"Their original songs are instantly familiar and inviting." -SF Chronicle
" . . . melds past and present with stunning instrumental and vocal virtuosity." -Relix Magazine
"The band's rich and diverse musical background allows them to infuse a radical newness into the genre" -SF Bay Guardian
Who are these guys? It's tough to sum up quickly (see below for extensive bios), but, in a nutshell, they're a group of onetime casual pickers who, one night at a party in Oakland, California, decided to start devoting their lives to music. Someone else in the kitchen was brewing a batch of Hot Buttered Rum, and the name just stuck. A taste, a texture, a temperature, an intoxication - warms you up and packs a punch.
That's basically what HBRSB is all about. They'll butter your ears up with some sweet, sentimental singing, then flatten them back against your head with a scorching fiddle tune. Jazz, reggae, 80's pop - anything's game for this quintet, but they keep coming back to the well of folk and bluegrass to ground their sounds. Every one of them has a vocal mic, every one writes and contributes to the creative process. They absolutely love what they do, and it shows, both in their recorded and live performances.
"In These Parts," the group's first studio effort, was recorded in the personal studio of engineer Decibel Dave Dennison, renowned for his work on the Garcia/Grisman sessions. An expert with recording and mixing acoustic music, Db Dave was a perfect match for the group. With his expert assistance on all aspects of the production, the band has created an album that will grow with them even as they soar to new heights of musical ecstasy.
Read on for in-depth bios -
Bryan Horne - upright bass and vocals
Whether he's bowing or plucking his strings, Bryan's voice on the bass is a large part of what makes Hot Buttered Rum's music so buttery. Having a bassist who not only centers the groove but also often steps out front to solo makes HBRSB a favorite of bass-heads everywhere. Bryan plays an 19th century upright bass, Dark Chocolate. Or maybe Dark Chocolate plays Bryan. It's sometimes hard to tell who's in charge.
Nat Keefe - guitar and vocals
Nat's panoramic songwriting skills and strong baritone vocals play an important part in defining HBRSB's sound. Inspired at an early age by his musician parents, Nat earned a degree in Music composition/ethnomusicology and traveled to Ghana to learn West Afican music. His diverse musical background and steadfast commitment to both his songwriting and his instrumental chops make him an exciting young guitar player on the rise.
Zachary Matthews - mandolin, fiddle and vocals
Zac began playing mandolin because it fit well in his Sierra backpack. Convenience became passion. Zac's percussive abilities on the instrument anchor HBRSB's characteristic driving sound. He began playing violin at age five, and guitar in high school. His musical collaboration with bassist Bryan Horne began ten years ago in the popular San Diego band Oversoul. He now studies mandolin with Bay Area luminary Radim Zenkl.
Aaron Redner - fiddle, mandolin and vocals
There are few violinists who can play fiddle; there are fewer fiddlers who can play violin. Aaron moves confidently between both worlds. He has studied with revered fiddle masters and at one of the nation's top music schools - the New England Conservatory. To boot, he is also a fine mandolinist and songwriter. The addition of Aaron to the band has added a fifth finger to Hot Buttered Rum's musical hand.
Erik Yates - woodwinds, banjo, accordion and vocals
How does one guy have time to practice all those instruments? Erik began his musical life on the piano at age six. He has since blossomed into a true multi-instrumentalist, playing flute, banjo, clarinet, saxophone, accordion, whistle, piano, and the saxophones. Erik brings his experience with several traditions to Hot Buttered Rum, including jazz, classical, and Irish music - all of which influence his tasty and eclectic songwriting.