NEW CD !!! Midnight on the Trail, out February 9, 2016
The Hot Club of Cowtown’s new album “Midnight on the Trail” is a vintage mix of 12 Western swing songs and cowboy ballads hand-collected to reflect the spirit and joy of the American West. Utterly danceable, romantic and rustic, these songs truly represent the Cowtown of the Imagination, a source of inspiration for the band since it first began.
Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, Hot Club of Cowtown's star has continued to rise as its reputation for jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band's global brand. Lauded for its "down-home melodies and exuberant improvisation" (The Times, London), the Hot Club has always woven a combination of seemingly disparate styles together to its own magical effect, setting up camp "at that crossroads where country meets jazz and chases the blues away" (The Independent), and "conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time" (New York Times). The band's musical alchemy has been described as "another breathless journey in the Texas tardis" (The Times, London), while American Songwriter observed that "The excellent three players of this band could be doing anything but have chosen to honor the greats of jazz and swing with their sound." The Belfast Telegraph calls them "a pretty much perfect country trio at the very top of their game," while the New York Times, reviewing a live performance in New York City in 2011, describes the trio as armed with "an arsenal full of technique and joy."
Along with the Hot Club's dedicated cult following worldwide — they have toured for the U.S. State Department as musical ambassadors to Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Republic of Georgia and the Sultanate of Oman — certain titans of the industry have also taken notice. Bob Dylan, with whom the band toured and with whom James has toured and recorded, is a continuing inspiration. The Hot Club has opened several shows for Willie Nelson, toured with Nelson and Dylan during a summer-long stadium tour, and recently opened seven nights of Roxy Music's sold-out "For Your Pleasure" U.K. stadium tour in early 2011. In the U.K. the Hot Club of Cowtown continues to tour extensively and has been featured at the Glastonbury Festival and has also been a returning guest on Later With Jools Holland, the Cambridge Folk Festival, and BBC Radio 2's Radcliffe and Maconie and Bob Harris Country shows.
EARLY YEARS & DISCOGRAPHY
In 1994 in New York City, Elana James placed an ad in the music section of the Village Voice looking to join a band, and Whit Smith answered it. Since then the music these two have made has always been a secret brew of energy, joie de vivre, and a respect for tradition that is often imitated but never equaled. By 1997, after founding a much larger Western swing orchestra in NYC, Elana and Whit pared back down to their essential elements and the duo that began as "Whit & Elana" grew — with the addition of a bass player and a lot of optimism and naïveté — into Hot Club of Cowtown. The trio moved to Austin, Texas, and released its first album, Swingin' Stampede, in 1998 after signing with American roots label HighTone Records. Tall Tales (1999) and Dev'lish Mary (2000) soon followed, but it wasn't until 2001 that the band's lineup solidified with the arrival of bassist Jake Erwin, who cemented Hot Club's larger-than-life, earth-shaking rhythmic foundation. Ghost Train (2002) showcased a significant shift toward original songwriting and Continental Stomp (2003) is a live testament to the thundering authority of the band in concert and proof positive that it remains one of roots music's most formidable touring acts. In 2008 American label Shout Factory released a 20-track Best Of retrospective, followed by another critically-acclaimed album of largely original material, Wishful Thinking (2009), and, in 2011, a collection of Western swing standards made famous by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, What Makes Bob Holler (Proper).
With the release of Rendezvous in Rhythm (2013), Hot Club of Cowtown invited us to join in once again on a journey through its musical inspirations, where the campfire is still burning, but this time the lights of Paris twinkle in the distance, the Gypsy caravans are gathered round, and the night air is filled with magic and romance.