Hot Buttered Rum takes the stage in Frisco
IF YOU GO
What: Hot Buttered Rum
When: Saturday, March 5
Where: The Barkley Ballroom, 610 Main St., Frisco
Cost: $10-$15, can be purchased at barkleyballroom.com
As a band that has been together since 2001, Hot Buttered Rum continues to progress as a band and in their sound as music and the way it is consumed has evolved. Their most recent project, a collection of three five-song EPs, reflects the way the band is changing with the times when it comes to the production of their progressive bluegrass music.
Hot Buttered Rum spent the past year recording the EPs with three different producers, bringing a unique aspect to each release. The band members wanted to work with each of the three producers, and it gave them a way to try three different approaches, rather than just create one album, said Erik Yates, banjo player for Hot Buttered Rum.
“We feel like as a band we have a lot of musical sides to express,” he said.
Hot Buttered Rum will throw down on Saturday, March 5, bringing their West Coast bluegrass to The Barkley Ballroom stage in Frisco. Bonfire Dub will open the set.
The first EP “The Kite and the Key Part 1,” was recorded with Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone and was released in late 2015. It was followed by “The Kite and the Key Part 2,” in February, a collection of old-school bluegrass standards by the Stanley Brothers, recorded and produced by Sally Van Meter. The third and final EP of the set is expected to be released in March, Yates said, recorded and produced with String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth, “a great keyboard player and pretty expansive musical thinker.”
The third EP release has been described as “late-night throwdown music,” and Yates said it has the loosest playing on it. Hollingsworth pushed the band to just keep playing and not worry about making it perfect all the time.
“A lot of times that’s what a good producer will do — push the band to get that feeling down on tape even if they are stressing out about notes,” Yates said. “The feeling is the thing.”
So far, the two EPs have only been released digitally, and the launch of the last of the set will coincide with the release of a full disc that includes all tracks. Yates said their decision to release the songs digitally before hard-copy format mirrors the way people consume music now — creating playlists with a variety of music rather than listening to a full album at once.
“Why should we feel constrained to make a 12-song album?” he said.
Hot Buttered Rum used crowd-source funding to fuel the three-EP project on pledgemusic.com, evolving with the industry by utilizing new ways to fund their newest musical endeavor before even entering the recording studio.
“People buy so many fewer physical copies,” Yates said.
The crowd funding helped facilitate production, and Yates said it was a very successful campaign. It gave fans a way to be involved and support their music, and some of the benefits they offered to contributors were a one-hour music lesson with a member of the band, VIP concert access, downloads and signed CDs. A couple of the higher-priced pledges included a tour of San Francisco with several members of the band or an intimate concert at a contributor’s house.
The band just returned from an industry conference hosted by Folk Alliance International, which showcased a variety of folk singers and bands from a variety of genres including bluegrass, blues, roots and world music. Hot Buttered Rum did around 10 showcases in three days, Yates said, and also had a chance to view the work of other talented musicians.
“It’s a really good time for music fans,” he said.
With a stacked tour schedule set for the spring, Hot Buttered Rum has several Colorado tour dates before finishing the state in Frisco on Saturday and heading to Oregon later in March. Yates said he is looking forward to playing in the snow and onstage in the mountains. The band has more Facebook fans from Colorado than their home state of California, he said, and Colorado has been one of their best places to perform live. One of the things that keeps them going year after year is not only the joy of making music, but also the “folks who come out and see us play.”
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