Album review: HOGJAW – Rise To The Mountains

HOGJAW - Rise To The Mountains

Snakefarm Records [Release date 2015]

Hogjaw embark on their maiden UK tour this autumn and they have a new album, ‘Way Down Yonder’ to promote, along with this, their 2015 album which is now getting a full UK release via Spinefarm Records. The four piece – Jonboat Jones (vocals, guitar), Jimmy Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Elvis DD (bass) and Kwall (drums) – play southern rock with a country tinge and they do it very well indeed.

The title track opens the album in a flurry of Skynyrd approved riffs, before the tempo changes to a slower, country feel not unlike the Allman Brothers. Hogjaw do rock hard though on ‘Leavin’ Out The Backside’ (that title may cause some sniggers in the UK fan base…) and ‘Over ‘Fore You Know It’, both sprinkled with a little humour in the lyrics and featuring the deep, resonate vocals of Jonboat Jones.

Like any good southern rock band they have a slow building epic in the eight minutes plus of ‘I Will Remain’. The guitars on this one are superb, with a tip of the hat perhaps to Molly Hatchett’s ‘Fall Of The Peacemakers’ at times.

Elsewhere, ‘The Smoker’ successfully adds a little country to rock in the same way Blackberry Smoke have done so successfully. In fact Hogjaw on a bill with either Blackberry Smoke or Black Stone Cherry, or even a festival appearance in the UK, would be ideal for them to get the lift up to the next level they need and deserve.

‘Grey Skies’ is a beautiful piece of music, both in the gentle pedal steel and guitar playing, and the emotionally fuelled vocal. Something different to end the album on a high with.

Add Hogjaw to your list of current favourite southern rock bands as they carry the flame lit by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers et al back in the 1970′s. Impressive from start to finish. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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