They’ve been at rock n’ roll war on Bombs (2006). They’ve been at war with themselves on “Good Sons”(2007). Now, Hollus rediscovers America with their most coherent release yet, “Joker And The Queen.” Playing like a soundtrack to an American road trip, Hollus goes east to west, blending heartfelt backwoods Country, raw Southern Blues, and a western forward motion and honesty to their storytelling that has fans raving. Enlisting veteran bluesmen Tod Bowers (bass) and Jeff Massey (slide guitar) from The Steepwater Band, and mixing guidance from Kerry Kelekovich (Robbie Fulks, Cath Carroll), Hollus has made a record that spans the gamut of truly American music.
Hollus is the product of guitar player and lead songwriter Michael Lux-Sauer, who started the group as a solo project under the same name in 2001. Calling on Quiet Melon vocalist and friend Jamison Acker, they began penning songs with the intention of smashing the apathy and mediocrity of what was being heard in the rock scene at the time. Once drummer Matthew "Bones" Perryman and bassist Sean Blythe were added a week later, it was apparent that this was not Lux's group, but a completely focused unit of musicians working together.
It was clear by the time that Hollus went into the recording studio six months after their birth, that their fusion of 60's psychedelia, raw rock n roll, sweet blues and glitter glam, reminescent of groups as diverse as The Small Faces to The Stooges, had become something not just transcendent, but something momentus. This moment was “Bombs,”(2006) quickly followed by “Good Sons”(2007).
After taking a short hiatus in 2007 due to losing bass player Sean Blythe, Lux-Sauer ventured to Nashville, Tennessee. Coming home with an enlightened appreciation for old country music and storytelling, Acker and Perryman joined him in their studio to begin tracking. They enlisted Steepwater Band members Tod Bowers and Jeff Massey to collaborate on bass and guitar, and in a few months time, Hollus had completed recording what would be their most diverse and concise record yet, "Joker and the Queen." The record was released in January 09’ and has already garnered acclaim and air play on 93.1 WXRT in Chicago, as well as New York’s 99.7 WJFN, and 103.9 WXRD in Indiana.
On “Joker And The Queen,” Hollus have traded in The Who, T. Rex, and Humble Pie for artists like Gram Parsons, The Band, and The Black Crowes. Songs like “Fever Song,” and “Sweet Lady Rise,” stay true to the band’s 70’s tinged post british invasion roots. “The River,” “Honestman,” and “Joker and the Queen,” take you past places and people that seem to transcend time and space. The perfect pop summation of “Miss Daisy,” and “One More Road,” reminds us that, though Hollus are in perfect sync with their surroundings, they are just passing. Whether that be a torrential storm (“It Won’t Stick”) or serendipitous sunshine (“Krista Lynn”), you know the ultimate destination is worthwhile.
The crowds of people that have come to see Hollus at Chicago landmarks like The Double Door, Martyr’s, and The Cubby Bear all seem to agree that Hollus is the epitome of a live rock n' roll show. Acker's howling shatters the front lines, while Lux's crafted haphazard blues lights up the stage, all in perfect energy with Perryman's loose-cannon, Kenney-Jones-esque drumming. With the addition of lead bass player Colin Mulhern, and Katie Brandt (backing vocals, percussion), Hollus is truly a soulful live powerhouse, whose broad influence facilitates it’s ability to get across to an incredibly diverse amount of people, and this is what they intend to do.