| Humblin' (Across America) (hac91) Want to conjure up a pop fans' dream band? That's exactly what The Orange Humble Band is. Band leader Darryl Mather (ex-Someloves) has put together an incredible line-up including musical legends - no arguments here! - such as Spooner Oldham (Dan Penn, Aretha Franklin, Neil Young's "Silver and Gold"), Jim Dickinson (producer of Rolling Stones, Alex Chilton) and Jody Stephens (Big Star, Golden Smog drummer). There's also co-producer/mixer Mitch Easter (twiddled the knobs for REM, Pavement), Jamie Hoover (bassplayer for The Spongetones), Anthony Bautovich (The Lonely Hearts) and lead singer Ken Stringfellow.
Ken Stringfellow has many musical hats: a founding member of Seattle's the Posies (makers of the classic album Frosting On The Beater), part of the reconstituted version of Big Star and, over the last couple of years, touring as a member of REM. He recently visited Australia on a well-received solo tour and is concentrating on his most recent band, Saltine. He's also found the time to record with a staggering list of bands (too numerous to mention here!) including as the lead vocalist for the deliciously mysterious Orange Humble Band.
A hot and humid Memphis spring day greets five uniquely gifted musicians converging from all corners of the globe for the recording of the Orange Humble's second major release. The band have chosen the famous Ardent Studios as the appropriate venue for their latest artistic splendour, Humblin' (Across America).
Humblin' is band leader Darryl Mather's vision to create a unique hybrid sound: essentially pop, but coloured with Southern roots-based influences. Consolidating the critically acclaimed first effort, Assorted Creams, Mather's Orange Humble has retained the key nucleus of Ken Stringfellow, Mitch Easter and Anthony Bautovich. To complement the "Pop Roots" vision of the project, Mather chose to recruit legendary Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and Southern pop luminary, bassist Jamie Hoover. In addition to the core band, Mather called upon two of the most respected pianists and Southern rock and rollers in modern American music history, legends Spooner Oldham and Jim Dickinson. Clearly, this is not a record made by a bunch of "first timers". the highlights
Undoubtedly the focus of this record is the magnificent vocal performance of Ken Stringfellow. In an inspiring performance, no doubt his best to date, Stringfellow delivers a gorgeous performance that highlights the soulfulness of the tunes. With outstanding harmony vocal support from Anthony Bautovich, this is absolutely a record for vocal lovers. Other great performances are put forward by the driving rhythm section of Stephens and Hoover, the minimal precision of guitarist Mitch Easter, and the lush acoustic sound of Mather. Finally, the tinkling of Oldham and Dickinson create an authentic southern edge to the whole effort. Humblin' also incorporates some of the hottest brass players in the region. As Mather says, "To fulfill the concept of the album, we needed the integrity and input of the players who understand the Southern music idiom. There was no point going to record this type of record in Memphis if we couldn't call upon the authentic great players of this region".
All in all this is an adventurous and masterful musical journey brought to you by masters of their craft. The overall charm of the record is brought together by the crystalline musical production of Mitch Easter. The dry and natural texture of the sound creates a warm musical atmosphere that ensures Humblinš will endure as a classic.
Embrace Humblin' (Across America) as an experience in which we may listen, enjoy and hopefully learn from.
The album was recorded at the famous Ardent Studio in Memphis. The Orange Humble Band spent an incredible amount of time to create a rich and layered pop masterpiece. In his own words, Ken Stringfellow gives his "best lead vocal performance captured on tape" so far in his career and he loved the microphone used at the sessions so much he bought it off the studio!
the lineup who made Assorted Creams 1996-1997. Missing: Mitch Easter, Ken Stringfellow
The Orange Humble Band's previous releases include the Assorted Creams (Hac67) album released in 1998 and the Down In Your Dreams (Hac 79) cd EP, 1999. Any Way You Want It (Hac89) includes 3 non-LP b-sides (Sleepin' 99, A Dream Of Butterflies, Annie Run Run Run).
Assorted Creams bio:
Formed in early 1995, The Orange Humble Band is the current brain child of respected Lime Spiders and Someloves founder, Darryl Mather.
Consisting of Ken Stringfellow of US outfit the Posies, former Lonely Hearts member, Anthony Bautovich, American indie producer/manager legend, Mitch Easter, and Mather, the quartet have finalised the band's first release deliciously titled Assorted Creams.
band photo Produced by Mather in association with Bautovich & Easter, the quartet presents 15 beautifully crafted pop tunes capturing the joy, sorrow & humour of everyday life. The result is that Assorted Creams is a rollicking yet majestic rock & roll experience highlighted by Mather's melodious songwriting and Easter's glimmering and glazed presentation of the material.
band photo Orange Humble's unique sound arises from Mather's creative synthesis of influences ranging from 60s to 70s pop & rock'n'roll, bluegrass, country, folk & 50s barrelhouse Louisianan R&B. This combined with Mather's pure pop signature style results in an eclectic brew which is delightfully relevant to the 90's and generations beyond.
Surely the peak moment of Orange Humble's debut is the heart wrenching vocal efforts of Ken Stringfellow. Stringfellow's emotional down-the-line performance evokes a mood not often captured in today's musical recordings. Emotions swing constantly from rejoicement to hilarity and downwards to utter despair. Moreover, the combination of Stringfellow's and Bautovich's voices resemble at many times the finest moments of some of pop's greatest vocal combinations.
The arrival of the Orange Humble Band is a refreshing change to the current musical roster so often caught up in technology sampling and harsh one dimensional melodies.