11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Named for a character in a Bob Dylan tune, New York City’s Hollis Brown proves itself ready for the big leagues on its debut album. Ride on the Train takes inspiration from Beggars Banquet–era Stones, Tupelo Honey–era Van Morrison, and various phases of The Band, yet it never sounds derivative. Lead singer/songwriter Mike Montali has a gnarly yet tender voice that’s well-matched with Jon Bonilla’s muscular and versatile lead guitar work. Hollis Brown’s songs are full of spiky edges that don’t disguise their strong melodic content. Adding to the band's appeal is the underlying compassion in its lyrics, evident amid the jaunty snarl of “Down on Your Luck,” “Nothing & the Famous Ones," and the title track. Montali gets desperate in “Doghouse Blues” and unleashes a howl of political protest in “Walk on Water,” balancing his ferocity with scruffy love songs like “When the Water’s Warm” and “If It Ain’t Me.” “Gypsy Black Cat” and “Nightfall” carry a hint of gospel, bringing out the life-affirming essence within Hollis Brown’s raw-boned, heartfelt brand of roots rock.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Named for a character in a Bob Dylan tune, New York City’s Hollis Brown proves itself ready for the big leagues on its debut album. Ride on the Train takes inspiration from Beggars Banquet–era Stones, Tupelo Honey–era Van Morrison, and various phases of The Band, yet it never sounds derivative. Lead singer/songwriter Mike Montali has a gnarly yet tender voice that’s well-matched with Jon Bonilla’s muscular and versatile lead guitar work. Hollis Brown’s songs are full of spiky edges that don’t disguise their strong melodic content. Adding to the band's appeal is the underlying compassion in its lyrics, evident amid the jaunty snarl of “Down on Your Luck,” “Nothing & the Famous Ones," and the title track. Montali gets desperate in “Doghouse Blues” and unleashes a howl of political protest in “Walk on Water,” balancing his ferocity with scruffy love songs like “When the Water’s Warm” and “If It Ain’t Me.” “Gypsy Black Cat” and “Nightfall” carry a hint of gospel, bringing out the life-affirming essence within Hollis Brown’s raw-boned, heartfelt brand of roots rock.

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About Hollis Brown

Named after the Bob Dylan song "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," New York City-based Hollis Brown (a band, not a person) play a tight, sparse, rocking version of classic rock, with songs full of melody, pop, country tinges, and an ever-present and slight feel of the blues, all of which gives the best of their songs a timeless feel. Led by the songwriting of Mike Montali (vocals and guitar) and Jon Bonilla (guitar), and with a taut rhythm section of Mike Wosczyk (bass) and Mike Graves (drums and percussion), the band released a debut EP, Nothing & the Famous No One, in 2012, and followed it with a full-length album, Ride on the Train, early in 2013. By the following year, Hollis Brown had settled into a lineup of Montali, Bonilla, Adam Bock (keys), Dillon DeVito (bass), and Andrew Zahnal (drums), and they released Gets Loaded, a rootsy, track-for-track re-imagining of the Velvet Underground's classic 1970 album Loaded. That same year, their song "When the Weather's Warm" was featured in the Matt Dillon-Willem Dafoe crime drama Bad Country. Chasing a bigger sound, they brought in John Agnello to mix their next studio LP, the passionately organic 3 Shots, which arrived on Jullian Records in the spring of 2015. ~ Steve Leggett & Marcy Donelson

ORIGIN
New York, NY
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
2009

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