Should you ever need a lift, a new Austin quintet called Hog Branch can help get you back into the groove — and I mean, right now! This grooving soul/blues outfit combines jazz-filled heart with country soul on their self-titled debut album, Hog Branch, which is due out June 10th on Blue Vada Records.
Trying to nail down this eclectic group is no easy task. The genres and taglines that the band have garnered since their formation in 2018 include Wetlands Soul, Funk From The Farm, Country Soul No Limits and Bacon Grease Grooves. You can hear bits of all these on their debut release, recorded at Ice Cream Factory Studios by Matt Parmenter. Hog Branch covers all the swampy turf you might imagine. And the ten songs on Hog Branch create a nostalgic 1970s gumbo, spicing the peak elements of 70s FM Gold with modern swagger and contemporary worldview.
Founder and touring veteran Rick Watson initially formed Hog Branch to honor his piano-playing Momma, Carolyn Rose. She started him in music lessons early and raised him on a diet of gospel, rock-n-roll, swamp pop, and boogie-woogie. He recalls hearing her play hymns on Sunday mornings on the upright Baldwin at Shiloh Church — just hours after listening on Saturday night from the gravel parking lot of a rural Louisiana dancehall where his parents danced inside to Fats Domino. Hog Branch is the creek that divides the family farm from that little country church where she played and is now buried. But it’s also the border where conflicting styles meet in harmony.
As Rick heard Momma yell to Daddy at a Jerry Lee Lewis show at the “Music Box” in Gonzales, Louisiana, many many moons ago, “You were born knowing how to dance to this music!”
Today Glide is excited to premiere the band’s video for the band’s take on the classic soul song “Careless Love.” Filmed and recorded at the Ice Cream Factory Studio in Austin, the song finds the band leaning into the bluesy soul of the song a laid back guitar with Matt Schmidt leading the band on vocals. Together, they slowly build momentum as they layer in saxophone, piano, and in-the-pocket bass to make for a rousing take on the original. In listening to the song and watching the performance, it’s clear that this band knows their way around old blues and soul standards.
Rick Watson describes how the tune made it into the set and then onto the Hog Branch album:
“When Matt first brought this version of Careless Love to the band, I thought it would be too traditional for what we’re doing live. But then the very first time we played through it all together, especially when Matt dug into those vocals “I’d moan, just like that morning dove” — hell, it took me straight back to my south Louisiana holy-roller-soul musical roots. Matt’s so expressive, vocally and with the six string, that it’s been a staple tune for us ever since. Michael (drums), Dave (keys), and Willie D (sax) — as well as our engineer Matt at Ice Cream Factory Studio in Austin — really invested in recreating the feel of when we all played this song together the first time. I hope Careless Love takes you somewhere special too.”