Formed in 2009 and currently an eight-piece, Wild By The Side Of The Road is Police Dog Hogan’s fourth album and firmly consolidates their growing reputation for infectiously punchy folk rock shaded with elements of country and bluegrass.
Fronted by lyricist James Studholme and with banjo and mandolin provided by Tim Dowling and Tim Jepson, they have established themselves as festival regulars, guaranteed to get the crowd jumping with their rollicking, bouncy melodies. And they’re much in evidence here, kicking off with ‘Tyburn Jig’, clattering rim percussion driving a bouncy song about being hung and swiftly followed by the jaunty countrified and brassed up ‘Dixie’, about a doomed romance with a country fan in Birmingham, the saloon piano and fiddle driven clopalong ‘In The Country, a paean to the rural Devonshire life, and the rousing bluesy stomp ‘Black Road’ with its lively accordion, trumpet-heavy and what sounds a like touch of Jew’s harp.
Of course, this is only one side of the band, they’re equally adept at quieter, more thoughtful and reflective balladry. ‘Devon Brigade’ is a case in point, a first person narrative about a young lad fighting in the Great War as part of the Devonshire Regiment, its melancholic underscored by the cooking horal backing and strings. The same holds true for ‘Tomorrow’s Boys’, a more uptempo foot-tapping strum about how yesterday’s dreams never materialised, the trumpet-haunted disillusionment of ‘All You Know About Love’ and, swathed in violins and cello, the moodily atmospheric traditional flavours of the lyrically dark ‘Our Lady Of The Snows’.
Their bluegrass inclinations can be heard on the wryly retrospective, banjo-led ‘The One On The Left’ (its percussion intro reminding me of the start to ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town’) while, with its lap steel, Hammond, trumpet and circling percussive rhythm ‘Let My Spirit Rise’, is bathes in the waters of Southern soul gospel.
The album closes with two numbers that deftly lay out their main two approaches, the romping bluegrass musician’s perspective hoedown ‘East Nashville Back Porch Fix’ and, built around a circling drum pattern and fiddle, the five-minute ‘Fare You Well’, Studholme’s Celtic-tinted anthemic adieu to Cornwall, complete with a namecheck for the Pier House Hotel overlooking Charlestown harbor, and its brief instrumental coda.
They’re out on the road from February 22 until the end of April, I suggest you scour the hedgerows to find a gig blooming near you.
If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the POLICE DOG HOGAN – Wild By The Side Of The Road link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.
Police Dog Hogan release their new album Wild By The Side Of The Road on Major Tom Records on Friday 17th February. The official launch gig will take place at Nell’s Jazz and Blues Club in West London on 22 February and will be followed by an extensive tour throughout February, March and April to promote the album.
Driving country-rock rhythms and a distinctive Americana vibe underpin lead singer James Studholme’s lyrics, in this collection of stories and personal observations. The collective musical skills of the band have been used to full effect to create an album that delivers on both interpretation and atmosphere.
Police Dog Hogan, first formed in 2009, has evolved over the years into a tight-knit eight-piece band combining guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, accordion, trumpet, keyboards, bass and drums to create an exuberant fusing of country, pop, folk and rocking bluegrass.
In 2014 Police Dog Hogan were one of only three UK bands invited to Nashville to perform at the prestigious Americana Music Association Awards, where DJ Bob Harris – in town for the awards – snapped them up for a recording that has become one of the most-watched YouTube videos on his Under The Apple Tree Sessions channel. In 2015 they made a showcase appearance on Harris’s Radio 2 show.
The band has repeatedly been offered headline and other spots on the main stages of numerous key festivals – among many others, they have been asked back an unprecedented three times to Larmer Tree, twice to Kendal Calling and Port Eliot, and three times to Cornbury. In 2016 they appeared at Glastonbury for the first time, on the Avalon stage.
The band regularly plays to sell-out audiences up and down the country. After more than 300 live shows they’ve become a serious and ambitious musical venture that marries a devotion to touring and the presentation of consummate live performances with an utter dedication to song writing and recording.
If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Police Dog Hogan link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.