorman and Govrik through the recommendation of Mike “Grimey” Grimes, well-known in Nashville, especially for Grimey’s, the beloved record store he co-owns.  Jurdi and Woodhouse are on the front line while the band is anchored by the two co-founders in the rhythm section. Gorman claims that the band has no leader and that it’s fully run as a democracy. While the core band features four, the album is augmented by some of Nashville’s best including Willie Nelson’s harp man Mickey Raphael, guitarist Sadler Vaden from Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit, guitarist/mandolin player Guthrie Trapp, London-born pedal steel player Spencer Cullum, and guitarist Sol Philcoc-Littlefield, among others. 

As mentioned the essence of their eclectic sound remains intact. There are call and response duets, three-part vocal harmonies and touchpoints to just about every kind of roots music. They open with the rousing “Don’t Want To Bring You Down”, featuring a lead by all three vocalists and a highly spirited refrain that lets the listener know right away that this an animated, inspired bunch ready to let loose a bunch of danceable and listenable tunes. “Strung Out on the Pain” oozes country while the title track falls into a classic rock mode. “Dandelion” has blues and “Goddamn Hurricane” has some of the early, earthy Band sound. NOLA comes forth in the bayou groove of “Long Lost Friend” and some trancey dirge-like psychedelia rears up in “Born To Be Blue.” It’s an intoxicating mix that hopefully has longer legs in live performance than the mere 40 dates the original band did. 

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