The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank's critically acclaimed 2007 album Sing! will be remembered as a landmark recording in the roots music resurrection happening in Minnesota. The recording is mostly live and raw, the playing sharp and dirty and the songs are as emotional and bold as they are vivid and well crafted. The Hobo Nephews new album Traveling Show (release Sep 1, 2009) is a confident and exciting evolution of the same formula as the road hardened trio of drummer Paul Grill and the brother songwriting team of Ian and Teague Alexy eloquently trace the emotional ups and downs of life on the road over a roller coaster of dirty roadhouse stomps, visceral ballads, rock n' roll burners, country-blues shuffles and most things in between. Most bands lack a strong singer/songwriter with originality or true grit. Hobo Nephews is the rare group that can boast having two songwriters of style and substance.
The Alexy brothers grew up in the New Jersey shore town of Somers Point - the town where Bob Dylan hired The Band before Ian and Teague were born. A simple twist of fate brought them to Dylan's hometown of Duluth, Minnesota where they started the band as a duo in 2005 with a revolving cast of roots musicians helping them celebrate their original songs alongside inspired renditions of Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt and most importantly Woody Guthrie. They did their first tour to the rocky mountains in a Honda Civic hatchback in which they survived the 10,000 foot I-70 mountain pass in the middle of a blizzard.
The lion's share of Traveling Show was recorded in three marathon days at Rough Magic Studios in Brooklyn NY. Marco Benevento – who the All Music Guide calls "an outrageously talented musician" - electrifies three tracks putting his organ, wurlitzer and circuit bent toys in an exciting new Americana context. Pedal steel player Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams and The Cardinals) adds his signature sound to two songs while members of fellow Minnesota roots music troubadours and frequent collaborators Trampled By Turtles add impeccable violin, mandolin and banjo.
Traveling Show will come with a 60 minute film, Moments and Truths, that documents the making of the record in New York City as well as sights, sounds and encounters from all over the country. Directed and edited by filmmaker/photographer Joshua Priestley, and partially shot by the band themselves, Moments And Truths is a uniquely stylized film that captures transient life in a way not previously seen in the banal climate of reality tv-esque band documentaries. It also captures the band at an exciting period as their musicianship, songwriting and musical vision rise to new heights.
“with heavy folk and Bob Dylan influences in the bands work, fans of tremendously played roots music are in for quite a treat.”
- Jeff Schwachter, Atlantic City Weekly
“all manner of backwoods melody driven by chain-gang-workin'-on-the-railroad rhythms…the brothers Alexy excel at channeling that old-timey mono-radio sensation into their modern music.”
- Will McClain, Minneapolis City Pages
“bounces around in rootsy folk and blues territory, with a heavy dose of Dylan and ‘American Beauty’-fied Dead. Teague is more the bluesman of the group while Ian delivers most of the folkier, twangier stuff. Somehow, they strike a perfect balance.”
- Chris Riemenschneider, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Four Stars…of the same breed of songwriters that put folk on the map and I’ll be damned if they haven’t written some of the most beautiful and captivating songs I’ve heard in a long time.”
- Charlie Owen, Vail Daily
“the results are pure gold…a genre buster of epic proportions...an undeniable fact emerges: The Hobo Nephews are the new kings of Highway 61.”
- Matthew R. Perrine, Duluth Budgeteer News