Hooten Hallers come home
CoMo-born band to play Roots N Blues on Saturday.
The life cycle of a band typically begins with a few shows in their hometown to generate community support. Then, they record some material and go on tour to spread the gospel of their music. So when a band comes back home with tales to tell, it is certainly a special occasion.
This is especially true for Columbia band The Hooten Hallers.
“It’s redeeming to come back home after being away for so long and being able to look out in the audience and see friends,” drummer and vocalist Andy Rehm says.
The four-piece “hillbilly rock” group is composed of Rehm, guitarist and vocalist John Randall, harmonica and tuba player and vocalist Paul Weber, and saxophonist Kellie Everett. They will be performing at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival at 1 p.m. on Sept. 27, at the Missouri Lottery Stage. You can definitely expect a spirited performance.
“We’re going to play rowdy rock ‘n’ roll blues and bring as high of energy as is humanly possible,” Rehm says.
This high-energy band first began to form at Mizzou. Though Rehm and Randall had encountered each other a few times in school in St. Louis, they reconnected when they moved to Columbia to attend college. The two also met Weber around this time. Later, they reached out to Everett through a mutual friend and heartedly believed that she would complete their nitty-gritty sound.
The name Hooten Hallers initially started as a joke, especially the spelling. The band later discovered it was actually quite fitting.
“It is a good and rowdy name for a good and rowdy band,” Rehm says.
Initially a declaration of party, The Hooten Hallers named their second and latest rough-and-tumble album “Chillicothe Fireball” released on New Year’s Eve 2013, after their van.
To approach this honky-tonk work, the band works as a team.
“It’s a full-band process,” Rehm says. “Someone has an idea for lyrics or a melody and then we all come together to work.”
The band is planning on recording new material this winter and releasing a new album early next year.
However, The Hooten Hallers have something else on their mind right now: their tour. They are currently traveling and performing across the Southeast and Midwest. This extensive tour also comes with long hours in the van.
“We usually rest, tell jokes and eat bad stuff,” Rehm says. “It’s traditional road trip fare.”
No road trip would be complete, though, without good music, and Rehm says they enjoy listening to late ‘80s and early ‘90s hip-hop (who doesn’t?).
Despite listening to relatively recent music on the road, the band’s musical influences stretch back much further.
“Our influences are all over the map, but we’re mainly inspired by pure American music that was propagated in the rural South,” Rehm says.
This includes John Lee Hooker and, especially, Mississippi Fred McDowell. In fact, if the band could play one song with any musician, they say they’d undoubtedly be the backing band for McDowell and play “Shake ‘em On Down.”
Be sure to check out The Hooten Hallers while you’re at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival. Tickets for a Saturday pass are $45, but if you want it all, a weekend pass is $85. Even The Hooten Hallers are checking out other acts.
“John Prine is a legend,” Rehm says. “The whole lineup is great this year.”
If you can’t get enough of The Hooten Hallers, you can also go to their after-party at Mojo’s at 10 p.m. that Saturday. Tickets are $5 with a festival pass and $10 without.