Hot Buttered Rum | 12.08 | NJ

By: Martin Halo

Hot Buttered Rum :: 12.08.07 :: The Fountain House :: Newton, New Jersey

Zac Mathews - HBR by Dave Fleishman
Hot Buttered Rum has arrived at New Jersey's Fountain House for a two-night run to finish off their East Coast tour. The band has been on the road more or less nonstop since December 2006 and are currently supporting their 2007 independent release Live in the Northeast.

Hailing from San Francisco, HBR is Bryan Horne (bass), Nat Keefe (guitar), Zachary Matthews (mandolin), Aaron Redner (fiddle) and Erik Yates (banjo). Hot Buttered Rum lean heavy on traditional bluegrass as they follow in the footsteps of the Grateful Dead's Americana exploration. What sets them apart from many of their contemporaries is their ability to substitute rhythmic strumming and slapping for traditional percussion.

Taking the stage around 9 p.m. the band offered a set of covers and selections from studio releases In These Parts (2004) and Well-Oiled Machine (2006). "Kissin' Cousins" kicked off the first set, followed by "Hard Hearted," where Yates took the lead vocal and offered some fingerpicking banjo. The locals rejoiced.

The dynamics of the performance remained steady for the most part with jamming interludes present throughout. There was no definitive soul jolting, eye-popping climax. The set, which started off as a bluegrass romp turned into more of a cabin jam. In comparison to jam heavyweights Umphrey's McGee or the face melting Gov't Mule, Hot Buttered Rum are very much traditionalists. You almost get the feeling that they would fair better on a street corner in Austin, Texas with an overturned hat by their feet, rather than under the heated spotlight of the nation's barrooms.

Hot Buttered Rum by Dave Fleishman
Todd Sheaffer, John Skehan and Andy Goessling of Railroad Earth opened the show, and later joined HBR on the tightly compacted, tapestry laden hobo stage to contribute to "3.2," "Worth Waiting" and "Return Someday." Their splashes of guitar and saxophone added a smoother dimension and provided a calming vibe that eased the adrenalin in the room.

Where Set One showcased the band's core compositions, Set Two explored their influences. After a half hour intermission where Jack Daniels and soda pop eased their vocals chords, Hot Buttered Rum launched into a bluegrass foot stomp. Still, the locals rejoiced. It appeared half in attendance were there to see the band and half were there because there was a show in town, both sharing an experience that united the community.

The second set featured Redner's bow in a bucking rodeo with his fiddle strings as a cover of Bob Marley's "Satisfy My Soul" surged the audience forward. As the performance neared the three-hour mark they added fuel to the fire with the thumping bass notes of "Up On Cripple Creek." A cover of Jerry Garcia's masterpiece "Sugaree" closed the set.

The road trip to Newton was full of hospitality for the band. After the gig, the people who fought so hard to bring them to town took them in.


Set One: Kissin' Cousins, Hard Hearted, River Song, Bit By Bit, 3.2*, Worth Waiting*, Return Someday*, Evolution* > Thrill Is Gone* > Cold Frosty Morning* > Thrill Is Gone*
Set Two: Wedding Day, The Crest, Satisfy My Soul^, California King, Up On Cripple Creek*, unknown, Take Me Home, Firefly, Lay Me Down A Pallete On Your Floor*, Sugaree*
Encore: Come All Ye Who May, Honey Be
* w/ John Skehan (Railroad Earth) and Andy Goessling (RRE)
^ w/ Andy Goessling (RRE)

DMW News Presents: Onstage and Off with Hot Buttered Rum

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[Published on: 1/4/08]

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moephishH2O starstarstarstarstar Fri 1/4/2008 01:13PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I've never had a bad time at one of their shows. REALLY looking forward to 2 nights in Tahoe with Tea Leaf Green and HBR in 2 weeks!

sweetjames Fri 1/4/2008 01:51PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

We need more butter for our bread in Chicago, come back soon!

whodoyoudo Sat 1/5/2008 09:52AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


rre hbr tour do it again

alwaysbethemoon Sat 1/5/2008 12:31PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


less guns more butter!

spitz66 Sun 1/6/2008 09:36AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

HBRSB is one of my favorite bands on the scene today - great songwriting, vocals, and musicians - I didnt feel that this review gave them justice.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/8/2008 09:38AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

these guys are sooo NICE. I wish all bands were and friendly and nice as these guys, but sadly thats not the case. I met them after a fest once, and they gave me a cd and they all signed it. On top of that, GUNS OR BUTTER is the perfect political song :)