Hoochie Coochie Men: Big Blue Tree – EP

Coming together as fellow colleagues from the Easton, Pennsylvania-based Lafayette College, the blues-rock quintet Hoochie Coochie Men have established themselves in the local circuit as a group of charming and eccentric individuals who share a common bond of crafting together blissfully simplistic music that appeals to both the body and spirit.

Not to be confused with the well-renowned Australian-based outlet that once featured legendary keyboardist Jon Lord, this younger form delivers an equally passionate blues-influenced folk approach that draws identical comparisons to the likes of Alabama Shakes, The Allman Brothers and Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Throughout the entirety of their debut EP, Big Blue Tree, Hoochie Coochie Men introduce listeners to a wholesome sound that cherishes the blissful heart that comes to life in the Americana folk genre. From the EP’s opening number and title track, “Big Blue Tree,” you cannot help but find yourself infatuated with warm-weather thoughts and blissful sunny afternoons. As the toe-tapping drum stylings of Brian Duke beautifully walks hand-and-hand with Grant Kempski’s basslines, the gritty tone of Zach Gold’s guitar delightfully paints a colorful picture of an open road and a thrilling adventure that is calling out your name.

If you asked yourself, “How could Big Blue Tree get any better?”—just wait until you hear the album’s standalone single, which actually features a serene mash-up of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” and John Lennon’s “Don’t Let Me Down.” By incorporating these two beloved numbers in unison, “I’d Rather Go Blind/Don’t Let Me Down” shines the brightest on Big Blue Tree simply because of the fact that not only does Hoochie Coochie Men tip their hats to both of these influential musicians, but this spontaneously unique and creative number also pays homage to the band’s early origins as a jazz and blues cover band.

Slowing things down just a bit, the soulfully introspective ballad “Living Alone” is a resonating number that struck me the most, as it esthetically reminded me a lot of Colin Hay’s “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You.” While I found myself interested in the desolate lines, “Some days I take my coffee with a little bit of whiskey too/I don’t want you thinking that’s got anything to do with you,” with the intrigue that it might lyrically hint toward a narrative of how the protagonist is coping in the grieving periods of denial, “Living Alone” instills an inspirational message that cherishes solitude and independence from within.

Big Blue Tree is a short, but straightforward EP that satisfies your senses and provides you with a refreshing arrangement of songs that will elegantly reignite your love for the blues. By incorporating a highly exciting angle throughout Big Blue Tree, Hoochie Coochie Men further establish that the youth can also convey just as much soul and compassion into the blues as much as their precursors have instilled in the golden days of this beloved genre.                                                           

In A Word: Delightful