Country music, meet your saviors. The new project of Minders keyboardist and sometime-drummer Rebecca Cole, Hungry Holler is keeping the sadly eroded genre real by playing actual country—you know, the kind rooted more in blues, folk and gospel than blonde hair dye, truck commercials and Top 40 singles.
Joined by drummer-about-town Joe Kincher and occasional Minders guitar fill-in Jacob Balcom, as well as Cliff Dibelka and Seth Garon, Hungry Holler delivers real country tunes with real country attitude. At a recent show, Cole apparently strutted around the Bagdad's stage clad in red-and-white checks, crooning Loretta Lynn's "Fist City" with all the sass and attitude of its maker (hear it live on the band's MySpace).
And this take on Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie" pays proper homage with bonafide chops (check that guitar solo!) and a decidedly Portland garage-rock vibe. Amid healthy does of dirtied-up honky tonk piano and a rad, wahed-out funk guitar, Cole turns her Kentucky-bred Southern charm on full, delivering Nelson's lines with a tinge of twang and natural, lazy-ass cadence. If Minders shows ever left you wishing for more of Cole's sweet, smooth voice, Hungry Holler's got it in droves. And it's delivering a message modern country listeners—and, more particularly, artists—oughta embrace: "Can't make a record if you ain't got nothin' to say."
Photo: from the band's MySpace.