Courtesy: Hollow Trees Records
This summer, children’s entertainers The Hollow Trees will release their new album Hello Friend. This fourteen song, 39-minute record is a fun new release from the Los Angeles, California-based band. This applies both to those that are more familiar with the band’s sound and the band’s new audiences. This is especially of note because the band is noted as being a folk act on its Facebook page. Yet in listening to this record its sound is hardly what one might think of when one thinks of folk. Rather it boasts more of a classic banjo-driven Dixieland style sound over the course of its body. The closest that it comes to being even remotely folk in the purest sense in the band’s cover of ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain’ and the album’s closer ‘The Harmony Hills.’ Even those two songs aren’t even folk per se but more country/bluegrass. Keeping that in mind, the album’s musical arrangements become collectively just one of the album’s key elements. Its lyrical content is just as important to its overall presentation as its musical arrangements. Last but hardly least of note is the album’s sequencing. It rounds out the album and brings everything full circle. All things considered the album in whole proves to be a record that is anything but hollow. Rather it is a solid recording that will entertain audiences from beginning to end.
The Hollow Trees’ new album Hello Friend is a record that despite the band’s name, is anything but hollow. Rather it is a strong, solid work that the whole family will enjoy from beginning to end. That is due in part to the album’s musical arrangements. The band’s musical style is noted on its Facebook page as being a folk sound. But in listening to this record’s fourteen tracks its sound is hardly what one would consider to be folk; At least not in the purest sense of the word. Rather, its sound comes across by and large as being more of a classic Chicago style Dixieland sound than folk. Perhaps the closest that this record comes to being folk in any sense of the word would be the band’s cover of ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain’ it’s title track, and the album’s closer ‘The Harmony Hills.’ Even those two songs are not necessarily folk in the purest sense of the word. Rather, they are more closely associated with a country/bluegrass sound than folk. Keeping this in mind, anyone that is a fan of Dixieland (whether it be Chicago style or otherwise) will truly enjoy the musical arrangements presented throughout the course of this new offering from The Hollow Trees. It is just one of the elements that will make audiences want to say “hello” to this record.
The musical arrangements that are presented over the course of Hello Friend’s thirty-nine minute run time are collectively just one element that makes this record so enjoyable. The song’s lyrical themes are just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements. That is because unlike the album’s musical arrangements its lyrical themes are far more varied. Case in point the album’s opener ‘What Do You Want On Your Taco.’ Front man Gregory Hollow Tree sings about the different ways in which tacos can be dressed up with toppings. On the surface it seems like such a silly concept. But as he notes in the song’s introductory line, it is about more than just a taco. He uses the taco’s various constructions as a simile to life. Just like there are so many different ways to make up a taco, there are so many choices to make in life. And making those choices can be quite fun, as is hinted in the song’s upbeat musical arrangement. It’s a pretty original way to approach such a deep philosophical concept. Considering this it is a prime example of what makes the album’s lyrical content just as important as its musical content. The English lesson of sorts presented in ‘My Metaphor’ is another prime example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content. The song teaches about metaphors (and even similes) and sets that lesson against the band’s Chicago style Dixieland for a song that is sure to entertain audiences of all ages. And then there’s the album’s beautiful closer ‘The Harmony Hills.’ This classic country/Americana style composition is not silly or even philosophical. Rather it is a gentle, flowing piece about a little place called (of course) The Harmony Hills. Gregory Hollow Tree and his band mates sing here about the music filling the whole area as the sun sets over the region. The picture that the song paints is such a lush and vivid vision for audiences. That is due both to the imagery used in the song and the song’s musical arrangement. On a lager scale the combination of both elements makes this song the perfect juxtaposition to the album’s opener. Where the album opened with a fun, upbeat piece comparing life to food (a taco no less), this piece gently places listeners on the far banks of the record’s body and sends them off to sleep with a smile on their faces, proving once more why the album’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements. Of course it is just one more example of what makes the record’s lyrical content so important to the album’s presentation. The album’s other songs could be cited in support of this statement, too. Case in point, a song about a dog and its fleas in ‘My Dog Has Fleas,’ and another even sillier one about having ants in one’s pants in (you guessed it) ‘I Can’t Dance (I’ve Got Ants in My Pants).’ Considering all of this the lyrical content presented in this album proves in whole to be just as important to the album’s presentation as its musical content. Of course those two elements are not the album’s only important elements. Its overall sequencing is just as important to the album’s presentation as its music and lyrics.
The musical and lyrical content presented throughout the course of Hello Friend’s fourteen songs are both key elements in its presentation. They work both by themselves and together to make this a record one to which everyone will want to say “hello.” They are, however not the only elements that make it such a welcoming new record from The Hollow Trees. Its sequencing is just as important to its presentation as its musical and lyrical content. Listeners will note in listening through the record’s thirty-nine minute run time that it generally keeps the energy flowing from one song to the next. There are some pieces that are slower than others. But they are only slightly slower at the most. Other than in the case of ‘Poor Papa,’ the rest of the record’s musical content is generally rather upbeat. On the surface, the placement of Poor Papa’ closer to the album’s end might not seem all that important. But it is actually a very smart move by the band. It is a way to start winding down its young listeners. Listeners will note that after that song the energy picks back up in the band’s cover of ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain’ and then starts to ease off again in the waltz time of ‘I Like To Draw’ before ultimately easing listeners to sleep in the album’s beautiful, flowing closer. Looking at that and the sequencing of the rest of the album, the album’s overall sequencing proves hugely important to its presentation. It is just as important as its lyrical and musical content if not more so. That is because it gets young listeners’ energy and blood flowing early on and keeps it going before slowly easing off over the course of its final songs. It is a truly interesting approach to note. And in doing so it shows why it is, again, its own important part of the album’s presentation, regardless of its place on that hierarchy of th album’s most important elements. All things considered, this record is one to which listeners of all ages will want to say, “hello” time and again.
The Hollow Trees’ new album Hello Friend is a record to which listeners of all ages will want to say “hello” time and again. That is due in part to the musical arrangements presented in each of its fourteen songs. The arrangements are in large part Chicago Dixieland style compositions. Though there are some country/bluegrass and even Americana style compositions, too. Heck, there is even one composition that includes a touch of zydeco and crosses it with that Chicago Dixieland sound. It sounds intriguing but actually works quite well. Keeping all of this in mind the musical arrangements presented in this record are definitely key to its presentation. The varied lyrical themes are just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements. They range from the absolutely silly—‘I Can’t Dance (I’ve Got Ants In My Pants)’–to the educational—‘My Metaphor’—to the downright emotionally touching—‘The Harmony Hills’—and all points in-between, the album’s lyrical content proves to be just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements. The album’s overall sequencing brings everything full circle. It is clear in listening to this record that its sequencing had to have been very thought out and deliberate. It kicks off with an upbeat song and keeps the energy flowing until the album’s last few songs. Those last few songs slowly ease the album’s energy until it ultimately sends listeners off to a beautiful wonderland of sleep in its closer. It is a very smart arrangement in the bigger picture. And together with the record’s lyrical and musical content shows once more why this record in whole is such an enjoyable collection of songs. It collectively makes this record one to which listeners of all ages will want to say “hello” time and again. It will be released Friday, July 1st in stores and online. More information on Hello Friend is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news, tour updates, and more at:
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