The truth shines through on these old-timey, folk-inspired tunes.
Reflecting the barren landscape of their New Mexico home is the sparse, heartfelt, ramble of the Hoth Brothers on their latest album, ‘Tell Me How You Feel’. ‘Tell Me How You Feel’ is a late-night camp in the cold-desert night with a fire and a bottle of whiskey to keep you warm. Stripped-down arrangements populated with melodic claw-hammer banjo, subtle finger-picked blues-guitar, and straight-forward acoustic bass, combine to create a lush atmosphere of old-timey, folk-inspired tunes that sound like they are fighting off a hangover with their gentle, easy-going delivery that moves at a leisurely pace, never threatening to overwhelm last-nights over-indulgences or this morning’s headache.
The Hoth Brothers craft everyman lyrics on ‘Tell Me How You Feel’ that recall timeless storytellers of days past, delivering them with a warble and mumble as they sing tales of bow-legged dogs, witches tits, old painters, deserts, and brisket and beans that all serve to capture that quiet, thoughtful, moment between the late-night, last-man-standing and the early morning sunrise when the rest of the house is asleep.
Even with the limited palette from which they work, the Hoth Brothers prove masterful artists finding depth and nuance in every song. On ‘Boogieman Mesa’ they sound like a drunken hobo-band on a train to nowhere singing of the world passing them by, the deeply narrative ‘Cliff Fendler’ unspools at a creeping walk with every word dragged out to its full extent, while the sweet whisper of ‘Rough Ragged Edge’, written by legendary New Mexican songwriter Lewie Wickham, is the perfect coda to the album.
When a band plays with such a minimalistic hand the worry is they will overplay and overcompensate, spoiling the hushed, contemplative mood, but the Hoth Brothers strike the perfect approach with their Dust Bowl troubadour soul and sharp storyteller’s eyes. Instead, they masterfully strip each song down to only its essential parts, removing the wasteful artifice from their music and letting truth shine.