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Head for the Hills

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Head for the Hills has a simple but continuing dilemma they can’t seem to resolve. Specialists have been hired to no avail and the predicament persists: how does one describe the...

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Head for the Hills has a simple but continuing dilemma they can’t seem to resolve. Specialists have been hired to no avail and the predicament persists: how does one describe the multifarious music of Head for the Hills? Among the top contenders are catchy turns of phrase like post-bluegrass, progressive string music, modern acoustic noir, and bluegrass bricolage.  “On top of modern string music,” (Bluegrass Today), “Cutting edge,” (Drew Emmitt) or “Best in Colorado Bluegrass” (Westword Showcase Readers Poll)—those are up there too. Strip away the artful descriptors and you have a forward thinking group of {mostly} acoustic musicians drawing on eclectic influences, tastes and styles. They didn’t grow up immersed in bluegrass music but came to it later in life, with each other. The result is a sound based in bluegrass that reaches into indie rock, jazz, hip hop, world and folk to stitch together fresh songs that bridge the divide between past and future acoustic music. Head for the Hills—Adam Kinghorn on Guitar and vocals, Joe Lessard on violin and vocals, Matt Loewen on upright bass and vocals and Mike Chappell on acoustic and electric mandolins—has been bringing their music, whatever you’d like to call it, to audiences from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to South by Southwest and a multitude of stages in between since 2004. The band has independently issued two studio records and one live, been featured on NPR Ideastream and eTown, co-released a beer with Odell Brewing Company in May 2013 and charted on the CMJ Top 200 (Head for the Hills, 2010). Blue Ruin, an all-new album of original material is slated for release on July 9th, 2013.

Meta-fictional sea shanties.  Pop-infused newgrass murder ballads and urbane lyricism. Twang and punch. Head for the Hills’ fourth record, Blue Ruin, fuses bluegrass, jazz, hip-hop and indie rock into songs inspired by love and misery and comic books. Featuring twelve new original songs marked by moving narratives and stellar musicianship, Blue Ruin showcases the quartet's contemporary take on acoustic music; embracing the bluegrass pedigree while looking forward. Recorded and mixed inFort Collins,Coloradoat Swingfingers Studios with ace engineer and banjoist Aaron Youngberg (Martha Scanlan, Cahalen Morrison and Eli West), Blue Ruin features contributions from Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters), James Thomas, Gabe Mervine (The Motet), and more. Renowned screen print artist Timothy Doyle (Muse, The Black Keys, Lucas Films, NASA) created the stunning cover art and Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer David Glasser rounds out the production team. This is Head for the Hills at their most artistically fulfilled: self-produced and in top form. Blue Ruin is more than just a “bluegrass” record—it’s a Head for the Hills record.

A quintessentially Colorado band, Head for the Hills has been fortunate to work with many of the area greats, starting with Grammy Award winning Dobroist Sally Van Meter, producer of 2007’s Robber’s Roost. LegacyColoradomusician and Leftover Salmon mandolin player Drew Emmitt came in to produce 2010’s Head for the Hills. The list goes on, with a bevy of talent from Colorado and beyond surrounding 2010’s Head for the Hills; including Grammy Award winning mixing engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, The Raconteurs), technical wizard and Pink Floyd re-master engineer Gus Skinas, Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), Kyle James Hauser (Sonablast! Recording Artist) and keyboardist James Thomas, with String Cheese Incident guitarist andColoradomainstay Billy Nershi rounding out the lineup as studio host and collaborator. In 2012 Head for the Hills released their first live record (Live). Captured in high fidelity sound & culled from 5 great nights inColorado, Live is just that; the band live and unadorned, performing favorite original material and select covers.

Here are a few of the things people all over the country have been saying about Head for the Hills: “Cutting edge. Listeners will fully enjoy this unique sound,” Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon); “Head for the Hills possesses that secret ingredient,” Ryan Dembinsky (Glide Magazine, Hidden Track); “Critics Picks-What we think you should hear at SxSW,” (Austin Statesman/360.com); “Summer Stars” (Relix Magazine); “Fiery and precise – what modern bluegrass should be,” City Weekly (Salt Lake City, UT); “A very modern indie rock approach to bluegrass,” Daily Herald (Provo, UT); “Colorado Neo-bluegrassers Head for the Hills combine old and new and carry the torch for a new generation,” Ryan Heinsius (Flagstaff Live); “Rising stars of the acoustic string scene,” (BluegrassLA); “The band is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with many of their predecessors, and in the process creating their chapter in the ever-continuing story of bluegrass,” (Marquee Magazine); “Reshaping the genre as a whole,” Sam Sanborn (Oregon Music News); “The name Head for the Hills connotes hightailing it, running away. Yeah right. From the growing crowd of fans in hot pursuit,” Susan Viebrock (Telluride Inside & Out); “Supremely satisfying,” Eric Podolsky (Jambase.com).