The Hollisters Reviewed
Sweet Inspiration (HighTone)It's a crime that petroleum, rocketry, and recently, horrifically low-budget furniture commercials on Conan O'Brien dominate people's perceptions of Houston, because like Austin, it's always been a music town. Stir in all those transplanted Cajuns tossing shrimp nets in Galveston Bay, and for the legion of Bubbas fitting valves in Deer Park and Channelview, plenty of country from Starday records to Clint Black and Rodney Crowell, and Houston's musical legacy is arguably as important as that of Memphis or New Orleans -- though certainly less recognized. The next chapter belongs to outfits like the Hollisters, and their sophomore release Sweet Inspiration finds the twangy quartet hashing through various Space City styles with understated aplomb. If their pervasive inspiration continues to be John R. Cash ("Thrill of the Ride," "Two Trains"), there are also several instances of bayou boys going native. Champ Hood's Cajun fiddle cranks up "Fishin' Man" like a frisky Evinrude, and "Sugarland Express" revisits the same bluesy cane fields where Leadbelly paid his debt to society. Ted Roddy's "Love Rustler" winks by on vintage Ikette background vocals from Austin's Tiffanny & the Gospel Motions, while a suitably humid rendition of Eddie Noack's "Walk 'em Off" will surely inspire an orbit or two around the Fabulous Satellite Lounge. Though the album isn't up to the same level of ragged barroom abandon as Slobberbone, Split Lip Rayfield, or the Ex-Husbands, it's a healthy slaw of Southern soul nonetheless -- proof there's still a lot more going on down Houston way than cancer research and traffic jams.