A “hopper” is a container for a bulk material such as grain, and barley just so happens to be a grain. Place these two words next to each other, they go beyond their literal grainy meanings and create the title of a band that has been said to “burn up” stages playing an infectious country, rockabilly, and a rock ‘n’ roll style of music.
The Barley Hoppers, Stan Kozlowski on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ray Reniere on lead guitar and backing vocals, and Mike Volatile on Upright Bass deliver their red-hot bluegrass styling on their self-titled album. Produced by Joe Moody at Danger Multitrack Records in Providence, the compilation is a short and sweet twelve track album with only a single song breaking three minutes. However short the tracks may be each one delivers two-stepping tunes that make sitting still nearly impossible. Much of the album offers upbeat foot-tappers, apart from the track “Lonesome Train” which slows things down and shows a softer side of the Barley Hoppers.
Other instruments used in the album include a fiddle, a steel guitar, a harp, a snare drum, and a banana box (yes, a banana box). In contrast to the large repertoire of instruments, the Barley Hoppers lyrics stay simple, yet catchy and cleverly written with lines like, “Well I’m hardly ever broke, but I’m usually always spent, when it comes to lovin’, baby I don’t need a cent” from the third track “Servant of Love”.
Despite their Providence roots, listening to the Barley Hopper’s CD is like traveling through time and space, into the late ‘50s southern music scene during the early days of Johnny Cash and The Tennessee From the beginning of the album the band’s opening track “Ridin’ with My Baby” written by Reniere, exemplifies their instrumental talents and sets the tone for the tracks that follow. Catch the bluegrass party around through the rest of July…
Uncle Ronnie’s Red Tavern, Harrisville – July 18th @ 9:00pm
Duffy’s Tavern, North Kingstown – July 20th @ 8:00pm
Foster Center, Foster – July 27th @ 3:00pm
The Stadium Pub, Cranston – July 30th @ 7:00pm