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Sunday, 13 January 2013

He Ain’t Hippy, He is my Boondock

It has been a while since my last post and even I was starting to doubt if I’d ever get around to writing another post on Indie Dunes.

 So many great artists out there who deserve the word to be spread through places like this and the other great blogs I have been reading lately. I just exchanged tweets with Rudeina from in regard to the amount of talent out there in Musicland and how it is a blog writer’s nightmare and dream come true in the same breath. So I thought I better jump back on the horse and whip my butt into gear and help share the load.

Late last year we introduced the Indie Dunes Music Cafe, we called for bands/artists to submit a track so we could play it on our online stream. We were flooded with tracks, we played a lot of new tracks that night, ‘twas a lot of fun. One band stood out to my ears so much I played two tracks.

So here they are, introducing BoonDock Hippy

Boondock Hippy started off as a project of Steve Keenlyside, it quickly became an ensemble of 6 accomplished players, all playing an integral part in creating a rich melody in the tracks. A definite blues/rock feel, with a hint of bluegrass in some tracks.

Steve links the style of his influences really well into his tunes, without being blatantly obvious about it. Dylan and Hendrix are in there, I also hear a link to recent bands like the Happy Mondays in a couple of tracks. Run is one in particular (I played this in the Music Café) It is the track that pricked my ears and made me search for more. 

Boondock Hippy released two full albums worth of quality tracks. The 1st Life in the Slow Lane was released in April and has a distinctly different feel to the November release Dylan’s Gold. The progression of the Hippy in this short space of time is really great to hear.

The opening track on the debut release Life in the Slow Lane really caught my attention and since its January and the Martin Luther King holiday is nearly upon the US, it’s a topical subject. Dr King starts off with an infectious quiet beat, I’m not sure when I became a sucker for great soulful harmonica but this track sucked me in head first. Add influential speech from a highly respected political figure and that’s a perfect opening to an enjoyable experience. I asked Steve, why Dr King?

"There's no doubt that the 60's was an unbelievable era for music, but it was also a time of considerable civil unrest. Perhaps that is why so much seminal music was written at the time, as there was a great desire for change  + writing songs about such issues was a way of getting your voice heard. Dr Martin Luther King, stood tall at all times and never wavered from his goal of equality and peace. His speech on the Vietnam War spread like wild fire into the consciousness of the US, at the time. I felt this speech should be celebrated in a song".

Which led me to question in today’s current climate, who Steve considers worthy of spreading a message in the same manner as M.L.K. With the civil uprising happening throughout the world today, a leader of such standing is needed, or is the world bereft of such a person.

So much was achieved through the efforts and words of such civil rights activists as Dr King (US) and Mandela (SA) during the movement that it requires us now, in 2013 to look at it with a reframed and evolved vision. I think politicians in particular let us down more often than not as they are too eager to maintain the Status quo and "get votes". Therefore, these so called representatives of the people, never come across as being 100% honest. Barack Obama is; in my opinion, the closest politician we have as a compatriot to Dr King. His stance on equality, education, employment for example, all lean into the civil rights agenda. 

If im being honest though I think we have to an increasing look at grassroots level to find people who are really making a difference to civil rights. Volunteers, who are not necessarily in the public eye, but work tirelessly to make a difference in, i.e. countries torn apart by civil war. In particular Charity workers, the unsung heroes who do not expect anything in return, & whom dedicate their lives to making those unequal, equal.

So in the words of Dr King (new version Dr King II) A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus”.

I agree with Steve on this point, this is actually highlighted in the gun reform issue in the US ATM. Even after a momentous win, President Obama is still concerned about upsetting the NRA. Anywayyy

More points to ponder and reflect upon. I better get back to the music, after all it’s a music blog, isn't it amazing how social reform and songs walk hand in hand throughout recent history.

Another track I really enjoy on this first release is Toots Lamally. It’s got a really cool groove going through it. Sounds like an interesting dude does old Toots. The bass in this track gets me thinking of this self-assured character walking down the street, oblivious to what is going on around him. There is a character from my childhood that comes to mind when I listen to this track. I asked Steve about good old Toots. Was he fictional or a real dude?

"Toots is a real guy, although that was his nickname. I met him when I first moved down to London. He was the most eccentric person I've ever met. He used to throw a bucket of ice cold water over himself in the mornings to mentally prepare himself for the day - this was a great man!"

The 2nd release in a year of productivity for the Boondock Hippy was Dylans Gold. This collection of tracks belongs to the soundtrack of a movie Steve has written but not has not made yet. Apparently a really easy collection of tracks to compose I’ll pass you over to Mr Keenlyside

I immediately started writing the accompanying soundtrack after finishing the screenplay. It was actually the easiest bit of writing I've done, as I could picture each scene. This helped setting a mood and feeling for each track. The film is set in Ireland about a greyhound called Dylan's Gold. I am hoping at some point in the near future to make the film, but it’s not top priority at the minute

One question sprung to mind instantly after reading this answer from Steve and it involves the album cover art. A great picture of a man and his Great Dane sitting side by side looking across a vista of mountains. Why a Great Dane when Dylan's Gold is a Greyhound

"That is a very good question and one that I should have a better answer for. The truth is that, I liked the photo; plain and simple. It was more the unique relationship between man and man's best friend I wanted to try and convey".

Its a fantastic album cover and nothing like an honest answer for the right answer ;) 

The album is a great listen with each song obviously telling a story, it doesn’t sound like it was hastily put together. Run is one of the songs Steve sent me originally and its possibly my favourite out of all the Hippy tracks. Very Happy Mondays.

In fact the last 4 songs Run, Mothership, Karma Calling and Rocker to Raver of Dylan’s Gold are a brilliant way to finish this album. Makes me want go back to the start and listen again. That is a great thing in my book!!

So that’s the music of the Boondock Hippy, a very talented group of players, producing great tracks.
 The first tracks I received were not enough to whet my appetite for this band and I searched iTunes to find more. I bought the first album “Life in the Slow Lane” I still remember the conversation that followed the purchase and it’s the deciding factor and inspiration of why Boondock Hippy is my first post for 2013.

Life is about passion and inspiration, feeling happy to be breathing yet another day.  
What comes through from talking to Steve about his music, he shows such passion but is a humble and appreciative of any exposure I have given through the @IndieDunes or @CrustyToon twitter accounts

That inspiration might lead to great moments of success or creativity, or it might also just make the day easier to get through if times are tough. A simple pleasure such as music can take your mind to a happier place, hopefully problems can be forgotten for a brief moment.

That’s what music does for me. It helps me forget or recall in the space of a few notes or words. It doesn’t matter the genre or the style. It is about connection and feeling. 

This collection of songs is a connection from the past and hopefully the future. When I am listening I feel myself being slowly taken back to my own childhood and early adulthood. It’s a heart-warming feeling and it gives you a point of reflection and I feel a smile hit my lips.
 I admire the honesty in Boondock Hippy tunes. Add to this a really nice guy that is writing the tunes and what is not to like about them.
 I hope you like Boondock Hippy as much as have enjoyed sharing them with you.Steve aka CrustyToon (gets confusing when you are blogging someone of the same name)

P.S. Steve recently wrote and released Chasing the Winter EP(released 4th of January 13) The EP comprises of only 3 songs. he wrote after seeing a film called theEndless Winter-A very British Surf movie last year. It documents the history of the UK surf scene quite beautifully. Steve was so inspired by it he wrote some songs about it. "pretty simple really" apparently!!!

Check it out

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I encourage you to get onto iTunes and purchase the first album if you like these tunes and support the indie bands we get so much pleasure from.  

Other blog posts on Boondock Hippy

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