Eugene Weekly : Music : 9.29.11


Hick Hop Anonymous

It may be uncommon for members of the hip hop generation to take off into the backwoods, bumping four-four drumbeats through the speakers and sending rhymed verse into a rural subculture vastly different from their own. But things are a bit different now — hip hop has reached the hill country. Some call this new sound “hick hop.”

Okay, so maybe the blending of country, rap and rock won’t change anything in the boonies. But it’s certainly added to the ever-changing post-everything modern music scene, where booking agents and promo-sharks look to tag and sell genre-mixing bands. 

Rehab, the Georgia-based band many associate with the label “hick hop,” doesn’t think the term is applicable. 

“Hip hop doesn’t need a different name,” says Rehab vocalist Demun Jones. “Hip hop is hip hop, no matter if a white boy is doin’ it, a black boy is doin’ it, or a Chinese or Japanese boy is doin’ it.” 

Rehab, a band with roots similar to those of Cowboy Troy, is taking the genre of “alternative” hip hop one step further, by mixing a twangy country aesthetic with hip hop drums and vocals. But the band isn’t too stoked on the idea of being labeled as “alternative” either.

“I guess if you’re white and you make hip hop, it’s called alternative hip hop, unless you’re rappin’ about raping your momma or killin’ your wife,” Jones says, indirectly referencing the work of Detroit rapper Eminem. “We could do that, but we just don’t want to.”

 True to the band’s name, founding members Danny Boone and Brooks Buford met shortly after being in rehabilitation for addictive substances. Now current members Danny Alexander (vocals), Miles Hartnett (guitar), Hano Leathers (bass), Chris Hood (drums), Foz (guitar), Demun Jones (vocals), Lamar Williams Jr. (vocals) and DJ Chris Crisis are gigging hard out of the Deep South. With influences like Run DMC and NWA, albums with titles like Southern Discomfort and a whole lot of attitude, Rehab has opened for Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker and more. Look to see them step to the mic and strum guitar with the talent and charisma they’re known for.

 Rehab plays 9 pm Thursday, Sept. 29, at Whiskey River Ranch; $20-$40. — Dante Zuñiga-West

Legalized Marley

When you think of Woody Harrelson, you probably picture him slinging beers with Ted Danson or in that scene from The People vs. Larry Flynt in which he hauls a terrifyingly dead Courtney Love out of a bathtub. Point being, Harrelson doesn’t exactly reek of dreadlocks and reggae — until now. 

The title track on Ziggy Marley’s new album, Wild and Free, features vocals by Harrelson and speaks to the virtues of legalizing marijuana. Suddenly, the reggae-to-Harrelson circuit makes sense. 

Wild and Free, Marley’s fourth studio release, features a dozen extremely listenable tunes that cover an array of topics. Most of the tracks offer strong views on political and social matters, but Marley’s laid-back vocals make otherwise heavy-handed messages easier to swallow. “Mmmm Mmmm” leans heavily toward gospel, with a chorus made up exclusively of strung together Ms — it’s the kind of song Campbell’s Soup would kill for. But seriously, the soulful ambiguity of the chorus breaks up the less-than-ambiguous verses and leaves room for real listener interpretation. 

“Welcome to the World” and “Changes” make the album a family affair. The former song literally welcomes Marley’s newborn son, Abraham Selassie Robert Nesta Marley, into the world, and the latter features vocals from his eldest son, Daniel. Marley’s wife acted as executive producer on the album and Marley’s stoically smooth vocals glide through the funky electric organs and jingling tambourines, always reminiscent of his father, Bob Marley. 

Marley’s rolling reggae sound on Wild and Free is catchy and relaxing enough that it might not even matter if you agree with the lyrics. Plus, the man has created a comic book superhero called Marijuanaman. Enough said. If you’re into swaying melodies, trance-like beats and don’t mind the sweet smell of sensi, be sure to hit up Ziggy this time around.

Ziggy Marley plays 7 pm Sunday, Oct. 2, at McDonald Theatre; $25-$30. — Natalie Horner

Wild Visitation

Homemade vegetarian chili, sack races, bonfires and beer — it is the perfect ambience for the Conjugal Visitors. Cascadia Wildlands’ 9th-annual Ancient Forest Hoedown will be in full effect with music and events, as well as sponsorship by Eugene’s premier beer-makers, Ninkasi Brewing. This is not a shindig you want to miss. If need be, you can even catch a bus from the Eugene Growers Market at the downtown train station at 5:15 pm — if you reserve your seat in time. 

The Conjugal Visitors are knee-slapping boot-thumping bluegrass and blues, with a sound that echoes through warm(ish) summer nights impeccably. Reverend Jesse Lawton (vocals, mandolin), M.D. “Moz” Elsworth (guitar, vocals), Brien “Bobo” McMullen (upright bass) and Chip “Professor Horsehair” Cohen (vocals, fiddle) will be adding the acoustics to a wild evening of events in celebration of conservation.

“This is a memorable opportunity to connect with the community, kick up your heels and directly support the conservation work of Cascadia Wildlands,” says operations manager Sally Cummings.

A “kid zone,” for younger music, food and forest lovers to hang out in while enjoying the festivities will also be on site.    

Conjugal Visitors play the 9th-annual Ancient Forest Hoedown 6 pm Saturday, Oct. 1, at Avalon Stables in Cottage Grove. Go to for details; $20 adv., $25 door, kids 12 and under free. — Dante Zuñiga-West 

Last Chance to Stomp?

Photo by Trask Bedortha

If the two men with buckets, banjos and duct tape who make up Hillstomp play their swan song, then I hope it will be “Lay Down Satan.” The Portland-based punkabilly, blues, stomp duo is bringing their distinctive do-it-yourself high-energy show to Sam Bond’s and it might be your last chance to see this rambunctious Northwest twist on Americana for a long time, or ever. 

Hillstomp’s sound comes from slide guitar, vintage mics and the old blues tradition of using “found instruments.” One minute they’re sitting down playing a hypnotic trance blues piece and the next they’re on their feet hollering out something that sounds like gospel gone dirty while banging on a washboard with spoons. A typical Hillstomp show has everyone dancing, sweating and screaming out the lyrics — whether they know them or not. Think blues gone berserk. 

Hillstomp’s Henry Kammerer (Hurricane Henry on guitar and banjo) and John Johnson (Lord Johnny Buckets on drums and, well, buckets) say they are taking a break for a while, and if you missed their packed set at John Henry’s during the Eugene Celebration then you don’t want to miss this show. Go to for pics and clips from their previous Eugene performance.

 Hillstomp w/McDougal play 9 pm Friday, Sept. 30, at Sam Bond’s Garage; $10. — Camilla Mortensen




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