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Head For The Hills: Creating Potions And Poisons

Photo Credit: Conrad Meye
Photo Credit: Conrad Meye

“There’s no reinvention of the wheel here,” says the band Head for the Hills of their newest album “Potions and Poisons.” Instead, says one reviewer, the work builds “a little world of sound from the detritus of Bluegrass, jazz, hip hop, folk, and soul.”

True to their name, the group has taken that original mix to the hills and beyond–to the lowlands too, including such prestigious venues as Telluride, SXSW, RockyGrass, FloydFest, High Sierra, and more. The style has been called “Colorado based postmodern,” which “in the tradition of Bluegrass, soul, and folk, delivers some bitter pills, but the ten new songs are more than a survey of the human condition.” Hence, potions to go with the pills.

Or as the band adds, “the darker side of love, lust, and life, an examination of affinity for and aversion to the things that make us fragile but human.”

‘”Fragile but human” shines from some of the titles of the new album’s song list: “Afraid of the Dark, “Suit and Tie,” “Give Me a Reason,” “Floodwaters,” and “Bitter Black Coffee.” Appropriately, with the work’s personal focus, the album was recorded at their home studio by engineer Aaron Youngberg.

Westworld Magazine named them Best Bluegrass in Colorado, a fitting cherry on top of the hill for a group that’s seen more than a decade on the road, hundreds of performance, and thousand of miles. Not to mention four independent albums along the way.

All in all, the band says, “we’re at our absolute peak, firing on all cylinders.”

And with a new mandolin player besides.

Some of the group’s absolute peak has been highlighted on such aural avenues as NPR’s IdeaStream and eTown, chartered on the CMJ Top 200, and featured by CMI–which called their song “Blue Ruin” “an effortlessly match of integrity against innovation.”

Not to mention Glide Magazine’s plaudit by Ryan Dembinsky that sums it all up best: “Head for the Hills possesses that secret ingredient.”

Something tells an eager listener that there are two secret ingredients: partly potion and partly poison, and it’ll be mixed in high-flying measure when Head for the Hills heads up the mountain for this year’s Beartrap Musical Festival.

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