by Ross Bernhardt
This NYC folk hybrid band hits hard with a live album that packs a punch.
Having seen The Hollows live and all the energy and showmanship that comes with one of their shows, I was wondering how they would ever be able to capture the essence of that performance on an album.
Lucky for us, The Hollows bottled it up and gave us a live album with their latest release, Neverending Show.
You hear everything that makes seeing The Hollows live in concert so much fun: the wonderful blend of voices, some damn fine instrumentation on banjos, guitars, keyboards and even harmonicas, and a palpable energy that you can just jumps out at you. With all that, you get the perks of live performances like jams, interactions with the crowd and more.
Are there moments where some studio editing and production could be used? Of course. There’s no band that can ever perfectly recreate the studio sound of voices. But the raw, emotive sound that comes from live performance results in something that’s imperfectly perfect. I never go into a live show expecting the perfect studio sound. It’s the flourishes that make live performances special.
For instance, I don’t think The Hollows would throw a cover of “The Weight” by The Band on a studio album. Mixing it into a live set makes much more sense, and because it’s a live album you get to experience that surprise of recognizing songs and covers in the set just like people were when they were at the show.
The Hollows continue on that trail of mixing bluegrass, folk, country, southern rock, Americana some blues and anything else your ear might pick up. It’s impossible to pigeonhole this band into one specific genre because their music uses elements from so many. Even individual songs can keep you guessing as to what style it’s going to stay in. That’s one of the pleasant things about this band is the variety they mix in (although that can sometimes disrupt the complete listening experience because it jumps from genre to genre so much).
On the whole, I think Neverending Show succeeds because of the energy that permeates throughout the record. There is no way to capture that in studio, and because of that it was smart to make a live album. Plus, how can you top a closing track like a live version “Whiskey and Wine?” You really can’t.
(This article originally appeared here.)