Humming House exude positive energy. This fact can easily be ascertained by listening to any of my records or watching one of their videos, but the band’s hometown celebration of the release of their new album Revelries, this fact was solidified and taken to new heights.
As could be expected at a record release show, the set was heavily loaded with songs from the new album including the show opening, “Fly On (Forever is Better with You)”, and although the album has been out just over a week, it was clear that the fans in attendance were already familiar with the new music as they sang along with just about every song.
The bands sound is a timeless and original mix of bluegrass, soul, and folk music riddled with a healthy dose of fiddle, bass, and mandolin and galvanized by two-pronged vocal onslaught of band leader Justin Wade Tam and Leslie Rodriguez (who joined the band in 2013). The 2013 addition of powerhouse vocalist Rodriquez and top-notch fiddler (and when needed beat boxer) Bobby Chase really took an already great band to new levels.
The band does not have a drummer with Rodriguez providing percussion including the snare drum and bassist Ben Jones doubling on kick drum. This line-up allows the band to stand together, and adds to the intimacy and immediacy of their show. Tam and mandolin player Joshua Wolak provide the much of the lift to the bands stratospheric musical sound.
In addition to the well-received new music, the band also played some of their older songs including the engaging “Cold Chicago” and the celebratory “Gypsy Django”. The band’s choice of covers included Justin Timberlake’s “My Love”, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5, and the choices were spot on as the band made the familiar songs their own.
The first single from the new record, “The Great Divide” closed the set proper and was for me one of the highlights of the show. The song which evokes feelings of expansiveness and the possibilities of a ground breaking journey showed off the band’s growth and set the tone for what should be a limitless future.
Nashville singer Natalie Royal and Knoxville band Cereus Bright provided were both excellent in support.