HOGJAW - ‘Rise to the Mountains’

DAN SOUTHALL
 

Quite how Hogjaw have escaped my attention is an absolute mystery to me. They are everything that is currently cool about the New Wave of Classic Rock. A proper modern twist on an old school concept. They couldn’t be further up my street if they were parked outside my house waving their guitars about.

 

Hailing from Arizona and describing themselves as “Four fingers folded into a fist!” JB Jones (vocals and guitar), Jimmy Rose (lead guitar), Elvis DD (bass) & Kwall (drums) deliver “Hard-hitting southern fried electric rock” (and I am a huge fan of Southern Fried things).
 

Their influences are very obvious in places; Free, Rainbow, Cream and Whitesnake are the ones they wear with pride. There is a definite classic thing there, right down to the production, which is perfect for the band, but extremely natural sounding. 

 

The band are about to embark on their first tour across the pond in Europe, and have re-issued their 2015 album Rise to the Mountains in order to introduce people to what they’re all about.

 

On the strength of it, if you’re in to the NWOCR movement in the UK, you’d do well to get yourself out to their shows as ‘Rise to the Mountains’ is a raucous collection of rock tunes that are absolutely guaranteed to have your head bobbin’ and your foot a’ stompin’.

 

Opener ‘Rise to the Mountain’ is a 7 minute trip through a lesson in how to write classic rock ‘n’ roll. Guitar tones are bluesy and twangy in equal measure, there is some inventive drumming from KWall and in JB Jones, they have a frontman with a voice perfect for what they’re achieving.

 

‘Leavin’ Out The Backside’ is next up, and deals in a good dose of bluesy country rock. It isn’t cheesy, it’s just very well written, right down to the Thin Lizzy inspired harmony work towards the end of the song. Mr Lynott would have been proud!

 

‘Over For You Know It’ swings in with a heady dancy riff, conjuring memories of proper 80’s dance shows. You can almost see the ladies with the big frilly dresses waving around as they celebrate their high school prom (yes, I’m talking the final 30 minutes of the first Back to Future film here, but this tune just reminds me of how the cast dance during Marty McFly’s rendition of “Johnny B Goode”). The musicianship is great, the simple chorus is catchy and the hooks are everywhere.

 

‘Where Have You Gone’ is more of the same, before we’re treated to Hogjaw’s softer side with ‘I Will Remain’ which has more than a faint whiff of ‘Hotel California’ about it. 8 and a half minutes long, it spends the first 5 minutes building to a great solo from Jimmy Rose, before picking up the pace a little bit and then bringing it right back down again. A classic rock structure to a quality tune.

 

‘Fire, Fuel and Air’ is back in the bluesy rock mould, ‘Another Day’ has a modern swagger about it and ‘Second to None’, with the “whoa’s” for the crowd to sing along to in the chorus, all keep the pace moving nicely. There is nothing to be bored of here. The guitar work is very tasteful whilst still showing off great musicianship and song writing.
 

And that’s the key to all of this. This isn’t a rip off; it isn’t a copycat album from the 80’s bought forward in time. It’s different and creative and fun to listen to as demonstrated by ‘The Smoker’ which gives us our final taste of bouncy rock before album closer ‘Grey Skies’ with its sultry acoustic styles, beautiful slide guitar and deep vocal melodies which sees Hogjaw unveil their quiet side.
 

America has been churning out hard rock band after hard rock band for a fair few years now. They also have a vibrant and powerful Country scene over there as well, with artists regularly invading the music charts. But what Hogjaw offer is a welcome break from all that.

It’s southern influenced, bluesy inspired, country laden, swinging rock ‘n’ roll.

 

And I reckon we all got time for a lil’ bit o’ that in our lives!

 

‘Rise to the Mountain’ Track list:

Rise to the Mountain

Leavin’ out the Backside

Over For You Know It

Where Have You Gone

I Will Remain

Fire, Fuel & Air

Another Day

Second to None

The Smoker

Grey Skies

Hogjaw Website - http://hogjawmusic.com/

Hogjaw Facebook - https://en-gb.facebook.com/Hogjaw/

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