Daily Egyptian

The Hooten Hallers howl through Hangar

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

Missouri has been a key player in preserving the authenticity of blues, especially with its “St. Louis shuffle” style of heavy, on-beat sound.

The Hooten Hallers, a blues/country trio from Columbia, Mo., is known for their roots in blues rock and their country influence.

They will be playing at 10 p.m. Saturday at Hangar 9. County Graves is also on the bill and admission will be $5 at the door.

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The Hooten Hallers began as a duo in 2007, consisting of John Randal on guitar and vocals and Andy Rehm on drums and vocals.  The band remained local until about four years ago when it started touring full time.

Recently, the band has added Kellie Everett, a bass and baritone saxophone to the line up to add another layer of sound, Rehm said.

“There’s just some stuff you can’t do with just guitar and drums, so its kind of nice to have extra instrumentation here and there,” he said.  “As long as we can bring the sound we create on the record on the road, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

The band is inspired by music that has stood the test of time, whether it be blues or country, he said.

“We usually just tell people we are a rock ‘n’ roll band because I think that is the most true,” he said.  “There’s elements of blues and country music in there too, but typically we just say we’re a rowdy rock ‘n’ roll band.”

Some cities have their own distinct influence on bands, but the Hooten Hallers capture the essence of the entire state of Missouri in aspects of their music, he said.

“Missouri’s got its own particular charm,” he said. “It’s a state we definitely dearly love … but I’d say its hard to put an exact finger on the Missouri sound. There’s a lot of blues though, that’s for sure.”

The Hallers released their first official album, “Greetings from Welp City,” on Big Muddy Records five years after their formation and have since released a remastered version.

Their latest album, “Chillicothe Fireball,” was released in 2014.

Rehm said both albums were produced in a live setting where the whole band is recorded together, providing an authentic feel.

“It’s still recorded all live, so it sort of limits what you can do, but at the same time, its value is in how the recording ends up feeling,” he said.

Although their recordings are similar to their on-stage performances, there is a certain intensity when it comes to live shows that fuels more creativity, he said.

“We like to keep things spontaneous on stage, but at the same time, if [people] like our music before coming to the show, we’d like them to go away feeling like they heard the stuff they wanted to hear,” he said.

The band is currently working on a new album with the similar mindset of continuing the live, yet recorded sound, but with all three members present for the entire process.

“That’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” he said.  “It’s just to make our live show, as much as possible, like the record, but not in a boring way.”

They plan on playing some new songs during their performance on Saturday, he said.

“Its still a work in progress, but we hope to get in the studio later this year and nail it all down,” he said.

The Hallers are far from newbies when it comes to playing in the Carbondale music scene, playing local venues with names like the Legendary Shack Shakers and County Graves. 

“A bunch of good-time folks in Carbondale,” he said.  “We’re excited to come back.”

Chase Myers can be reached at [email protected]

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