In “Root of the Industry,” the opening track on the June release The Holy Open Secret, Hoots & Hellmouth makes its seditious tendencies clear. Take a listen to this Roots Rock group without inspecting the lyrics and you might figure that their country-fried acoustic work is moonshine-making music without any teeth to it. That’s not the case.
While this group has its earnest, amicable moments, “Root” is an agrarian protest that denounces the destructive capabilities of capitalism.
Driven by guitarists/vocalists Sean Hoots and Andrew Gray (a nickname for the latter explains the “Hellmouth”), H&H’s sound has relatives in the likes of The Hackensaw Boys, Old Crow Medicine Show and Drive-By Truckers. Equally comfortable with taking songs slow or turning up the pace, these scamps (whose ranks go as low as three and high as six) call Philadelphia home, not somewhere in the Deep South. The group’s twangy, mandolin-rich style seems like a throwback to the Dust Bowl era, but the band members insist that they’re rooted in the present.
They play the Southgate House with William Elliot Whitmore and Wake the Bear. Get show details and Sound Advice here.