Trigger Hippy fires back with a soul-rock bullseye

Trigger Hippy’s “Full Circle & Then Some” comes out Friday, Oct. 11.

I love bands that bring a melting pot of styles to the table to generate a sound all their own. The Nashville-based band Trigger Hippy exemplifies that aesthetic. This is one of the most anticipated listens (to review) of the year for me. Trigger Hippy is back with “Full Circle & Then Some,” available in your virtual and analog record stores as of Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

The Trigger Hippy story is unorthodox, but genuine and interesting. The band is the brainchild of longtime Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman, and Nashville-based bass player and songwriting extraordinaire Nick Govrik. When Gorman and Govrik jammed with former Crowes guitarist Audley Freed in the mid-2000s, they all conspired to start a band.

I don’t know of many bands founded by the rhythm section, where the frontline can get switched out and the results are steady-as-she-goes, a continuation of the spirit of the band without missing a beat.”

Trigger Hippy has had several incarnations over the years, with its lineups including Freed, Jimmy Herring, Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene, Tom Bukovac and Will Kimbrough. Trigger Hippy’s self-titled debut was released in 2014, and featured Greene, Bukovac and Osborne throughout. However, that lineup didn’t last. The new and reformed lineup includes singer/saxophonist Amber Woodhouse and Band of Heathens guitarist and vocalist Ed Jurdi.

The new lineup is excellent, and the results are right in line with the previous album’s efforts, which I already thought might be the best record by a Black Crowes band member in this millennium. Jurdi and Woodhouse scratch all the same itches that Greene and Osborne provided vocally, along with Jurdi’s exceptionally precise guitar playing, coupled with Govrik’s rock ‘n’ soul songwriting and Gorman’s best-of-the-modern-era deep pocket rock backbeat.

Jurdi and Woodhouse sound, feel and vibe like Greene and Osborne, but it doesn’t seem like a knock off at all. Still feeling fresh and exuberant, it is a testament to the care taken with these songs, along with the recording and production process — and the new chemistry of the current ensemble. I don’t know of many bands founded by the rhythm section, where the frontline can get switched out and the results are steady-as-she-goes, a continuation of the spirit of the band without missing a beat.

On to the music. “Don’t Wanna Bring You Down” trades vocals between all the singers and feels like things never left off from 2014. “The Butcher’s Daughter” is supremely catchy, with Jurdi stepping out vocally over a funk rock groove and climbing melodic chorus. There is a killer bridge tempo change that is totally unexpected and pulls you in, with the main groove coming back in full force. Really well executed. “Born To Be Blue” showcases Woodhouse on another dance-floor-friendly toe-tapping number.

Other highlights – title track “Full Circle And Then Some” is sublime blues/rock riffing, coupled with Woodhouse having my ear make a double-take for Joan Osborne on vocals. Jurdi is on my new favorite guitarist list. I like him in this band more than Jackie Greene, and I like Jackie a lot. “Goddamn Hurricane” brings you intimately to the South, but also is a little reminiscent of Jet’s “Move On” from their debut album “Get Born” in 2003. These are all good things. “One Of Them” is just plain fun.

I could go on and on because the record is so strong. But if you’re looking for rock and roll, soul, R&B, or just some damn good new music, go get “Full Circle & Then Some” by Trigger Hippy. Then go see a show. These guys (and gal) are telling the truth. You’re guaranteed to have a natural ball.

— Jon Siembieda

  • Trigger Hippy
    ‘Don’t Wanna Bring You Down’
    Release: Oct, 11, 2019

About Jon Siembieda

Writer Jon Siembieda plays guitar in the Southern California-based touring rock 'n' roll band Hunter & The Dirty Jacks. He is an avid concertgoer and album collector. His top five favorite bands are The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Faces, Mother Hips and Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

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